When Leesville’s Darold Gleason refers to having his best day ever fishing on Toledo Bend, Louisiana and Texas bass anglers need to take note.
After all, the 33-year-old Toledo Bend guide and Bassmaster Open contender has taken five double-digit fish in the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program since 2007.
On Tuesday, Gleason scored on his sixth – an 11.71-pounder that tied his personal best bass ever taken on the reservoir.
Gleason, along with his Texas clients Charlie McMahan and Marty Maston, launched early from Big Bass Marina. The anglers were greeted by low clouds and breezy south winds.
“We began at a few coves in the Indian Mounds where we caught several keeper-sized fish,” Gleason said. “Our largest there was 3 pounds.”
The angler was casting a Carolina-rigged V&M Wild Thang 6 ½-inch Wild Lizzie in watermelon-candy-red and green-pumpkin. He applied garlic Spike-It aerosol spray to the tails of the lures.
The lizards were tied to a 15-pound Hi-Seas fluorocarbon leader with 20-pound Hi-Seas fluorocarbon spooled to a Quantum Tour MG reel. His rod was a 7-foot-6-inch Falcon Cara.
“We focused on targeting points out to hay grass in 10 to 15 feet of water,” he said.
The anglers fished the Indian Mounds area until noon, then headed out to Housen.
“We fished the same pattern, some 10 to 15 spots looking for staging females,” Gleason said. “One of my clients caught a bass over 7 pounds, and the other boated one over 5.”
Evidently the anglers had arrived at the right place at the right time — Gleason then hooked up and landed a 9.3-pounder.
“We were in the back of a drain going into a flat – one of those ditches leading to a spawning area,” he said. “There were pre-spawn fish here in 10 to 15 feet.”
Following a photo session with his clients holding the 7- and 5-pounders, the 11-pounder bit.
“I was dragging the C-rig on the bottom slowly in 10 feet of water on the sides of the ditches,” he said. “There were scattered stumps in the area.”
Working the C-rig after a cast, Gleason said he felt a “thump.”
“The fish started swimming out to deeper water and I laid into her,” he said. “She made a very hard surge pulling some drag. She jumped once and I knew for certain she was a double-digit bass.”
Gleason made quick work of getting the fish to the boat.
“My customer lipped the fish for me,” Gleason said. “For a while there we were celebrating with a bit of fist pumping.”
The angler placed the big bass in the livewell and applied G-juice to calm the fish.
“We fished for a few more minutes,” Gleason said. “Then we decided to motor over to Fin & Feather Resort to obtain a certified weight for the Lunker Program.”
The certified scales at Fin & Feather pegged Gleason’s bass at 11.71 pounds — lunker No. 73 for the 2015-16 Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program season.
Since the fish was later tagged and released, Gleason will receive a replica of his lunker in May courtesy of the Toledo Bend Lake Association. He is now tied with Many’s Derek Mong for the most bass entered into the Lunker Bass Program, with six.
The anglers again returned to the area to continue the day’s fishing, picking up several more bass — including another 7-pounder.
Considering the weights of their top five bass, Gleason’s 11.71-pounder anchored a stringer exceeding 42 pounds.
“It was one of the finest days I have ever spent fishing on Toledo Bend,” Gleason said.
For guide service and fishing information, Gleason can be reached at 337-397-8860 or by visiting his website South Toledo Bend Guide Service.