Lost phone? No sweat. As long as that Toledo Bend lunker wasn’t lost

Shaston Isbell hooked this 10.26-pound bass on April 22 at Toledo Bend Reservoir.
Shaston Isbell hooked this 10.26-pound bass on April 22 at Toledo Bend Reservoir.

Shaston Isbell lost his cell phone on April 22, had it accidentally kicked into the waters of Toledo Bend Reservoir – and he didn’t care. He had a 10.26-pound bass in the livewell.

“Once I got her in the boat, I was on top of the world. When we netted her, we knew she was a 10,” said Isbell, 24, from Sugartown. “We headed to Fins & Feathers, and we picked up my wife, Sara, on the way. She accidentally kicked my cell phone in the water, and I told her I didn’t care.”

Isbell’s family had been camping at Toledo Bend, and he had taken his 12-year-old son, Wyatt, and 9-year-old son, Luke, fishing with a buddy, Jakey Lewing. Fishing the lower end of the lake, they had caught only a few small fish and were fishing a main-lake point when Lewing decided it was time to make a move.

“I told him, ‘One more cast, and we’ll go,’” Isbell said. “And that cast was the 10-pounder.”

The gear used

Isbell was fishing a Carolina rig with a watermelon seed Zoom speed worm, on 12-pound Trilene Big Game with a 14-inch leader of 12-pound fluorocarbon. He said the big fish came out of about 6 to 8 feet of water.

“I caught her on a Lew’s baitcasting combo I had bought for my wife. I had just picked it up and thrown it in the boat,” he said. “When she bit, I didn’t feel the usual bass ‘thump.’ It was a big jerk. I knew right away I had a big fish; I could feel her power. But I was thinking that I might have had a big (catfish). Then, she surfaced 50 or 60 feet from the boat. She didn’t jump, and she went back down. She went around and around the boat – it felt like 10 minutes but it was probably just a minute or two. Once Jakey netted her, my legs were jelly. I couldn’t hardly stand up.

“My boys were shocked at the size of the fish. And when I hooked her, I had asked Luke to reel in his line. I wound up with a big pile of his line all wrapped around my rod tip.”

Isbell and Lewing picked up Mrs. Isbell and the crew headed to Fins & Feathers, an official weigh station for the Toledo Bend Lunker Program. A set of scales Lewing had in the boat registered 10.53 when he weighed the fish. At Fins & Feathers, the official weight was 10.26; the fish was 25½ inches long and 18¾ inches in girth. The fish was the 32nd of the 2021-22 season to qualify for the Lunker Program.

“I don’t think she was quite spawned out,” Isbell said. “She had a bloody tail, and she still had a full belly. I think she was on a bed out in deeper water.”