Keith Suire Jr. had always figured it was just a matter of time.
The 22-year-old DeRidder angler had been fishing Toledo Bend for quite a while looking for that elusive double-digit bass, but came up just short last year with a 9 ½-pounder.
Little did he know it would finally happen last weekend on a day he spent teaching one of his college buddies all about bass fishing.
“It was his very first trip fishing for bass,” Suire said, referring to Jerrell Zeno, a former McNeese State Cowboy football player who also enjoyed a stint with the Louisiana Swashbucklers. “We started Friday evening (June 5) and together we caught a good bunch of fish.
“Zeno and I caught largemouths, spotted bass and white bass.”
Saturday, the anglers started their day at 9 out of Negreet near Shadow’s Landing.
“We caught fish immediately, and stayed on them picking up one here and there,” Suire said. “It was one of those days I figured we would catch a good fish because I had taken one on just about every outing recently.”
The anglers took a lunch break before heading out to Housen Bay in the afternoon. Suire located a ledge on his scanner that dropped into 35 feet of water, with an edge of grass before the drop-off.
He was casting a deep-diving crankbait on 12-pound fluorocarbon spooled to an Abu Revo Premiere reel with a 7-foot. 3-inch medium-heavy Duckett rod.
At 3:30, Suire was running the crankbait when it stopped suddenly.
“I thought it was hung up on something at first,” he said. “I pulled back and then felt her pull.”
He thought the fish was wrapped up at first, but it didn’t take long for the lunker to take off.
“She came up and I saw her color and knew it was a big bass,” he said. “I told my buddy to grab the net, but he had trouble getting it ready because it was a collapsible net.”
Suire kept his rod down the whole time during the fight to try and keep the big bass from jumping, and ended up lipping the fish aboard because of problems with the net.
He was elated to finally get his hands on the huge bass.
“I instantly told Zeno I had been wanting to catch a 10-pounder,” he said.
An onboard scale pegged the bass at 10.89 pounds, and a celebration ensued.
“Zeno is 6-feet, 5-inches and weighs 300 pounds, and I actually picked him up off the deck of the boat,” Suire said.
They made a quick run to Fin and Feather Resort for official the weigh-in and documentation, and the bass officially tipped the scales at 11.03 pounds.
The bass was tagged and released, making it lunker No. 5 for the 2015-16 Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program.
Since Suire is also a paid participant in the summer-long BassCashBash tournament, he is eligible for future winnings along with the free replica of the fish courtesy of the Toledo Bend Lake Association.