Jeff Brown lives in a prime location in north Louisiana, situated between two quality fishing holes, Corney Lake and Lake Claiborne. Corney is his go-to honey hole for bass while Claiborne is his crappie fishing hot spot.
On Sunday night, Feb. 2, the roles were reversed as he hooked and landed the biggest bass of his life while crappie fishing on Lake Claiborne.
“A friend, Monty Walker, and I were on Claiborne that night fishing in a spot we can usually find all the white perch (crappie) we want to catch,” Brown said. “This time of year, night fishing works for us as there is an area up Horse Creek on the lake in pretty deep water, 18 to 20 feet deep, where there are lights mounted on poles 100 yards or so from the bank. We fish under the lights usually with good results.”
On this particular night, the duo had already caught around 30 crappie when Brown felt a light tap on his Bobby Garland black/chartreuse jig. He assumed it was another crappie but when he set the hook, it didn’t move.
“I told Monty I was hung up but then I noticed that the line began slowly moving,” he said. “I knew then I had something pretty big; I figured it was probably a flathead catfish.”
What he was using
Brown was fishing with what he called his “Snoopy” rod; a 4 ½ foot Berkeley rod with a Lew’s spin-cast reel mounted on the rod. Just before heading to the lake, Brown had spooled the reel with fresh line, 8-pound test Suffix line.
“At first, what I was feeling was a dead, heavy pull,” Brown said. “Then I heard a fish come up behind the boat and Monty said he didn’t know what it was but it was huge. I figured it was just another fish breaking water and didn’t think it was the one I had on the line.”
He still had no idea what species of fish he had on the line and after at least 8 minutes, Brown was able to ease the fish closer to the boat. It was then that he realized it was no flathead catfish; he saw the head of a huge bass.
“I told Monty I had a big bass on and to get the dip net,” he said. “Monty slipped the net in the water but when the fish saw the net, it shook its head and took off. I knew there was no way in the world I would be able to get that fish in the boat; I figured it would break off.”
Fish of a lifetime
Fortunately, the bass made another pass by the boat, Walker was able to lie down on the boat and stretch out and grab the bass by the lower lip and lift it into the boat.
“I have caught bass in the 9- to 10-pound range on Corney and I knew this one was bigger than that,” Brown said. “I was able to get a photo and text it to my son. I weighed it on some old scales I had in my boat and it showed just under 11 pounds. I release all the big bass I catch in Corney and I was planning to release this one but my son said don’t you dare; I’ll pay to have it mounted because it was bigger than any I ever caught.”
The next morning, Brown took the bass to Kel’s Cove on Lake Claiborne and owner, Tim Loftin weighed the fish and the scales settled on 11 pounds.
“I’m 60 years old and have fished all my life,” Brown said, “and I had to go crappie fishing to catch the biggest bass of my life.”