Nathaniel “Rudy” Rudisill is used to being around “big’uns” all day long.
So nobody should have been surprised at his recent trophy largemouth catch out of Cross Lake on Sunday, March 6. Assigned to the Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier, Rudisill spends his days on electrical maintenance of the huge B-52 long-distance bombers stationed there.
But he spends as much of his free time fishing as he can. And the big bass he caught out of Cross Lake, the body of water that supplies Shreveport’s drinking water, was his biggest reward to date.
The story actually started on Saturday, when Rudisill moved up in a protected pocket of the lake to get out of the wind and caught several good bass, including a 7-pound, 5-ounce bass on the beds. He found one bed that had several males around it and caught a couple of them. But he also spotted a “big dark spot” on the edge of the bed in about two feet of water that never moved the whole time he was there. It was getting dark, so he headed home.
“I went back Sunday and it was cloudy early, so I kept my distance,” he said. “The sun didn’t come out until 10:30, but when it did, I moved back to the bed and saw some big males there on the bed set up on the edge of some dead salvinia. I worked hard with several different lures to try and get one of the males to bite. I even moved my boat and tried from another angle. No luck.”
Patience is the key for spring bass fishermen and Rudisill’s paid off.
“I finally got one of the males to hit it, but he got off,” Rudisill said. “I re-rigged my chartreuse Fluke worm, put some crawfish scent on it like I always do and tossed it back in there. Instead of a male hitting it, she came out of nowhere straight to the lure. I saw her gills flare and I set the hook. She took off right toward the boat.”
He was fishing 50 pound braid, so he didn’t worry about the line breaking, but when he caught up with the slack, he had to hit the thumb bar on his reel a couple of times to let her run. Then she got wrapped around one of the talon anchors on the back. He calmly found the remote, lifted up the talon and freed her. She took off again. He started to go for the net, but decided he better go for the bass on his own.
“I just pulled her hard and got her to the boat where I could grab her,” he said. “There was plenty of room in her mouth for my hand, that’s for sure. I just sat there looking at her for a second, then turned on the aerator in the livewell, held her in the water until it filled up and tried to figure out what to do.”
A good send-off
Rudisill called a buddy fishing on the lake to come look, but he couldn’t stand the wait. He pulled out his small scale, got the bass out and it weighed 11-9. His previous personal best was 9.0. His friend arrived with a better scale and they weighed it at 12-4, a weight he confirmed on another scale a bit later. He held her up for a couple of pictures and then eased back into the cove and released the fish right where she came from. The fish was 24 inches and hung over the end of his 22-inch cull board. He wasn’t able to get a girth measurement without traveling across the lake with the bass and risking her well being, he said.
“I timed that just right,” the 38-year-old North Carolina native said. “I’ve been reassigned for Edwards AFB in California in June, so I don’t have much more time to fish here. It was a good going away present, that’s for sure.
While he’ll miss fishing Louisiana lakes and food, he’s excited about trying out some of the big bass lakes in California. At least if he shows up AWOL out there, they will know where to start looking.