Two more trophy bass from Toledo Bend

Leesville’s Tabatha Green displays her Toledo Bend 10.21-pounder taken on a Zoom Brush Hog in Palo Gaucho March 28. (Photo courtesy of Toledo Bend Lake Association)
Leesville’s Tabatha Green displays her Toledo Bend 10.21-pounder taken on a Zoom Brush Hog in Palo Gaucho March 28. (Photo courtesy of Toledo Bend Lake Association)

The month of March was an excellent time for anglers fishing Toledo Bend as a treasure trove of lunkers were taken. Read the stories below of two more trophy bass taken by these fortunate anglers.

Tabatha Green

  • Date fish taken: 3/28/2020
  • Anglers’ name: Tabatha Green
  • Hometown: Leesville, LA
  • Location where fish taken: Palo Gaucho
  • Depth taken: 3 feet
  • Lure used to catch fish: Green-pumpkin, blue-flake Texas-rigged Zoom Brush Hog
  • Other tackle used: (rod, reel, line): G Loomis rod; Shimano Curado reel; 17-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon
  • Certified Weigh station: Keith’s Toledo Bend Tackle
  • Certified bass weight: 10.21 pounds
  • Entry number of bass in the Toledo Bend Lunker Program: 36
  • Tagged and eligible for replica from Toledo Bend Lake Association: Yes

Re-tying hook – A good lunker decision

Leesville’s Tabatha Green and her husband, Greg, were enjoying some couple time when fishing together Saturday, March 28, on Toledo Bend.

“I was discussing, not complaining, with Greg about bass hitting my bait – but not getting hooked because of the brush guard,” 43-year-old Tabatha Green said.

The anglers were fishing the Palo Gaucho area casting their baits into 3 feet of water.

Switching up lures, Green looked at her fluorocarbon line and noticed it was frayed at its end.

“I told Greg that I was going to go ahead and retie because I may catch a big one today,” she said. “So, I cut the line and tied a Palomar knot on the hook.”

Green was now casting a green-pumpkin, blue-flaked, Texas-rigged Zoom Brush Hog instead of her previous lure with the brush guard.

At 8:20 a.m., she cast the Brush Hog out there twitching it a little.

“The fish just took off with it,” she said. “She ran to the side of the boat 15 feet from us. I was hollering, ‘Get the net, get the net!’”

The bass then decided to jump out the water near the vessel.

“Oh my God, it’s a 10-pounder,” Greg said.

“I held my rod tip up and was able to work her into the net,” Green said.

Weigh-in time

The Greens had just bought a new scale, and they weighed her bass before placing the huge fish in the livewell.

“On our scale, she came up at 10.4 pounds,” she said.

After making a few phone calls, the folks at Keith’s Toledo Bend Tackle gave the anglers directions to the tackle shop by water.

“She was very healthy when we weighed her,” Green said. “And she had never been tagged before.”

The official weight of Green’s bass was recorded at 10.21 pounds. Her huge fish was measured, tagged and released back into Toledo Bend lake.

Her bass is No. 36 entered into the 2019-2020 Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program records.

Clay Belanger

  • Date fish taken: 3/15/2020
  • Anglers’ name: Clay Belanger
  • Hometown: Orange, Texas
  • Location where fish taken: Six Mile
  • Depth taken: 4 ½ to 5 feet
  • Lure used to catch fish: Watermelon-red candy, Natural Forage Baits Flapper Hog
  • Other tackle used: (rod, reel, line): 7-foot, 6-inch Denali rod; Quantum Smoke PT Series reel; 55-pound P-Line braid
  • Certified Weigh station: Fin and Feather resort
  • Certified bass weight: 10.25 pounds; next day back of Negreet 9.64 with youngest GS
  • Entry number of bass in the Toledo Bend Lunker Program: 29
  • Tagged and eligible for replica from Toledo Bend Lake Association: Yes
This 10.25-pound Toledo Bend lunker was taken March 15 by Clay Belanger on a Natural Forage Baits Flapper Hog in Six Mile. (Photo courtesy of Toledo Bend Lake Association)

BassCashBash lunker

Clay Belanger of Orange, Texas, and his fishing partner, finished 17th overall during the Texas Oilman’s Bass Invitational March 14 on Toledo Bend.

But in the back of his mind, the 51-year-old angler remembered a huge fish on a bed the last day of the tournament. And that bedding bass just didn’t want to take his offerings.

Sunday morning Belanger and his grandson Aceson Ryan headed back out on Toledo Bend waters to enjoy some fishing.

“Early that morning, we went to Salter’s and started flipping,” he said. “We just caught a couple of throwbacks.”

That’s when around 10 a.m., Belanger made the run back to the Six Mile area and started flipping brush with a watermelon-red, candy Natural Forage Baits’ Flapper hog.

“My grandson decided to take a nap on the back deck as I kept working down the bank,” Belanger said.

When the angler arrived at the area where he found the fish the day before, all he could see was a shadow.”

Belanger then started working the fish in 4 ½ to 5 feet of water.

“I thought it to be a 5- or 6-pounder,” he said looking through the water at its shadow.

The fish responded by grabbing the bait by its tentacles and pushing it off the bed, not once . . . but five times in a row.

“On the sixth time, the fish appeared aggressive, biting the bait twice eventually swimming off with it,” he said.

Belanger then firmly set the hook and it felt like it was lodged in a stump.

“That’s when I knew I had something big,” he said.

The big reveal

The bass responded by running past the front of the boat then coming out of the water with her gills flared.

“I remember saying oh my God and hollering for my grandson to wake up,” Belanger said.

The angler then walks to the passenger side of the boat, and the fish came up again.

“As big as she was, I just grabbed her by the mouth,” he said.

By this time, Aceson was waking up.

“Oh my God,” the youngster said. “Paw-paw, that’s a monster!”

Belanger grabbed his onboard digital scale to obtain an initial weight of his prize.

“My scale stopped at 10.1,” he said.

Belanger placed the huge fish in the livewell and prepared to make a run to the nearest weigh station for the Toledo Bend Lunker Program.

The certified scales at Fin and Feather Resort recorded Belanger’s bass officially at 10.25 pounds.

It was measured, tagged and released back into Toledo Bend waters.

As a bonus, Belanger had registered earlier for the Toledo Bend’s BassCashBash program. As a result, he earned $1500 for his prized Toledo Bend lunker as well as the free replica offered by the Toledo Bend Lake Association.

The very next morning, Belanger decided to take his younger grandson, 4-year-old Axton Ryan for another fishing trip on Toledo Bend.

They were casting jigs for crappie in the Negreet area when Belanger spied a big fish move off a bed in the area.

It turned out to be another huge bass – this one weighing 9.64 pounds and taken on the same Flapper Hog.

Clearly Belanger made great fishing memories with his grandsons during the two days he spent with them fishing the lunkers of Toledo Bend.

About Chris Berzas 368 Articles
Chris Berzas has fished and hunted in the Bayou State ever since he could hold a rod and shoot a shotgun. Berzas has been a freelancer featured in newspapers, magazines, television and DVDs since 1989.

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