While Windy Robbins and James Pilcher were busy wrapping up first place in the Texas Oilman’s Bass Invitational 2020 on Saturday, March 14, St. Martinville bass angler Paul Resweber was putting the biggest bass of the prestigious two-day tournament in the boat.
Resweber tossed out a “wacky worm” on a 2/0 Gamakatsu hook with a little wire to make it weedless tied to 10-pound test line on a baitcasting reel and came back, after a considerable tussle, with a 10.07-pound bass worth $1,200. It also anchored the second-day five-bass limit that weighed 22.18 pounds, good enough for third place that day in the 338-boat field and another $720.
Plus, Mike O’Brien, his long-time fishing buddy and tournament partner, had donated $20 before the tournament to Army Bass Anglers making him eligible for $500, which he collected at the awards ceremony at Cypress Bend Resort.
Robbins and Pilcher won the TOBI with 43.9 pounds. Casey Martin and Joel Owen finished as runners-up with 39.78 pounds for second place. Scott Mcfarlain and Todd Naquin were third with 39.39 pounds.
Resweber’s bass weighed 10.12 pounds when it was registered in the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program at Toledo Town & Tackle near Many.
Resweber vividly remembered the sequence of events that led to his personal best bass after they pulled into a heavily pressured cove in Six Mile Creek. The Haroil Construction Co. owner’s previous biggest bass was an 8 ½-pounder caught in a Catahoula Bass Association tournament a few years ago at Toledo Bend.
“We were flippin’ in buckbrush. Mike happened to get a little tight to try to flip in a hole way in the back. I picked up my wacky worm and cast from the back of the boat toward the front of the boat to a little buckbrush sticking out,” he said.
Perhaps, he said, that big girl just moved up at that time, or maybe it was the light line attached to a small hook slipped under a ring for a wacky worm. Whatever the reason dozens of other artificial lures passed by that piece of buckbrush without incident, the desired result ensured on that cast.
“I felt the tap. I saw it splash when it came high. I said, ‘Mike, it’s a big, big one.’ He looked back to see the rod bending. I thought it was a 7-pounder. He came back with the net. She finally came up out of the water to shake it (hook). I looked at it, amazed. I almost dropped my rod. It came up five, six times. She made one more run toward the buckbrush. Then she made one last run,” Resweber said.
Landing the lunker
O’Brien, an outboard motor mechanic who retired last year after 27 years as owner of Bayouland Marine LLC in St. Martinville, said, “I heard him set the hook, heard the swish of the rod. We were catching 1 ½-, 2-pounders. He said, ‘Blue, it’s a big, big one!’ I turned my head and saw her come out of the water. She went out to deep water first, then came back toward the boat. She decided to go underneath the boat and back to the bush. God was with us. I don’t know how she stayed on that long.”
A smallish landing net nearly was their downfall during the end game.
Resweber chuckled and said, “Mike needs a bigger net. She didn’t fit in the net, I’ll put it that way.”
Fish of a lifetime
After the “hawg” was in the boat, they fist-bumped and, he said, “I sat down for a while to retie. I was shaking. I texted my wife, Sherrie, Mel (O’Brien’s wife), Braxton (his son) and a couple people that we had a 10-pounder.”
“When you pull one of those big fish in the boat like that it’s awesome. We’re very grateful the way it turned out. You don’t get to see that many big fish in a lifetime,” said O’Brien, who has several 9-pound bass, all at Toledo Bend, to his credit but no double-digits.
They had five bass in the boat when the “hawg” bit late mid-morning. They caught a 3 ½-pounder after that to cull a 2-pound, 4-ounce, bass and give them their final weight.
The Teche Area bass anglers began Day Two in 218th place overall and finished 25th overall with 33.24 pounds for another $200 in the tournament fished by bassers in the oil field and oilfield-related businesses across the region.