Long before Bassmaster Elite Pro Kevin VanDam’s win at Toledo Bend on May 15, Stonewall’s Ty Humphries had been fishing a Strike King Series 10XD crankbait bite for some great bass leading up to this weekend’s Sealy Outdoors Big Bass Splash.
So on Friday, he and fishing partner Colby Hand of Shreveport headed to the offshore midlake location where those fish had been taken.
“We didn’t catch anything over 2 pounds there,” the 33-year-old angler said.
Humphries had to leave the event to drive to Shreveport Saturday for a tournament on the Red River sponsored by his company, Mechanical Concepts.
The anglers returned to Toledo Bend Sunday morning and resumed fishing the tournament, but moved south to an offshore area near Pirate’s Cove.
“We started catching decent fish on a swimbait Sunday,” Humphries said. “But later that morning, we swapped out to casting junebug Zoom Magnum Trick Worms on a ledge in 8 to 10 feet of water.”
The angler’s first fish broke his 15-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon.
“I knew it was a bass because I’ve caught some good ones before in that area,” he said.
He re-spooled and continued working the Zoom Trick Worm, confident a school of big fish was in the vicinity.
He was fishing with a Shimano Core reel affixed to a 7-foot, heavy, extra-fast Kistler Custom Helium 3 rod.
Fifteen minutes later at about 7:45, Humphries was working the bait when it suddenly felt heavy.
“I set the hook and she immediately began a few runs,” he said. “She pulled harder than any of the 9-pounders I have taken.”
The bass made a run under the boat as Humphries tenderly worked the fish, already nervous after popping his line earlier that morning.
“She came up on the other side and I could see she was well hooked and wasn’t going to get off,” he said. “Also there was nothing in the water to obstruct the line or the fish, so I just kept easing her in.”
The big bass eventually tired and Hand scooped it up and placed it in the boat.
“I think you just won this thing,” Hand said.
Humphries’ bass weighed 11.74 pounds on the certified scales of Sealy Outdoors, and the fish was measured, tagged and later released into Toledo Bend waters.
The anglers went right back to fishing the same location after weighing Humphries’ bass.
Using the same lure, Hand set the hook on a big fish and turned to Humphries and said, “Now here’s my 10-pounder.”
He wasn’t far off the mark, and the 9.36-pounder won him $3,000 for the Sealy Outdoors Big Bass Splash hour.
Humphries’ total winnings for the event included $10,000 in cash, a 2016 Triton 19 TRX powered by Mercury, a Minn Kota trolling motor, Lowrance Navionics, and trailer — not to mention a 2016 Ram 1500 pickup to pull his brand new boat.
“This was the largest turnout at Toledo Bend ever,” said Tonia Simas, with Sealy Outdoors. “There were over 3,000 entries in this tournament on our 30th anniversary of Sealy Outdoors.”
Humphries monster bass is now lunker No. 4 entered into the new 2016-17 Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program season.
Immediately following the tournament, the Toledo Bend Lake Association awarded a record 139 replica 10-pound-plus bass that were tagged and released during the 2015-16 season.