The biggest bass I've ever caught weighed just more than 8 pounds, and I can clearly remember waiting nervously for buddy Artie Cosby to lip the pig after I wrestled the fish to the boat. Flipping onto the deck never, ever crossed my mind.
But New Iberia angler Caleb Sumrall didn't even hesitate in March when an 8-pound toad sucked in the lure he was flipping along a grass bed at Toledo Bend. And the entire episode was captured on video.
Such trophy catches, which became commonplace this spring, has led to Bassmaster Magazine naming Toledo Bend the nation's No. 1 bass fishery.
The vid begins with Sumrall standing on the front deck and working along a grass bed. The angler was flipping a Missile Baits D Bomb rigged with a punch skirt.
It almost looks like Sumrall wasn't really paying attention, looking over his shoulder as he jigged his lure up and down in the thick vegetation.
But he refocuses, reels in and flips the bait into another hole in the surface clutter.
Sumrall lets the lure fall, jigs it once, twice ....
And the tip of his rod can be seen bowing — and the angler, who again was looking around, snaps his head around and sets the hook hard.
The rod doubles under the weight of a fish.
"My God!" Sumrall stammers when the surface breaks and a huge bass appears.
And almost that fast, the 8-pounder is at the side of the boat and being swung over the gunnel.
"Whoo hoo hoo!" the angler shouts as the fish flops around.
An unnamed fishing buddy can be heard from the back of the boat giving a little commentary.
"That one beats — by far, beats yesterday," the angler says, as Sumrall struggles to control the fish, pop the hook out of its mouth and keep his rod from going over the side.
Sumrall was pumped.
"Dude, look at this thing!" he says, holding the fish up to the camera repeatedly. "Look at this hammer."
Click here to read about many of the double-digit Toledo Bend bass caught this year.