Lafayette City firefighter Brandon Kidder knew that he only had the morning to fish on March 7, 2022. A mid-day front was scheduled to push through and he knew that it would seriously diminish the fishing prospects at Lake Martin for several days. His son and regular fishing buddy had school that morning, so Kidder set out alone for the fishing trip.
He had been on the water fishing since daybreak. It did not take him long to get into the fish, having fished Lake Martin many times in the past. Pitching a Super Bug colored Missile D-Bomb plastic to a cypress tree was the strategy on this day. Having landed several bass already, Kidder was in for the fish of a lifetime at 9 a.m. that morning. At first he thought that he was hung up, then the behemoth of a largemouth bass made a run from left to right. Knowing that he had a good fish on the line, Kidder was careful to work his Lew’s rod and Cabela’s Pro Qualifier baitcasting reel in a professional manner so as not to lose the fish. On the first completely airborne jump, Kidder noticed that he had a good set on the hook deep in her mouth. That made him relax a bit. Then, after completing two more aerial displays, the bass was quickly brought alongside his boat.
Not wanting to retrieve his landing net from the stern of the boat and risk something going awry, Kidder confidently lip grabbed the bass, hoisted it into the boat and completed the landing process. That is when he realized that he had a truly special fish, his first 10-pound-plus largemouth bass. A quick confirmation on his personal fish scale revealed that the fish was in excess of 11 pounds.
Kept on fishing
Not wanting the fishing trip to stop there and to take full advantage of a stress free morning away from the endeavors of firefighting, Kidder pressed on and kept fishing. He knew that he only had a couple of hours remaining before the barometric pressure changed with the front, effectively shutting down the fishery. Three more bass were landed for a total stringer of 10 fish that morning that included an additional 7-pound bass, a trophy unto itself. Kidder even admitted missing several strikes post landing of the fish citing a lack of concentration as the issue. But who could blame him knowing what he already had in the boat.
After making several exciting phone calls and sending pictures to friends and family, a friend suggested that he may have a special fish in his possession. That got Kidder’s interest peaked. A call to Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologist Brad Layney led to the suggestion that he might indeed have a lake record. While no official records are kept for Lake Martin, the previous lake record is believed to be 9.1 pounds.
Kidder busted that record wide open. On a certified scale owned by Kidder’s taxidermist, the bass officially weighed 11.1 pounds. The bass measured an impressive length of 26 ½ inches and an even more impressive girth of 22 inches. A truly magnificent representation of the species and trophy of a lifetime.
Fishing Lake Martin and Chicot State Park regularly, Kidder believes that the lack of hurricane activity and natural fish kills are contributing factors to the increase in the local fish size. His best advice for anyone fishing the lake is “when you find the fish, slow down.”
Good advice for all of us.