By Derek Mong’s figuring, the Tuesday of Thanksgiving week was the best day to be bass fishing on Toledo Bend.
It was a cool morning, with light winds and water temperatures at about 55 degrees, and since he lives near the shoreline, Mong knew where some big bass were biting.
The 35-year-old Many angler is no novice at catching Toledo Bend lunkers: In March, he scored on a 10-pounder, and in 2011 he took his largest bass ever – a monster weighing 11.70 pounds. Both fish were entered into the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program.
So when he headed out at 10 a.m. with his wife, Tammy, he went straight to the Negreet area where some quality fish were holding.
“When we got there, I caught one that went 6.89 pounds,” Mong said. “A little while later, Tammy had a big fish on that really pulled some drag. The fish stayed down and we never saw her come up.
“Eventually the fish wrapped Tammy’s line around a stump and we trolled over there to get to the fish, but it was gone.”
The couple kept fishing and caught two smaller fish before dropping Tammy off at home with her mother, who was watching their kids.
The angler then motored over to the Six Mile area and pulled up to another spot he wanted to try.
Mong was throwing a ¾-ounce homemade jig on 15-pound Sunline fluorocarbon spooled to a Shimano Chronarch reel. His rod was a 7-foot-3-inch, medium-heavy Duckett White Ice.
“On my first cast, I caught a 4-pounder and released her,” he said.
A little while later, at about 2:30, Mong set the hook on another fish but missed it.
“As the jig fell down after missing the fish, I had a second bite,” he said. “This time I connected and I realized it was a big bass by the way it was pulling and shaking its head."
The big fish didn’t make much of a run and when she did come up, Mong had his net ready.
“I put her on my hand scale and it weighed 10 pounds even,” he said. “So I knew it was close.”
He placed the fish in the livewell along with some Rejuvenade, picked up his wife and headed to Toledo Town and Tackle to weigh the big bass on certified scales.
“She officially weighed 10.02 pounds,” he said. “Since she was healthy, she was tagged and then released.”
This makes Mong eligible to receive his third free replica courtesy of the Toledo Bend Lake Association since the bass officially weighed at least 10 pounds and was tagged and released back into Toledo Bend waters.
Mong’s fish is lunker bass No. 16 for the 2014-15 Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program season.