Clarence Persails and longtime fishing partner Carl Northcutt were making the best of a long Memorial Day weekend fishing together at Toledo Bend.
The duo, from La Porte, Texas, motored out of Fin & Feather Resort at 7 Sunday morning, May 24, only to get hit with thunderstorms and rainfall.
Regrouping that afternoon, Persails and Northcutt ventured into Housen Bay, where they started casting on a ledge in about 6 feet of water.
Persails was throwing a Rattlin’ Rapala attached to 12-pound Cajun Red mono line spooled to a Bass Pro Shop Tournament reel with a 6-foot, 6-inch Acadia Sports medium-action rod.
At 6:30 that evening, the fish hit.
“It was a normal grab,” Persails said. “I set the hook and about three seconds into her I knew it was a good fish.
“I thought it was maybe a 4-pounder, and then saw the back of the fish and the wake it made – then thought bowfin.”
The big fish showed itself, surging its body halfway over the water.
“Oh my God, it’s the biggest bass I have ever seen in my life,” Persails told Northcutt. “Carl was telling me, ‘Calm down… calm down.’”
Northcutt got the net, and the pair watched the bass go under the boat then come up for a second time.
“The bass was going to make another round toward the boat,” Persails said. “Carl had the net in the water and scooped her up.
“When he set her on the floor of the boat all we could do is look at her in awe.”
The anglers didn’t have a livewell on board, so they placed the bass on a stringer by looping her twice in the lip.
“I watched her and she was fine,” Persails said.
After catching another five bass and 15 white bass, they called it quits, filled a cooler with lake water and headed in to weigh the bass at Fin & Feather.
“On a spring scale we had on the boat, the bass weighed between 11 and 12 pounds,” he said. “We called ahead to let them know we were coming and there were about 10 people waiting for us.”
The official scales pegged the bass at 11.13 pounds, and the fish was tagged and later released back into Toledo Bend waters.
It is lunker No. 4 entered into the 2015-16 Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program, and Persails will receive a replica of the fish courtesy of the Toledo Bend Lake Association next spring.