Linda Smith and her boyfriend, Jimmy Bosarte, had a routine workday planned for Oct. 18 at their boathouse near McGee’s Landing on Toledo Bend.

The 53-year-old angler from Hemphill, Texas couldn’t have known it early on, but some of the heaviest lifting she’d end up doing that Saturday would involve an 11-pound-plus largemouth bedded down in thick grass in the Housen area.  

The couple launched their boat near the Indian Mounds in order to access both sides of the boathouse with a power washer.

“It was a perfect, beautiful day, and there must have been a tournament with so many boats on the water,” she said.

The couple finished working around 6 p.m., and stopped to do a little fishing.

“Jimmy always has a net in his boat, but he didn’t that day,” she said. “He was catching one bass after another, and all I was catching were throwbacks at 13 ½-inches. He kept on saying that we had better go because it was getting late.

“I told him to let me throw one more time,” she said. “He agreed and he started to strap everything down for the ride home.”

Around 7, Smith cast a Zoom june bug Ol’ Monster worm in 8- to 10-feet of water on a Shimano rod and reel.

“We were fishing a grass flat, and there was just a lot of grass there,” she said. “I let it hit the bottom and jerked it once or twice, and the fish was on.

“I set the hook and she was pulling. I told Jimmy I had a big one and he told me I was hung on the grass. Then she came up and Jimmy said, ‘Oh my God, don’t let her come up again.’”

So Smith kept her rod tip down while she battled the fish.

“She would just pull, and I would reel,” Smith said.“When he realized we didn’t have the net in the boat, I told him that he better just grab that bass by the mouth. He picked up the bass and put her in the boat.”

Smith’s bass was immediately placed in the livewell, and the couple quickly headed to Fin & Feather Resort for an official weight and potential entry into Toledo Bend’s Lunker Bass Program.

The big bass officially weighed 11.77 pounds, and Smith easily qualified to receive a free replica from the Toledo Bend Lake Association since the bass was at least 10 pounds, and was tagged and released back into Toledo Bend waters. 

“They finally let me get a picture with that bass,” she said. “I had tried before but Jimmy wanted to make sure it was healthy to be weighed and released later.

“This is the biggest one I’ve ever caught. And I got Jimmy beat with this one. He and I fish all the time together, so we always compete with each other.”

It was bass No. 12 entered into the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program for the 2014-15 season.