Bussey Brake angler has plenty to celebrate

Last week was a big one for Lane Martin of Paulina, La.

On Sunday, Feb. 19, he celebrated his 53rd birthday. On Monday, Feb. 20, he celebrated his wedding anniversary.

But did either of those celebrations compare to the one he had in his bass boat with his brother on Bussey Brake?

Hmmm. Hard to tell.

Bussey Brake became really special to Martin at about 8:30 a.m., when he pitched a Texas-rigged Zoom Magnum Craw (red/black glitter) into a buck bush, one of several out in front of a line of flooded willow trees.

The result? A minute or two after his flip, Martin pulled an 11.92-pound largemouth bass out of his landing net – his biggest bass ever and his third double-digit specimen, his second from Bussey Brake since the lake reopened in July 2020.

“That was a pretty good birthday present, and an anniversary present,” Martin said. “I’m not sure my wife liked it as much as I did.

“I was flipping the edge of the bushes, and on the initial fall, she smoked it. She didn’t fight that much, so I figured it was a 7- or 8-pounder. When my brother netted it, I couldn’t believe it when I saw it.”

Martin, who caught a 10.75-pound bass out of Bussey Brake last year, put the fish on a set of portable, digital scales, which read 11.92 pounds. He quickly got the fish back in the water and released her alive “in the same bush.”

Lane Martin of Paulina was fishing at Bussey Brake on Feb. 20 when he landed this 11.92-pound bass.

Quality over quantity

That fish was the highlight of the Martin brothers’ trip. About 30 minutes later, a southerly wind kicked up, leaving the Martins fighting whitecaps on the south end of the lake. They wound up catching only three bass, but the huge specimen made up for the lack of bites.

“That’s the thing about Bussey Brake,” Lane Martin said. “You don’t get many bites, but when you get one, it’s on.”

Martin didn’t take any measurements before he slipped the big fish back in the water, but he described her “almost round.”

“These fish here are so healthy,” he said. “I thought it was a 7- or 8-pound fish when I hooked it. I was thinking about lipping her. I told my brother he might want to get the net, but he was already scrambling around to get it. He had seen it. When he had it in the net, he said, ‘Geez, she’s close to 12.’”

Martin said that, before the wind kicked up, he had what he considers perfect conditions for fishing at Bussey Brake.

“I had clear water and bluebird skies,” he said. “When you have that, they go crazy here. Those are the only conditions. They get on those bushes, and they bite.

“Last March 3 and March 4, I got those conditions, and I caught 45 bass in two days.”