Cold weather lights fire under lunker largemouth!

Hunter Cavalier holds up the big 11.9-pound Ivan Lake whopper, his personal best largemouth.
Hunter Cavalier holds up the big 11.9-pound Ivan Lake whopper, his personal best largemouth.

Hunter Cavalier was rushing around after work last Friday afternoon trying to catch a mess of crappie in little Ivan Lake in Webster Parish to clean for supper at his girlfriend’s request. He got launched and found a big pile of shad on his depth finder and grabbed up his crappie jig pole.

He caught a couple, but kept seeing big largemouths flash across the screen taking advantage of the balled up shad, too. So he reached in his rod box, grabbed a rod and reel, tossed out a Yumbrella Alabama Rig and boom – a few casts later an 11.9-pound largemouth bass latched on to it.

Yumbrella rig
Yumbrella rig

“I had missed a couple of hits when that one latched on to it,” he said. “I knew it was a good fish, but it took a few minutes to get it to show itself. When it did, I was so excited I fell to my knees and just kept reeling. It was one of the most aggressive fighting fish I’ve ever hooked. I finally got it up by the boat and was able to grab hold of it. Naturally, I had left my landing net at home, but I got it in.”

Weighing the whopper bass

Cavalier put the big fish in his livewell and went back fishing for another one. He landed another big fish, but it wasn’t half the size of the monster.  But he couldn’t think about fishing. It kept gnawing at him to find out how much the big one weighed. He had a new set of digital scales in his boat, but he hadn’t put batteries in yet. After a few minutes thinking more about the one in the livewell than the ones he was trying to catch, he cranked up and headed back to the launch, where he had batteries in his truck.

“I kept thinking, man, that fish has to be over 10 pounds,” he recalled. “I got the batteries in and weighed it. The scale said 8.8 pounds. I was pretty disappointed and I put the fish back in the livewell. I then weighed the smaller fish and it weighed 5.8 pounds. Then it hit me. I had kept my hand on the big one when I weighed it the first time because I thought the fish  was going to fall off the scale. It didn’t weigh true.”

Cavalier shows his two big bass from Feb. 12, an 11.9-pound whopper and “the little one,” a 5.8 pounder. He released both back into the lake.
Cavalier shows his two big bass from Feb. 12, an 11.9-pound whopper and “the little one,” a 5.8 pounder. He released both back into the lake.

Cavalier then got the big fish back out of his livewell, put it back on the scale and it lit up 11.9 pounds. He weighed it again to double check, then took pictures and a short video and released the lunker back into the lake along with “the little one” as well.

Small lake produces again

Cavalier actually called the Bass Pro Shop in Bossier to see if they wanted him to bring the fish to their tank, but with the bad weather setting in, they had sent most people home and it just didn’t work out.

“It was pretty awesome,” he said. “I even went back and caught a few more crappie so we could have fresh fish for supper. My girlfriend said if I was going fishing in that weather, I’d better bring home something for supper. I did. It was a win-win situation.”

The next day, after catching the near 12 pounder, Cavalier landed this 7.15-pound largemouth.
The next day, after catching the near 12 pounder, Cavalier landed this 7.15-pound largemouth.

Cavalier went back the next day and caught several solid fish, the largest being 7.15. Apparently the fish were super aggressive right on the front end of the super cold front. He’s been dying to get back out and try, but snow, ice and frigid temperatures have made roads impassible and fishing impossible for nearly a week.

“This is a small lake and I hate to call a lot of attention to it, but I just hope if others catch big fish there, they will take pictures and put them back,” he said. “We’ve got plenty of fish to catch and eat without taking out those big largemouths,” the 30-year-old who works for Tanos Exploration in Minden said.

Ivan Lake is only 520 acres and is located in the LDWF’s Bodcau Wildlife Management Area. The lake was drained in 2004 because of hydrilla infestation and refilled in 2012 and restocked.

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Kinny Haddox
About Kinny Haddox 374 Articles
Kinny Haddox has been writing magazine and newspaper articles about the outdoors in Louisiana for 45 years. He publishes a daily website, lakedarbonnelife.com and is a member of the Louisiana Chapter of the Outdoor Legends Hall of Fame. He and his wife, DiAnne, live in West Monroe.

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