Jacob Leininger, a competitive redfish angler, made the transition to freshwater look easy late last month when he landed an 11-pound-plus largemouth bass during the Louisiana Oilman’s Bass Invitational on Toledo Bend.
Leininger was fishing with Kevin Davis, and the anglers had ventured out to the south end that Thursday, but the lake was rough with 3- to 4-foot waves because of an incoming cool front.
“On Friday, we had a change of plans and fished the Housen area,” the 37-year-old from Slidell said.
Leininger started the day casting a Strike King KVD Series 2.5 squarebill crankbait tied to a 30-pound mono leader attached with a double-uni knot to 30-pound PowerPro braid.
This setup was spooled to an Abu Garcia Revo STX reel on a 6-foot, 6-inch Shimano Crucial rod.
The anglers were fishing in 7-feet of water near flats in Housen Bay.
“It happened during our first 30 minutes of fishing,” Leininger said. “And it was our first bite of the day.”
The angler remembered casting out and suddenly feeling dead weight that stopped his lure.
“It felt like grass at first, then it started taking line out,” he said. “Then my line starts moving straight up, and the fish tried to jump but it was just too big. That’s when I saw it was a bass.”
Davis hadn’t seen the fish and asked Leininger if it was a bass.
“The fish came up again, and we both saw it this time,” Leininger said. “And we both panicked.”
The bass made a run on the side of Davis’ boat near the motor.
“She stayed there for only five seconds but it felt like a lifetime,” he said.
He was able to work the bass back to the front again, but when she neared the boat she made another run along the side.
“Kevin netted her then,” he said.
Leininger placed the lunker into the livewell, and the anglers kept fishing for the remaining hours of the tournament day. Together, the team ended up with five bass weighing 21.82 pounds.
Leininger’s bass was certified at 11.82 pounds on the tournament scales, and he will receive a free replica courtesy of the Toledo Bend Lake Association next month because the fish was tagged and released back into Toledo Bend waters.
“She measured 25 inches long with a girth of 20 inches,” he said.
It was lunker No. 64 for the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program this season.