Casey Burleigh must have had a rabbit's foot or a horseshoe on board, because Friday the 13th turned out to be his lucky day on Toledo Bend — and he’s got an awesome video to prove it.
The 21-year-old Lamar University fishing team member hooked an almost 12-pound bass in a misty fog on Indian Creek, and the accompanying video captures Burleigh’s pure, unadulterated joy when his buddy, Josh Rodgers, finally lips the big bass into the boat.
The two anglers were pre-fishing for a tournament when good luck struck and he landed the bass of a lifetime.
“We launched from Paradise Point at 7:30 in the morning,” said Burleigh, of Orange, Texas. “In a heavy fog and misty rain, we motored slowly to Indian Creek.
“At our first stop, I hooked a 5-pounder on a Rat-L-Trap. I gave slack to the line in order for her to shake off since we were pre-fishing.”
It was Rodger’s turn a little later, as he caught a 4-pounder on a D&M chatterbait.
Motoring slowly to the other side of the cove, Burleigh was complaining about not catching even a small fish on spinnerbaits.
So he tied on a D&M chatterbait with a Zee Bait Co. Mudpuppy trailer to his 20-pound Seaguar InvizX fluorocarbon, which was spooled to a Lew’s BB1 Pro series reel. He cast this setup on a 7-foot, 3-inch Stone Cold Spook and Vibrating Jig IRod rod.
Shortly after casting, he felt the thump of a good fish.
“I barely eased into it as she was running,” Burleigh said. “Next thing I know she’s up and dancing. The she darted along the haygrass line.”
After Burleigh had a look at the fish, he started thinking it might go 10 pounds.
“We got serious and didn’t say anything to each other for 30 seconds as I worked the fish,” Burleigh said. “I pulled her from underneath the boat, and Josh lipped her.”
In the video, Rodgers hands the huge bass to Burleigh, who collapses to the deck and then rises to his knees in jubilation.
“Oh my God, it’s like 12 pounds . . . oh my God,” Burleigh screamed on the video.
On the Boga they had onboard, Burleigh’s huge bass weighed 12 pounds.
“We put her in the livewell and made two more casts,” he said. “But I couldn’t take it anymore, so I told Josh, ‘Let’s go to Fin & Feather and get her certified.’”
On the Fin & Feather Resort’s official scale, Burleigh’s fish weighed-in at 11.94 pounds, and he and Rodgers got to see the newly-tagged fish swim away as it was released back into Toledo Bend waters.
Since the bunker weighed at least 10 pounds and was released, Burleigh will receive a replica of the trophy courtesy of the Toledo Bend Lake Association.
Burleigh’s bass was lunker No. 36 entered into the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program for the 2014-15 season.
The rest of the day the anglers were quite successful, catching and releasing another 15 bass.