The odds were stacked against Trent Curphy catching a big bass on Toledo Bend last Wednesday — but sometimes the underdog pulls out the upset win.
With no net, rusty hooks on an old lure and his line wrapped around the trolling motor, Curphy just couldn’t escape his date with destiny when he landed an impressive 12.93-pounder – the largest bass enrolled so far in the 2015-16 Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program.
“This never should have happened,” said the 58-year-old former Lake Charles resident, who now resides in Kingwood.
Curphy had been on a three-month turnaround job, and this was his very first fishing escape of 2015 with longtime friend, Don Epperly of Hemphill.
“I really wasn’t mad at the fish,” Curphy said. “I was wore out and just wanted to get out and fish a little that morning.”
The anglers launched from Epperly’s home and were fishing on the waters south of Pendleton Bridge at daybreak.
“We had both the top and bottom covered,” Curphy said. “I started out casting a Chug Bug, and Don was throwing a wacky worm.”
The anglers fished for 1 ½ hours without a bite.
“There were no fish slapping the water at all . . . nothing,” he said. “I figured I wasn’t going to catch anything.”
Curphy got tired of working the Chug Bug, so he tied on a Cotton Cordell Big O crankbait.
“Well, on the third cast, that crankbait hung up on something and I lost it,” he said.
Then Curphy decided to pick up an old crawfish-colored Bill Norman Little N (with rusty hooks) and tie it to his 17-pound BPS KVD Signature Extreme Performance 100-percent fluorocarbon. This setup was spooled to Curphy’s Abu Garcia Orra SX reel on a 6-foot, 8-inch Duckett Ghost rod.
The anglers worked their way near a point on a nearby creek channel.
“It was a little point in 4 to 6 feet of water with a little grass on the bottom,” Curphy said.
The angler cast his lure out and was retrieving it when it seemed to bump into a stump or some other obstruction.
“It felt like it dropped into the grass, so I kept reeling and the line got heavy,” he said. “I didn’t realize it was a fish coming to me until it began pulling a little harder.”
After confirming it was a fish, Epperly asked Curphy if he needed the net.
“I don’t think so,” he said.
The fish was running just 4 feet down, but once it neared the boat it immediately swam under.
“It wrapped my rod tip under the boat, too,” Curphy said.
The fish turned just under the boat and headed toward the trolling motor.
At that point, Curphy remembered leaving the landing net behind when he was loading the boat. The fish wrapped the line around the trolling motor, perilously close to a fitting that could have cut the fluorocarbon.
“Don laid on the deck next to me and grabbed the line and started slowly pulling it in,” Curphy said “He was able to grab the fish by the jaw and bring it aboard. Just as soon as he had it in his hands, the Little N just fell out the fish’s mouth.”
After admiring the giant bass, Curphy prepared his livewell to hold his prize for transport.
“The livewell was shorter than the bass, so I had to bend the fish a little to get her in,” he said.
The anglers rushed back to Epperly’s house to trailer the boat and headed to Toledo Town and Tackle, where the hawg tipped the certified scales at 12.93 pounds. The big bass was 26 inches long, with a 19 ¾-inch girth.
Curphy’s lunker was tagged and released as bass No. 17 in the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program for 2015-16.
“I couldn’t have taken her without Don’s assistance,” Curphy said.
According to Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program Coordinator Dinah Medine, there are 13 more lunkers entered into the program now than compared to the same time in 2014.