Just one day after the highest water levels ever recorded at Toledo Bend, Port Neches area anglers Austin Hebert, Sidney Shetley and Dave Gisselberg launched Friday morning on the reservoir’s south sider near the dam.
The three Texans were enjoying a bit of fun and relaxation at a camp in the area, and they weren’t going to let the high waters deter them from fishing.
“I knew there was high water, but we were there to grind it out anyway and try to get bit,” said Hebert, 24. “The surface temperature was 62 degrees, and the waters were real muddy.”
At 7:30, they reached a pocket off the points in a creek.
“We fished the secondary point off some hay grass on a creek in a cove,” Hebert said.
He was casting a Texas-rigged watermelon-orange Zoom Brush Hog on a Trokar hook under a ¼-ounce Eco Pro tungsten bullet sinker that was tied to 15-pound Vicious fluorocarbon. He was fishing with a Shimano Curado reel and a Shimano Clarus rod.
“We were in 8 feet of water casting in 3 to 5 feet,” Hebert said. “A fish bit pretty aggressively, pumping the lure twice.”
Hebert first thought the fish was just above keeper size by the way it hit the Brush Hog.
“I set the hook and the fish takes off to the right of the boat,” he said. “It jumps and I thought it looked to be 6 or 7 pounds.”
The angler kept working the fish until it jumped again.
“It looked to be 8 pounds on the second jump,” Hebert said. “She got close to the boat and started pulling like she was a bull red taking drag and heading to deep water.”
The big bass made a run under the boat, but Hebert successfully kept the fish hooked up.
“I finally got her to the surface when she jumped a couple of more times,” he said.
The fish eventually tired, and he was finally able to reach down and lip it aboard.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw her actual size,” Hebert said. “We weighed her twice, once on a handheld scale and the other on a Boga Grip.”
Both scales had the big fish pegged at 12 pounds.
Hebert placed the bass in the livewell and eventually motored over to Fin & Feather Resort, an official weigh station for the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program.
On their certified scales, Hebert’s lunker officially weighed 12.11 — easily becoming lunker No. 89 for the 2015-16 season.
The bass was later tagged and released back into Toledo Bend waters, and Hebert will receive a replica of his bass this May courtesy of the Toledo Bend Lake Association.
Click here to see even more lunker largemouth bass caught this year on Toledo Bend.