This was the second year that Doug Foster joined a group of 16 Illinois anglers on their annual fishing trip to Toledo Bend.

In 2014, Foster, 62, was elated after catching a 6 ½-pounder, but he knew that much bigger fish were a distinct possibility early in March.

What he didn’t know when he launched from Holly Park Marina Sunday was that he was about to land a true double-digit lunker.

“It rained pretty much of the day,” said Foster, of Edinburg, Ill. “Two of the guys caught a couple of short fish early.”

The anglers were fishing the Shamrock area, and Foster was casting in just 3 feet of water, throwing a Strike King Rage Bug on a Stanley Wedge Head jig tied to 30-pound PowerPro braid. The rest of his tackle consisted of a Quantum Smoke reel on a 7-foot medium St. Croix Mojo Bass rod.

“I was bouncing the jig with a slow retrieve and keeping it in contact with the bottom,” he said.

At about 10:10, Foster felt the bump of a bite.

“It turned out to be the only hit I had all day,” he said. “I had just pulled the jig over some wood when she hit it.”

Initially, because of how hard the fish was pulling, Foster didn’t think it was a bass.

“I finally got it turned around coming to the boat,” he said. “She came up, and one of the guys said, ‘It’s a bass!’”

The big largemouth dove one last time before being netted. 

Once the bass was placed in the livewell, the anglers motored back to the marina to weigh the fish, where it tipped the scales unofficially at 10.68 pounds.

Eventually, Foster’s huge bass ended up at Toledo Town and Tackle for a certified weight and potential entry into the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program. On T-town’s scales, the bass weighed 10.67 pounds, which qualified Foster for a free replica since the fish weighed at least 10 pounds and was tagged and released back into Toledo Bend waters. 

Foster’s bass is lunker No. 33 entered into the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program for 2014-15.

“I was excited, it is my largest bass ever,” Foster said. “One of the guys said the only thing bigger than that fish was the smile on my face.”