West Monroe’s Spencer Lambert returned from a ski trip to Colorado Wednesday, Feb. 26. It was a toasty 18 degrees his last day there on the slopes. But when he hit the water at Caney Lake Thursday morning, it felt like it was 10 degrees.
“There was ice everywhere and on everything,” he said. “We had a pretty good cold front blow through yesterday, too. The moist cold here bites right through your clothes. But I needed to go fishing.”
It didn’t take long for the former ULM College Team Angler to warm up. About 100 yards down a stretch of a Caney lake hydrilla bed, Lambert hung into an 11 pound, 4 ounce monster largemouth. It was the biggest bass he’s ever landed. And he said he didn’t feel cold the rest of the morning.
“Man, when she hit it, the Rayburn Red Crawfish colored Rat-L-Trap just stopped,” he said. “I thought I was hung on a log, but then the bait started moving off slowly to the left. I couldn’t even budge the big fish. She just eased along for a few yards, then she realized she was hooked and started making some pretty good runs.”
The first look
Lambert, a rookie on the BASS Open Tour this season, knew he had a good one, but he wasn’t exactly sure how big. Caney has been producing a lot of eight and nine pounders lately. In fact, he recently caught a 10 pounder on another lake. But this fish felt heavier.
“Pretty soon she started coming up toward the surface and when she did, she tried to jump but couldn’t get anything but her head out of the water,” he said. “Oh my gosh, I saw how big she was and got pretty excited. I worked her back and forth around the boat for a while, but I could see she was hooked pretty well. It’s funny, but that half-ounce Rat-L-Trap looked little in her huge open mouth. Finally I got her on her side and lipped her. I knew immediately it was the biggest one I’ve ever caught.”
When he got the fish in the boat, he started shaking. Not from the 30 degree temperature, mind you.
“I was so excited,” he said. “I loaded up and headed in to Hooks Marina to weigh the fish. It weighed 11-04 and I immediately took a couple of pictures and went back down to the edge of the pier and turned her loose. I should have taken some more photos, but I was just excited and thinking that I didn’t want this big lunker to die.”
The spot that he landed the big fish on was familiar to him. He knew there was a small area about the size of the front deck of his bass boat that stuck out further than the rest of the grass bed he was fishing. As he approached it, he threw the Trap out and started a slow, steady retrieve. Then it stopped.
“The fish was about 6-8 feet deep hanging in the grass,” he said. “I was just easing the Trap along, just ticking the top of the grass. I didn’t even see it on my electronics. I was just working down the edge of the hydrilla.”
Lambert’s mind will be back at Caney Friday morning, he said. But unfortunately, he’ll be on the road to Lake Lewisville in Texas to pre-practice for an upcoming BASS event.
“I sure would like to be back again, but there are plenty of big fish on that lake. The grass coming back is the best thing that has happened there in a long time.”
Lambert said the big fish are staging and getting ready to spawn, but he doesn’t think they have started yet. It won’t be long. Thursday’s water temperature was around 52, but should be inching up into the 60’s any day now. That should trigger the spawn soon.