A late afternoon pre-fishing trip for a weekend bass tournament was the basic plan Monday for DeRidder residents Lee Glass, Trent Manuel and Daniel Bailey - but they got a lot more than they bargained for.
At 4:30, the anglers launched together from South Toledo Bend State Park and motored to an area on the southern end near the Toledo Bend Dam.
According to Glass, 19, the anglers had never fished the area, and were just hoping to find a few bass. He and Manuel are members of the McNeese State University fishing team.
“We were throwing in 6 feet of water which held some hydrilla,” he said.
It didn’t take long for one of his buddies to catch a 3-pounder on a gold Rat-L-Trap.
Glass was fishing a bladed Alabama rig baited with light hitch-colored V&M Thunder Shads with a pearl/white Reaction Innovations Big Dipper in the middle. He was casting the A-rig on a 7-foot, 2-inch H2O rod with 65-pound PowerPro braid spooled onto an Abu Garcia Revo SX reel.
“It was about 5:30, and I threw the rig and retrieved it slowly where it made contact with the grass,” Glass said “I made between five and 10 turns on the reel when she crushed it.”
Manuel and Bailey actually saw the bass hit.
“They knew it was a big fish,” he said.
But the bass didn’t put up much of a fight.
“Trent lipped her into the boat, and she had two hooks in her mouth,” Glass said. “I saw her then for the first time.”
There was a brief onboard celebration, and the anglers took several pictures of the fish.
“No one picked up a rod for 10 minutes after that,” he said.
The lunker weighed 11.2 pounds on their handheld digital scale, and was placed in the livewell for the long trip to Toledo Town and Tackle.
“It was a drive of 45 minutes, and the entire time I worried about the bass dying,” Glass said.
Fortunately for the angler, the bass arrived in good health, and weighed-in officially at 11.90 pounds, with a 24-inch length and a girth of 22 ¼ inches.
Since it was a double-digit bass that was tagged and released back into Toledo Bend waters, Glass will receive a free replica of the fish later this spring courtesy of the Toledo Bend Lake Association.
The bass is lunker No. 24 entered into the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program for this year’s season, which ends later this spring.