Baker angler catches 10-plus-pounder at Toledo Bend

One hook on treble holds just long enough to land lunker near Turtle Beach

Some days it sure seems like the fishing gods are out to get you, presenting a myriad of problems out on the water ranging from motor issues to missed bites to unexpected birds’ nests.

Other times, it’s all smooth sailing — and maybe you ‘get away with one’ and actually land a fish that might have eluded you another day.

That was exactly the scenario for Kyle Alexander up at Toledo Bend on Friday afternoon, Feb. 15 — when a single hook from only one treble on his jerkbait held on just long enough to land his biggest largemouth ever, a 10.41-pounder near Turtle Beach.

“Usually when you’re fishing a jerkbait, they get two (hooks) in there, but she had just one single little hook in her,” said Alexander, 30, of Baker. “She had grabbed it all the way back. When I grabbed her by the mouth, the jerkbait flew out.”

Alexander had just arrived at Toledo Bend the day before to enjoy several days of fishing, and had taken off from a private launch behind Turtle Beach that morning.

“I had caught five previous to the big one, but I didn’t start until about 8 o’clock,” he said. “It was a fair morning, but it wasn’t lights out or anything like that.”

That all changed about 12:30 that afternoon, when the lunker bit the jerkbait (that Alexander wanted to keep under wraps.)

“My depth finder said 17 feet, but I was fishing a drop-off, so I would say she was in 10 or 12 feet,” he said. “I had found some clear, warmer water and I saw some grass underneath the water. I pitched in there a couple of times and had actually just moved, and it was the second cast I made after I moved.

“I doubled the rod over. Thank God Kistler makes a damn good rod — I don’t know how it didn’t break. It was all the way underneath the boat.”

Alexander was by himself without a net, but was able to lip the big fish aboard after the fight.

“I was shaking,” he said. “I calmed down for a minute and threw her in the livewell.”

Kyle Alexander, of Baker, shows off the 10.41-pound lunker bass he caught on Feb. 15 at Toledo Bend near Turtle Beach. The big fish bit a jerkbait in 10 to 12 feet of water at about 12:30 p.m., Alexander said.
Kyle Alexander, of Baker, shows off the 10.41-pound lunker bass he caught on Feb. 15 at Toledo Bend near Turtle Beach. The big fish bit a jerkbait in 10 to 12 feet of water at about 12:30 p.m., Alexander said.

Shortly thereafter, he headed over to Toledo Town & Tackle to officially weigh the big fish.

At certified scales there, the bass weighed 10.41 pounds, and measured 24 7/8 inches long with a 19 3/4-inch girth, easily qualifying it as fish No. 23 this season for the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program, which awards anglers who return double-digit fish to the reservoir with a complimentary mount.

The good news is if you’re looking to catch a lunker of your own up at Toledo Bend, Alexander thinks the bulk of the spawn won’t take place until next month.

“They’re trying to, but water temperatures are too cold,” he said Monday morning, noting the water is currently between 56 and 59 degrees. “Some will spawn, because a bunch of males are on beds — you can catch males up shallow now, but I think March will be the ticket. I think they’ll really start to spawn when it gets up to 65.”

After his very first Toledo Bend trophy bass, Alexander, who works as a construction superintendent in Port Allen, said he relaxed and just tried to soak it all in.

“I didn’t fish the rest of the day. I put the boat on the trailer, went to Toledo Tackle and got me a 6-pack,” he said with a chuckle. “I said, ‘Hey, this doesn’t happen every day, so you might as well enjoy it.’”

Patrick Bonin
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Patrick Bonin is the editor of Louisiana Sportsman magazine and LouisianaSportsman.com.