Fishing bass tournaments lately at Toledo Bend Lake has taken on new meaning. 

An angler shouldn’t necessarily be surprised by ending up with a trophy in the livewell that could potentially anchor a winning stringer and earn Big Bass honors at the same time.

In fact, Sulphur’s Bill Domingue accomplished the feat on Saturday.

About a week ago, Domingue hooked an 8-pounder along with several in the 5- to 7-pound range. So when the Northrop Grumman Bass Club tournament came around last weekend, he and Lake Charles angler Robert Trahan were well prepared.

At 7 in the morning, the duo launched into the San Patricio area, and by 7:20, Trahan hooked a 3-pounder and had the fish safely in the livewell. 

Domingue was casting a ½-ounce chartreuse Stanley Wedge spinnerbait with gold blades just above a grassy knoll. He was throwing the lure with 15-pound Seaguar InvizX fluorocarbon spooled onto a Shimano Chronarch reel attached to a 7-foot, 2-inch medium-heavy Shimano Crucial rod.

“I was slow-rolling the spinnerbait in 7 feet of water,” he said. 

All of a sudden, a fish hit the lure and moved toward the boat.

“I reeled in the slack with two quick turns and hit (hooked) her,” he said. 

According to Domingue, the fish behaved as if it was enraged, and quickly turned and headed toward a ditch with about 11 feet of water.

“She was pulling drag and running,” he said. “I worked her for three to four minutes and Robert had the net ready.”

When Domingue saw the bass, he was thinking over 9 and possibly 10. He’s taken three other 10-pound-plus lunkers, but soon discovered this one would be his biggest so far. 

Once the anglers arrived at the certified scale at Toledo Town and Tackle, the bass weighed-in at 10.88 pounds. 

“We put her in the tank and stabilized her,” Domingue said. “She was in great shape with no marks, but her tail was bloody from the spawn. She was full.”

Domingue’s bass easily qualified for the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program, which rewards anglers with a free replica of their trophy if the fish weighed at least 10 pounds and was tagged and released back into Toledo Bend waters.

As a result, later this spring the Toledo Bend Lake Association will award Domingue a replica of his lunker, which is fish No. 39 entered into the program for the 2014-15 season.

Domingue and Trahan placed first in the tournament with 13.63 pounds for their two-fish stringer, and Domingue took home the Big Bass Award, as well.