Many bass anglers readily admit that catching a bedded bass can be a struggle.
When lady largemouths are on the nest, they can be quite indifferent to almost any lure thrown at them.
That was the case for Moss Bluff’s Steven Smith on Sunday, as he tussled with a huge bass on a bed in Housen.
The angler finally ended up with the lunker — a 12.05-pounder — using a very popular Louisiana-based lure in a very unconventional way.
“Nobody wanted to get up Sunday morning to fish with me,” Smith said.
So the 39-year-old angler and his dog Harley launched together from Fin & Feather Resort at about 9.
“I was fishing the Housen area and got into the coves with hay grass,” he said.
Smith caught one keeper there out of the five fish he landed, and started moving around. He trolled to an area where he observed a huge female and a smaller male sitting on a bed.
He pitched a bunch of lures under with varying presentations, including Carolina-rigged, Texas-rigged and wacky-style. But the big female had lockjaw, and nothing worked.
“The boat was tied to a tree near the bed, and eventually I laid on my belly on the front deck of the boat for a long time to work that fish,” he said.
Finally, Smith tied on a crawfish ¾-ounce Rat-L-Trap to his 17-pound Berkley Big Game mono. He was using a Lew’s reel with a 7-foot Falcon Cara Carolina Lizard Dragger rod.
“I was dangling the Rat-L-Trap in front of her and she went round and round that bait 20 or 30 times,” he said.
Smith also bounced the Trap up and down right in the nest.
At about 11:40, the big female couldn’t resist anymore and finally grabbed the lure.
“She made a run all up in the hay grass,” he said. “She came out and I got her to the boat, but then she moved out to some cypresses.
“Then she got into the hay grass again.”
Smith worked the huge bass the whole time — even when the fish lay atop the hay grass for a few moments.
“Then she ran toward the boat and turned back into the hay grass,” Smith said.
The fish finally slowed down and stayed still just under the thick foliage.
“I kept pulling and then started digging in the hay grass to finally lip her in,” he said.
Initially, Smith thought it was an 8-pounder on the nest.
“But when I had her in the boat, I started shaking when I saw she was larger,” he said. “I put her in the livewell and started hollering and whooping.”
The angler then made the quick run to Fin & Feather Resort, an official weigh station for the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program.
On their certified scale, Smith’s bass officially weighed 12.05 pounds, and the huge fish was tagged and eventually released back into Toledo Bend waters.
In May, Smith will receive a free replica of his lunker from the Toledo Bend Lake Association.
Smith’s monster bass is lunker No. 87 for the 2015-16 Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program season.