Stephen Ell and Joe Fleming were scouting for this weekend's BOSS Tournament Trail championship on May 26 when the fish of a lifetime picked up Ell's lure.
"I was throwing a Carolina rig, and she picked it up on the fall," the angler said. "It was crazy. The fight lasted five minutes."
The team was fishing in Priate's Cove, and had been catching some bass — but nothing to write home about.
With several other boats nearby, Ell threw his Carolina rig into about 10 feet of water and dragged it off a ledge falling to about 20-foot depths.
That's when the bass inhaled his lure just after 11 a.m. Saturday morning.
"She was about 40 yards out," Ell said. "There were other boats around, so I didn't want them to see me land it. But I thought it was a good fish, and when I really felt it pull I told (Fleming), 'I'm going to set the hook.'"
The bass on the terminal end of his line didn't like that. At all.
"She came straight up from the bottom," Ell said. "She came out the water — her whole body, tail and all.
"I said, 'Get the net.' But (Flemming) said, 'I didn't bring a net.'"
During the long fight, the bass ran into the side of the boat, sounded, came back to the boat and headed to the outboard, stripped more line out and thrashed about fiercely.
"She jumped three times," Ell said. "She really got after it."
Finally the huge bass was boatside, and Fleming reached out to grab it.
But the bass wasn't done.
"When he reached out to lip her, she jumped," Ell said.
So by the time the bass finally came aboard, both anglers were out of breath.
"I was shaking from when I caught it until the time we released it," Ell laughed. "If (the nearby anglers) didn't see all of that going on, they really missed a show."
The fish was the fourth bass of the 2018-19 season of the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program, and was released after being weighed at Fin & Feather.