Angler snares 10-plus pounder at Toledo Bend

Catching big bass is a fun pastime for Mitchell Martin of Washington, but they’re not an obsession.

“I’ve been fishing 51 years on Toledo Bend, since I was 16,” Martin said. “If I hook a fish, I let him run and play and jump. If I get a fish in the boat, it’s okay, but if I don’t, it’s okay, too.”

But he’s mighty glad he got a certain fish in the boat on Thursday, March 3. It was a 10.58-pound brute that hit a watermelon red Senko in the San Miguel area.

The big bass was in about 4 feet of water when she picked up Martin’s Senko and headed for parts unknown at around 9 a.m.

“She just picked it up, and it got heavy,” Martin said. “She wouldn’t let it go.”

But she came to the boat pretty quickly, coming to the surface to try and jump twice, before Martin’s fishing partner netted it and brought it into the boat.

“I’ve had 4-pound fish fight three times as hard as this one,” he said. “It jumped twice. The first time, my young partner said it was an 8-pounder. The second time she jumped, he said it was a 10- and to get it in the boat. It really didn’t last long enough to be exciting.

“When he netted it, my partner said if we’d been tournament fishing, we’d have never caught it. It was just hooked in the skin inside its mouth.”

Biggest bass yet

Martin, who caught the fish on a Denali rod and Lew’s reel spooled with 15-pound Big Game, had the fish weighed at Keith’s Toledo Bend Bait & Tackle, where it tipped the scales at 10.58 pounds, measured 24 inches long and 18½ inches in girth. It was entered in the Toledo Bend Lunker Program – it was the 16th fish of the 2021-22 season to qualify – and released back into the lake.

“She had just moved up,” he said. “She didn’t appear to be spawning. Her tail wasn’t red or anything.”

The fish was the biggest in Martin’s 51 years on Toledo Bend.

“I’ve caught an 8-15 and several 8s, but I’ve never topped the 9-pound mark before,” he said. “The last 4 or 5 years, I’ve caught four or five fish over 8 pounds.”