Derek Hamilton and a fishing buddy had a frustrating drive up to the Big Bass Marina on Toledo Bend Wednesday morning.

A couple of traffic delays and a blowout on the boat trailer cost them valuable fishing time, but all of that was quickly forgotten after just a few casts near a point in Negreet Creek. 

“We finally made it, and on my fifth cast at about 7:45, the fish hit,” the 39-year-old angler from Westlake said.  “I told my buddy this ain’t grass - it’s a good one!”

At first, Hamilton pegged the fish during the fight at about 5 pounds. 

“Then when the bass got near the boat, it just started running,” he said. 

Hamilton worked the bass a little more, then pulled it up to the boat and his buddy netted the fish.

“When I saw it all I could say was, ‘Oh my God, this is the biggest fish I’ve ever seen in my life!’”

He caught the lunker in about 6 feet of water on a red Rat-L-Trap with a 7-foot All Star rod and a Shimano Calcutta reel spooled with 15-pound Vicious fluorocarbon. 

“When we found the scale in the boat, the batteries were dead so we couldn’t get a good estimate,” he said.

They placed the big bass into the livewell and continued fishing. About five minutes later, Hamilton caught another fish he estimated at 2 ½ pounds.

“I had been texting people pictures of that big bass, and one person told me to get that fish weighed immediately,” he said.

So after about 20 minutes of fishing, the anglers motored to a location with a scale.

“We weighed the bass on an unofficial scale, and the weight was 12 pounds,” he said.

After making a phone call, Hamilton found out Fin & Feather Resort was an official weigh station for the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program.

There, the lunker tipped the certified scales at 11.92 pounds, with a length of 24 ½ inches and a girth of 20 inches. 

Hamilton easily qualified to receive a free replica of the fish from the Toledo Bend Lake Association since the bass weighed more than 10 pounds and was tagged and released back into Toledo Bend waters. 

The anglers returned to the lake, and were able to catch another 15 bass on Rat-L-Traps and Zoom Flukes before heading home for the day.

Hamilton’s bass was fish No. 22 for the 2014-15 Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program season.