For a little while at least, Toledo Bend guide Jason Courville figured his trip on June 28 would be about the big one that got away.

He was fishing with a client in the client’s boat in the 6 Mile area, and both men were throwing Carolina-rigged green pumpkin Zoom Brush Hogs with a ¾-ounce weight in about 15 feet of water.

“We were roughly at the full moon phase, so the evening bite was going to be the best,” Courville said, noting the action he was describing took place after 7 p.m. “We were basically just dragging Carolina rigs off the ends of ridges. We kept our boat in deeper water and were throwing up to the tops of these points and dragging them off.”

They were catching some smaller fish as they worked the area, until Courville, who lives in Hemphill, Texas and operates Toledo Bend South Guide Service, got a bite that loaded up his rod.

“You could tell it was a big fish the way it bit, so I swung and set the hook on it,” he said. “As soon as I did, I turned to the client and said, ‘This is a big one.’

“We fought it for almost a minute, got it close to the boat — and it came off.”

Courville said the giant bass — which went at least 10 pounds — bent his hook.

“She made that big turn, and we could see the whole side of her body,” he said. “That’s when the hook and weight came flying out like a .22. Luckily the client was in the back of the boat paying attention and ducked.

“We were both sitting there kind of looking at each other.”

At that point it was starting to get dark, so instead of cutting his hook off and retying, Courville just bent the hook back into position with his pliers, put on another Brush Hog and cast back out.

“I wasn’t thinking I was going to get another fish,” he said with a chuckle. “I was just trying to finish out the last 10 or 15 minutes of the trip.”

They got back in position using the client’s trolling motor, and then lightning struck — again.

“Within about two casts, I get the same bite, and it felt the same and I set the hook,” Courville said. “I turned back to the client and said, ‘It’s another big one.’ He got the net and we got this one in — it weighed 11.18 ounces at the Fairmount General Store.”

Incredibly, the big bass was Courville’s sixth double-digit fish at Toledo Bend, and his fifth entry into the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program. This big bass, which measured 26 ¼ inches long with a 20-inch girth, was returned back to the reservoir unharmed —and Courville will have yet another replica mount for his wall next May. 

It also earned Courville a cool $1,000 and put him in first place in the 2018 BassCashBash contest. If no one entered in the contest catches a bigger bass by Sept. 3, he’ll win an additional $5,000.

“I can’t say if it was the same fish or not that bit twice, but more than likely it wasn’t,” he said. “They’re pretty much gone and spooked after getting hooked. But luckily, I was able to get back in there and pull another one out of it.”