Few bites get an angler’s adrenaline going like a big topwater blowup.
Now imagine walking the dog and snaring a huge 11-pound-plus bass, and you get a feel for the amazing Saturday morning Weston Bryant experienced at Toledo Bend on Sept. 19.
The 34-year-old angler from Humble, Texas set out with fishing partner Ronnie Sharp from White Oak landing intent on catching a big stringer for a club tournament.
“We ran to a creek in Housen,” Bryant said. “We had been on some good fish there in late spring and summer.
“Ronnie also knew there were some schools of shad in the area.”
The anglers started by casting topwaters and crankbaits at a point on the mouth of the creek, and eventually moved deeper into the inlet where the shad activity was concentrated.
Venturing to a small, jutting point, he made a 25-yard cast with a Heddon Super Spook toward the shallows.
“I figured bass were sitting in 6 to 10 feet of water feeding on the shad coming across the location,” Bryant said.
The angler was dog-walking the lure, and on its fourth sashay on the water it got hit violently.
“But she wasn’t hooked on the first hit,” he said. “I made three more walks with the lure and then she blew up on it.”
Setting the hook, Weston knew he had a good fish.
“She kept pulling drag and headed into a little patch of hydrilla,” he said. “I tightened my drag, but the fish kept taking line and eventually wrapped itself up to a stump.”
Bryant was thinking the fish was 8 or 9 pounds the way it was pulling, and told Sharp to ready the net.
He finally pulled the fish away from the stump, and noticed one of the Spook’s treble hooks come away from the gill plate of the largemouth.
“When she had only one set of treble hooks in her mouth, she was really pulling hard then,” he said.
Bryant worked the big bass for a bit more and finally was able to get it near enough to the boat to be netted.
“When Ronnie went to scoop her in the net, she rolled in tail first,” Bryant said.
As the fish slid deeper into the net, the lure’s last remaining treble hook came unattached and got snagged in the rim of the net.
Bryant weighed his prize on a handheld scale, which read 11.11 pounds. He caught the big fish with a medium Abu Veritas rod with a Quantum Smoke reel spooked with 15-pound Berkley Big Game mono.
“We put her in the livewell, she settled down and eventually showed no signs of distress,” he said.
The anglers continued fishing for a while, but Bryant found it hard to concentrate with the lunker in the livewell. So after the topwater bite slowed, the two anglers decided to head over to Fin and Feather Resort to verify the fish’s qualification into the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program.
On Fin and Feather’s certified scales, the bass weighed 11.14 pounds.
Bryant’s fish was previously tagged this February, when it was caught by Derek Hamilton in Negreet Creek and weighed 11.92 pounds.
Bryant’s fish is No. 29 entered into the Lunker Bass Program for the 2015-16 season. It was released back into the lake, and the angler will receive a free replica courtesy of the Toledo Bend Lake Association next spring.