Launching from Big Bass Marina alone on the morning of Saturday, Dec. 12, Iowa’s Daniel Schexnayder had to contend with lots of fog on Toledo Bend’s waters.
But the 52-year-old angler definitely wanted to make the trip, so he kept a slow, southerly track to the Indian Mounds area.
Upon arrival there, he began a series of casts with a Norman DD22 crankbait. He was throwing the lure on 12-lb. Seaguar fluorocarbon spooled to a Shimano Curado reel on a 7-foot Shimano rod.
“On an offshore point, I started out by catching a Kentucky (bass),” Schexnayder said.
The angler followed up by making two casts that just received bumps.
“So I slowed it down by making some stops while retrieving,” he said.
The results were quick, as Shexnayder hauled a 5-pounder to the boat that he weighed and then released.
“I threw out a buoy and continued to fish,” he said.
A few casts later, at about 7:15 a.m., he caught a 3-pounder.
“After a few more casts, I felt a fish load up on the lure and I set the hook on her, too,” he said. “I could tell it was a good fish, so I worked her slowly so she wouldn’t come up and throw the hook.
“She did surface and that was the first time I saw how really big she was. I told myself, ‘The game is on,’ and I just worked her to the boat slowly and then lipped her in.”
Unfortunately, Schexnayder’s new digital scale had stopped working, so the angler weighed the big bass on an older scale he knew was off the mark.
“That old scale read 9 pounds, 10 ounces, but I knew she was bigger than that,” he said.
So he placed the bass in his livewell and immediately made a call to Bruce Salter, the owner of Buckeye Landing.
“He asked me where I was and then told me he would meet me at the store,” Schexnayder said. “He also said he would fill up his tank while waiting for me.
“He had already closed the store for the winter but anglers in the area know he will open to weigh, tag and certify a bass for Toledo Bend’s Lunker Bass Program.”
Upon arrival, the big bass weighed 10.95 pounds on certified scales, and Schexnayder started completing the paperwork while Salter tagged the fish and placed it into a holding tank.
The big largemouth was 25 ¼ inches long, with a 20 ¼-inch girth.
Since Schexnayder’s bass was a double-digit fish that was tagged and released alive, he will receive a free replica of his catch from the Toledo Bend Lake Association next spring.
The bass is the 18th to be entered into Toledo Bend’s Lunker Bass Program for the 2014-15 contest year, which started in May.