The third day of Korey Bourgeois’ third trip to Bussey Brake Reservoir was certainly a charm, as the Houma fisherman landed bass weighing 10.58 and 11.72 pounds in about 20 minutes on Wednesday, Oct. 25 – without moving his boat from a thick tangle of lily pads.
And the day might have been even more charming if he’d gotten a third fish to the boat on his next cast – a fishing buddy estimated that fish at around 10 pounds.
“I was excited,” said Bourgeois, a 40-year-old crane mechanic. “We fished here back in the spring; my dad caught an 11 ½-pounder and I caught my personal best, a 9-6, but I’d never caught a 10 before.”
Bourgeois and his buddy from Houma, Troy Barrios, traveled to Bussey Brake, the remarkable 2,200-acre reservoir near Bastrop that’s only been open three years since being rejuvenated by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. They got on the lake on Oct. 23. They both towed boats and started fishing right away.
On the move
“The first day, I went to some places where I’d fished before, but I didn’t do too good. I’ve only fished it in the spring before,” he said. “On Tuesday, we went looking around, idling, and I found some fish chasing shad in the lily pads. I started catching 5 and 6-pound fish; it was easy. I ended up with an 8.68, a 7.07 and a couple more 6s.
“The next morning, I went back, and there was nothing: no fish, no shad, nothing. I started looking around, and I saw a white egret walking on the pads, and I could see fish chasing shad under them, so I pulled up and caught two 5½-pounders.
“I made another cast, and I hooked the 10.5,” he said. “He was stuck in the pads, and I had to go get him. I put my trolling motor on high, and I thought he got off. I was pulling against the pads, not feeling anything, but when I got close, I saw his white belly flash under the water. I stuck my hand down in the water, about to my shoulder, and I pulled him up.”
Bourgeois weighed him on a set of Rapala digital scales he carries; the fish registered at 10.58 pounds. He put the fish in his livewell – “I was fishing by myself and didn’t have anyone to take a picture” – and immediately called Barrios, telling him he’d found an area with active fish, caught a 10, and to come immediately.
Another one bites the dust
While he was watching Barrios’s boat work its way through the pads, he walked to the back off his boat and made another cast with the same rod, reel and bait – a 7 ½-foot, medium-heavy All-Star flipping stick, a Lew’s reel spooled with 80-pound Power Pro braid and a white SPRO frog – and another big bass blew up on the bait. Bourgeois hooked that one and got it all the way to the boat, then put it on the scales. It weighed 11.72. He laid it on a ruler in his boat; the fish was 26 ¾ inches long.
Barrios still hadn’t gotten quite to him, so Bourgeois put the second lunker in his livewell, walked to the front of the boat, made another cast and had another huge bass blow up on his frog. He hooked the fish and started to battle it, with Barrios now close enough to watch.
“My buddy said he saw him; he said it was an 8- or 10-pound fish, but he got stuck in the lily pads, and he came off before I could get him in the boat,” Bourgeois said.
Finally, Barrios got close enough to snap a few photos of the two big fish, which Bourgeois immediately released back into the water.
“I was fishing in about 7 feet of water,” Bourgeois said. “I was looking for the thickest pads I could find. If it wasn’t for the size of my trolling motor, I don’t think I’d have gotten to the first one. I’ve got a Motor Guide with 109 pounds of thrust, and I put it on max, wide open, to get through the pads.”