After a tough opening day Friday in the Haynesville Shale Bass Tournament at Toledo Bend, Larry Pipes and Paul Thomas really wanted to put some quality fish in their livewell. 

So on Saturday morning, Pipes, 51, and Thomas launched their boat into Carrice Creek intent on doing just that. 

“We were fishing boathouses on the creek,” said Pipes, 51, of Pine Hill, Texas. 

He was casting a 6-inch black/blue Zoom lizard with a 7-foot medium-heavy Lew’s rod coupled with a Daiwa Strike Force reel spooled with 15-pound Berkley Big Game mono.

“We had one fish in the morning – a 3-pounder,” Pipes said.

At noon, Pipes made a cast toward the edge of a boathouse. He had retrieved the lizard about halfway to the boat in 8-feet of water when the bass hit.

“The fish pulled a little drag, she really didn’t fight much,” he said.

Thomas netted the fish easily, and a celebration ensued.

“When I saw that fish, I was like a kid in a candy store,” Pipes said. “I was real excited - it was my biggest bass ever.”

He weighed the lunker on his handheld scale, which pegged it at 11.87 pounds.

“I placed her in the livewell really quick,” he said. “I didn’t want to handle her a lot.

“And I kept my eye on her to make sure she was doing well.”

The anglers kept fishing and picked up another bass, then headed to the weigh-in at Cypress Bend.

After the tournament, Pipes’ lunker was officially weighed at Toledo Town and Tackle for potential entry into the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program.

The bass, which had a tag indicating that it had been caught and released before, officially weighed 11.71 pounds on the certified scales at T-town. Pipes will receive a free replica courtesy of the Toledo Bend Lake Association because the bass weighed at least 10 pounds and was released back into Toledo Bend waters.

The lunker was 25 inches long, with a 21-inch girth, and was bass No. 32 for the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program this season.

The tag revealed the bass had been caught on March 21, 2014 by Dennis Elmore, when it weighed 11.81 pounds. 

According to Nita Wilson with Haynesville Shale, there were 249 teams entered in the two-day tournament, which was held on March 6 and 7. 

The team of Joseph Savant and Kevin Latour, both of Washington, took first place with 10 fish weighing 55.89 pounds, anchored by a 9.07-pounder.