It’s not often this time of year that an angler has a good portion of Toledo Bend’s Indian Mounds all to himself.
But that’s exactly what happened to Michael Dunaway Tuesday as he fished against 14 mph southerly winds blowing up the Toledo Bend corridor.
“I was fishing in 12 feet of water casting a Carolina rig,” the 41-year-old angler from Liberty, Miss. said.
Dunaway was fishing alone because his girlfriend decided to sleep in that morning during their weeklong stay at the Bend.
“We had been catching 15 to 16 fish a day during the week,” he said. The angler’s best five averaged 18 to 19 pounds a day.
On Tuesday morning, Dunaway was casting Zoom Flukes that accounted for just one bass early on.
He switched rods and started throwing a Carolina-rigged junebug-blue trick worm on a point outside the edge of a line of hay grass.
The lure was tied to 20-pound P-Line fluorocarbon spooled to a Johnny Morris Signature Series reel on a Johnny Morris Carbonlite rod.
At 10:30, he felt a bump but at first couldn’t tell if it was due to the wind.
“Then I noticed the line kept moving, so I set the hook,” he said.
The bass immediately started stripping line, and Dunaway even loosened the drag a little more.
“I cranked up a little and she came up out the water,” he said. “I knew she was huge when I saw that big head.
“I have caught 8s, 9s and 10s – but have never seen a large head like that before on a bass.”
The big fish made one more dive to the depths.
“I cranked a couple of times more and got her to the boat, where she came up and shook her head twice,” Dunaway said.
He finally grabbed the lunker and got it in his livewell, then fished a while longer and picked up four more bass in the 3-pound range.
At Fin & Feather Resort, an official weigh station for the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program, certified scales pegged Dunaway’s fish at 11.08 pounds.
The bass was tagged and released, and Dunaway will receive a free replica courtesy of the Toledo Bend Lake Association in mid-May.
Dunaway’s trophy is lunker No. 112 for the 2015-16 season of the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program.