With about 40 days still left in the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program’s 2014-15 season, we know last year’s record total of 61 fish will be smashed - we just don’t know by how much.
The huge reservoir is continuing to deliver double-digit bass, with no real let-up so far.
Here are the stories of three more anglers lucky enough to catch the bass of a lifetime.
Brent Ardoin’s catches 10.09-pounder near Hurricane Creek
Kinder’s Brent Ardoin and hometown friend Terry LeBlanc launched early from Pirate’s Cove on Tuesday, March 24, to enjoy some fishing on Toledo Bend.
“We were just fishing for fun, and I didn’t expect a big fish at all,” Ardoin said.
He was fishing a Zoom fluke on 12-pound fluorocarbon spooled to a Shimano Chronarch reel on a 7-foot medium-heavy Shimano rod.
“Our first fish of the morning was a 6-pounder,” he said.
Two hours later, a 5 ½-pounder was taken aboard.
The anglers kept fishing all morning, resulting in some more 14-inch keepers, and they eventually reached the mouth of Hurricane Creek in Housen.
It was close to 2 in the afternoon when Ardoin, 51, made a cast in 1 foot of water on a shallow flat near patches of haygrass.
“A big swirl came up in the water and she hit,” he said.
At first, Ardoin was worried about the fish wrapping itself in the grass, but luckily, that didn’t happen.
“She came up and Terry netted her,” he said. “I remember Terry saying, ‘Man, that’s a good fish!’”
The anglers immediately weighed the bass on a handheld scale, and decided to keep fishing for a while with the 10-pound-plus bass safely in the livewell.
“I kept checking on her to see if she was ok,” he said.
Eventually the anglers trailered the boat and headed to Toledo Town and Tackle to obtain a weight for the fish on certified scales.
On T-town’s scale, Ardoin’s trophy officially weighed 10.09 pounds.
The bass was tagged and eventually released and is now entry number 57 in the 2014-15 Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program.Ardoin will receive a replica of his bass courtesy of the Toledo Bend Lake Association since it was a double-digit fish and was tagged and was released back into Toledo Bend waters.
Keith Willis lands 10.23-pounder from Negreet Creek
On Friday, March 27, Keith Willis and Matt Tugwell were fishing an Axiall Corporation bass tournament on Toledo Bend.
The team launched from the Shadows Landing and Resort on Toledo Bend and headed to Negreet Creek.
Willis, of Lake Charles, was casting an Oldham’s Flipping Jig with a green pumpkin Strike King Rage Craw on a 7-foot, 2-inch heavy Shimano Sellus rod. He was fishing with 65-pound Sufix braid spooled to a Shimano Chronarch reel.
At 9:15, the anglers were in 3 feet of murky water near haygrass.
Willis made his first cast, which resulted in a solid thump on the lure.
“The fish started running slowly away headed to deeper water,” Willis said. “She came out the water, and I could see she was a giant.”
The fish made another run, attempting to get to deeper waters.
“She came up again and was violently shaking her head,” he said.
Willis actually saw the red interior of the fish’s flaring gills.
“That was a moment I’ll always cherish,” he said.
The angler worked the big fish for another 20 seconds.
When he had the fish near the back of the boat, Tugwell was already on his knees and lipped her aboard.
“There was a little celebration for a while and we did a few high-fives,” Willis said.
The fish was weighed onboard on a handheld scale which they knew was off a bit, and came around 9 pounds.
After placing the big bass in the livewell, Willis and Tugwell kept on fishing for another two hours, resulting in additional fish weighing from 2 ½ to 6 pounds.
The anglers motored over to Buckeye Landing, where the fish officially tipped the scales at 10.23 pounds.
Once tagged and released, the bass became entry No. 63 into the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program, and Willis will receive a replica courtesy of the Toledo Bend Lake Association this May.
Guy LaFleur’s reels in 10.19-pounder near the Indian Mounds
Guy LaFleur, a Baton Rouge resident and native of Ville Platte, decided to spend some time on Toledo Bend with his old hometown friend, Chuck Soileau, who now lives in Many.
The two friends launched from Pendleton Harbor on Saturday, March 28, to spend a full day on the water.
“We fished all day but couldn’t get much to happen,” LaFleur said. “We had about five keepers.”
Late that afternoon, the two anglers reached the southern Indian Mounds section.
“Chuck had noticed some sac-a-lait activity in a cove in the area, so he put down his bass rod and picked up his sac-a-lait rod and reel and began casting,” LaFleur said.
LaFleur kept fishing for bass, but changed to a rod rigged up with a red Rat-L-Trap.
He was fishing with 15-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon spooled to a Shimano Calcutta reel on a Quantum KVD Tour crankbait rod.
“There was some submerged hydrilla where those sac-a-lait were,” he said. “We get to the area, and Chuck casts his sac-a-lait jig out and I throw the Rat-L-Trap.”
The anglers were working their lures in about 6 feet of water.
He remembered the lure catching some hydrilla, so he pulled it off the grass with his rod.
“Just after popping it off the grass, I felt a hit,” he said. “The fish just stopped the bait and I set the hook.”
At first, LaFleur knew it was a big fish but was unsure of the species.
“The fish kept running under the boat and just stopped,” he said. “I didn’t know if it was caught up in a ball of grass, or hung up on a stump.
“My rod was in a bend so Chuck put down his sac-a-lait equipment and swung the boat around using the trolling motor,” LaFleur said. “The fish just slowly rolled up to the surface, and we then both knew it was a trophy bass.”
LaFleur swept it close to the boat, and Soileau lipped it aboard.
“We never weighed the bass since Chuck knew it would go over 10,” LaFleur said. “But when I was placing it into the livewell, I noticed it already had a tag.”
The anglers kept fishing for another hour until around 6.
“We caught two more keepers then trailered the boat to head to Toledo Town and Tackle,” he said.
LaFleur’s bass weighed 10.19 pounds on T-Town’s official scales, and the tag revealed it had just been caught by Dustin Rivers on Jan. 27 when it weighed 10.16 pounds.
LaFleur’s bass was released and is the 65th entry in the 2014-15 Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program.