Daniel Burnett Jr. is used to dealing with plenty of heat, but not the kind that was coming from his camper’s air conditioner earlier this month near Toledo Bend.

A Sulphur firefighter, Burnett  planned on doing some night fishing on Sept. 6, but the AC repair work set him back and he didn’t hit the water until early that Sunday. 

“I put the boat in at 4:30 Sunday morning, and there was just a lull in the lake at the time,” he said. “We didn’t catch anything until about 6.”

But when the bite started, he and fellow-firefighter Dan Selph managed to reel in a few fish. 

“I caught two and my buddy caught one,” he said. “It just sort of turned on.”

The men were fishing points in 10- to 12-feet of water along the creek channel not far from Turtle Beach. 

Burnett was casting a Texas-rigged, 10 ½-inch black/blue Berkley Power Worm on 20-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon. His line was spooled to a Shimano Curado reel on a 7-foot medium/heavy All Star rod.

Just after the initial three bass were caught, Burnett set the hook on another good fish.

The lunker put up a fight, but Selph eventually lipped the big fish into the boat. 

“He reached down and grabbed the bass right where it was hooked,” Burnett said.

That’s when things got even more interesting: Selph quickly realized Burnett’s 5/0 ultra-sharp Owner hook was embedded in his hand — with the bass attached.

“The hook just ripped out of his hand and the fish stayed hooked,” Burnett said. “My buddy was dedicated to making sure he had that bass.”

On Burnett’s handheld scale, she weighed 11.18 pounds. 

“I was really excited about catching this one,” the angler said. “My biggest bass at Toledo Bend before this one weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces.”

His aerator was broken, so he added some ice to the livewell and made the 6-mile trip to Toledo Town & Tackle to officially weigh-in the fish.

Upon arrival, Burnett’s bass measured 25 ½ inches long with a 20 ½-inch girth, and tipped the scales at 11.41 pounds. 

The big bass easily qualified for the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program, which awards anglers who agree to tag and release double-digit bass with a free replica courtesy of the Toledo Bend Lake Association.

Burnett’s lunker is the ninth bass entered into the program for the 2014-15 season.