Crowley angler lands huge Toledo lunker

Ryan Semmes of Crowley landed his personal best largemouth, an 11.79-pound whopper, working a submerged creek on the south end of Toledo Bend. (Photo courtesy Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program)

Ryan Semmes of Crowley was headed for his camp at Toledo Bend and planned on going to where he had his boat stored to pick it up to work on some new graphs he was installing on his fishing rig.

Then he decided on the way up, he would make a quick fishing trip. He phoned a friend and co-worker, Rhein Guillory, and they made plans to meet up. They spent the night at the camp, then got up bright and early to go fishing on Sunday, Jan. 22.

“My first good move is that I decided to leave my sac-a-lait poles at the camp,” he said. “We’ve been catching the fire out of them, but I knew if I took them, I wouldn’t go bass fishing. And I’ve really been working on learning more about catching bass in deeper pre-spawn patterns.”

The right choice

It didn’t take long into the morning trip until Semmes realized he made the right choice. He landed his personal best largemouth, an 11.79-pound whopper working a submerged creek on the south end of the lake.

“There wasn’t really anything spectacular or expected from the trip. We just went fishing,” he said. “We started fishing a variety of baits like jigs, Rat-L-Traps and chatterbaits through the grass. I had spent some time graphing, but we didn’t see anything really worth going after, so we just put the trolling motor in the water and worked the edges of the creek.

“I had put on an Alabama rig and was fishing one side of the creek, then made a 90-degree turn the cut across to the other side. I made a long cast out in about 15-16 feet of water, counted down the bait about six seconds and began a slow retrieve. She drilled it and the fight was on.”

He called for Guillory to get the net and got the fish close to the boat.

“Man, when she first came up, I thought it was a lake record,” he said. “I knew when we got her in the boat she was a double digit and we headed in to Fin and Feature to get her officially weighed and into the lake’s lunker program. It was a pretty special day.”

Alabama rig gets the job done

Semmes has a live radar unit that he uses to check out fishing areas, but he wasn’t using it on this trip because of his limited time to be on the water. So, as he said, he just went fishing and hit some areas he knew held pre-spawn bass.

“We ended up catching several nice fish during the day and our biggest seven probably weighed 26-27 pounds,” he said. “It wasn’t that many but it was sure a good trip. I’m glad I left those sac-a-lait poles at the camp and that Rhein was a good net man.”

He was fishing 3-inch pearl white swimbaits on his Alabama rig with 1/8 ounce heads. The big fish nailed one of the outside baits on the rig.

Not only did he have a big fish, he and his friend also have a good fish story to tell at work. The duo work together on a deepwater asset for BP in the Gulf of Mexico.

Get more info on the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program here.

About Kinny Haddox 592 Articles
Kinny Haddox has been writing magazine and newspaper articles about the outdoors in Louisiana for 45 years. He publishes a daily website, and is a member of the Louisiana Chapter of the Outdoor Legends Hall of Fame. He and his wife, DiAnne, live in West Monroe.