Changing locations to find fish was a gamble that paid off with a Toledo Bend lunker weighing north of 11 pounds for Texas angler Joe Gilbert of Sherman.
On Friday, he and his father, Dean, launched early at Converse Bay to pre-fish for the Texas Team Trail Tournament the next day.
“We noticed the water temperatures were significantly colder than mid-lake,” Gilbert said.
As a result, the anglers trailered the boat at 11 and took a break to discuss another plan of action.
The father-son team decided to head to the mid-lake area near the Pendleton Bridge to fish a nearby creek on the Texas side.
“We found a point with some hydrilla on it in 12- to 13-feet of water on the outside edge,” he said.
Gilbert was fishing a Carolina-rigged Senko in about 6 feet of water. He was casting the C-rig on a heavy 7 ½-foot G. Loomis rod using a Shimano Curado spooled with 65-pound PowerPro braid and a 25-pound Big Game leader.
Around 1 p.m., he let the rig drop slowly to 8 feet as he retrieved his lure.
“When the fish thumped, I knew immediately I had something special because of the fish’s resistance,” he said. “I set the hook, felt the weight and then began reeling her to the boat. When she neared the boat she dove and took some drag.
“My father had the net ready and scooped her up when she surfaced.”
With the lunker safely in the livewell, the duo kept fishing.
“We did manage to also catch a 4-pounder, one at 3 pounds and a couple of other smaller fish,” Gilbert said.
The anglers wrapped up around 4 and motored to the ramp, where another fisherman offered a scale to weigh the monster bass.
“On the handheld, it weighed 11 pounds, 12 ounces,” he said.
After a brief discussion, they headed to Toledo Town and Tackle to get an official weight of the bass to determine if it was eligible for the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program, which rewards anglers who return double-digit bass to Toledo Bend waters with a free replica.
The bass officially weighed 11.09 pounds, and easily qualified for the Lunker Bass Program as fish No. 27 for the 2014-15 season.
“I want to give a special thanks to the folks at Toledo Town and Tackle for assisting us with getting the bass certified,” Gilbert said. “Toledo Bend is just an outstanding bass fishery.”