When James Ezernack woke up Sunday morning, the first thing on his mind was bass fishing.
“I really wanted to go because I hadn’t been in a while,” the 41-year-old Zwolle angler said.
But the day before, he had walked the lake’s edge near his home and what he found disturbed him.
“The lake had dropped a good bit since they were generating all week long,” he said. “It was real muddy.”
As a result, Ezernack decided to launch his 14-foot aluminum boat near relatively clearer waters in the Blue Lake area.
Taking off alone from the landing, Ezernack was optimistic because he felt like bass would be biting right before an incoming cold front.
“I figured the fish would not be near the banks so I started fishing flats in 5- to 7-feet of water,” he said. “There were certain areas that I knew held fish, and I figured I would have to back off a little due to the lower lake levels.”
He started by casting Rat-L-Traps, chatterbaits, crankbaits and Senkos with no results.
“I even got up nearer the banks to give it a try, and nothing,” he said.“Then I backed out in some ditches near those flats and started casting a spinnerbait. I noticed that in one area I started picking up some grass.”
Ezernack’s lure of choice was a ½-ounce white/chartreuse Booyah spinnerbait with gold and silver willow leaf blades. He was casting with a 6-foot, 6-inch Quantum Smoke rod with 15-pound Berkley Trilene Big Game mono spooled to a Quantum baitcaster.
“I picked up my first bass at 8:30,” Ezernack said. “So I kept working the area by moving back and forth through it and kept catching some fish.”
An hour later, the angler had three keepers, including one bass at almost 3 pounds.
But he had matters to attend to at home, so he decided to make one more pass through the area.
“I kept steadily slow-rolling that spinnerbait, and then picked up another keeper,” he said. “I stayed hoping to catch one more to make five.”
At 9:50, the angler got another hit just 20 yards from where he had taken his fourth bass.
“She stayed fighting for a while and didn’t come up,” he said. “The water was boiling, and I knew she had to be a good fish.
“I realized I didn’t have my net with me, so in my mind I had decided to keep fighting the fish and when she would come up, I would somehow start working the line to where I could lip her,” he said.
The big bass finally tired and came up on its side near the boat, and he was able to do just that.
“When I first saw her, I knew she was the fish I had been wishing to catch since I was 13 years old,” he said.
He immediately called his son, who prepared a scale at home to weigh the fish. Fortunately, Ezernack had a cooler on board he filled with lake water to place the fish in.
Upon arrival at home, the bass was immediately weighed and tipped Ezernack’s spring scale at 10 pounds.
“My neighbor had a digital scale, and his showed the bass weighed 10 pounds, 10 ounces,” he said.
Ezernack placed two aerators into the cooler, and headed immediately to the certified scales at Toledo Town and Tackle.
The bass officially weighed 10.60 pounds, measuring 25 inches in length with a girth of 19.2 inches.
Since the fish weighed more than 10 pounds and was tagged and released back into Toledo Bend waters, Ezernack was eligible for a free replica courtesy of the Toledo Bend Lunker Program.
Ezernack’s bass was No. 21 for the 2014-15 season, which draws to a close later this spring.