7 lunkers, 10 pounds and up, landed in July
Without a doubt, the thermometer indicated it was a typical, blistering hot July in Louisiana — but some big bass apparently felt like it was still springtime up at Toledo Bend.
Seven hawgs weighing 10 pounds or more were entered in the Bend’s Lunker Bass Program, which awards anglers who catch and release double-digit fish back into the reservoir with a complimentary replica mount.
Many anglers did most of their damage with trophy fish overnight.
The biggest of the bunch went to Scott Eastman of Lake Charles, who reeled in an 11.48-pound monster at about 4:30 a.m. on July 21 during a Lake Charles Hawg Hunters night-fishing tournament. Eastman was targeting the south end of the lake with his son-in-law, Jamie Parkes.
“We were sitting in 7 or 8 foot of water, throwing out into 25,” said Eastman, who had tied on a black-emerald, Texas-rigged Zoom Ol’ Monster worm. “I came off some wood or something, and I felt kind of like a tick. … When I tightened it up a little bit, I said, ‘That’s a fish.’
“When I set the hook, I was like, ‘That’s a good fish.’ I didn’t really know how big she was because it was dark until Jamie got ready to net her.”
The pair had a great night on the water — Parkes landed one better than 8 pounds — and the pair won the event with a five-fish stringer that topped 30 pounds.
First double-digit bass
Kaleb Lasyone, 25, of Dry Prong, actually got things started on July 2 when he landed his first-ever double-digit bass — a 10.69-pounder — also night-fishing along the south end of the reservoir.
“I had a couple good nights. The next night, I caught an 8.24,” he said, noting fish were likely moving out of deep water and coming up at night to feed near points he was targeting.
Lasyone caught his lunker about midnight in about 15 feet of water on a black/blue V&M Wild Thing worm Texas-rigged with a ½-ounce weight.
“I actually thought I had just a 5- or 6-pounder, and reeled it up and went to flip it in the boat,” he said. “When I got her about halfway up, I couldn’t get her up — that’s when I knew she was big.”
Lasyone made contact with Buckeye Landing, where an employee met him at around 1 a.m. to certify the fish, which was 25½ inches long with a 17¾-inch girth. A side note: Lasyone’s fish was previously caught in April 2015 by Stephen Remedies; it tipped the scales then at 10.22 pounds.
Fifth double-digit bass
Sidney Matthews, 64, of Florien, kept the momentum going on July 5 near Housen when he caught a 10.63-pound bass — his fifth double-digit fish and fourth from Toledo Bend.
“We caught it late in the evening,” Matthews said. “We were fishing a tournament that started at 7 o’clock, and that was the first fish we put in the boat, at 10 minutes after 7.”
Matthews used a plum-colored, Texas-rigged 10½-inch River Bottom Baits worm to fool the lunker.
“We were sitting in 35 feet of water, and that fish came out of 6 feet of water,” he said. “That’s where the fish was located.”
Matthews and his partner went on to take third place in the event with 23.8 pounds, along with Big Bass honors.
Patrick Green, 50, of Leesville, was actually fishing in the same Tackle Box tournament as Matthews when he landed his own lunker. Green’s fish weighed-in at 10.33 pounds, so, unfortunately, he didn’t win big bass honors that night — but he made up for it by winning the team event with his brother Robert with four fish that tipped the scales at 24.89 pounds.
Green was fishing in the Negreet area around 7:30 p.m. when the big bass hit a Texas-rigged junebug Zoom Ol’ Monster worm.
“I was sitting in about 30 feet of water,” he said. “As soon as I started reeling it in, I knew it was pretty big.”
They immediately went to Buckeye Landing to weigh-in the big bass, so they lost some valuable fishing time. But the brothers more than made up for it, reeling in a 6- and a 5-pounder later in the evening to ultimately take top honors for the tournament.
July’s bounty continues
George Herr, 63, of Many, caught a 10.13-pounder on July 11 near Clear Creek in the Patroon area on a Texas-rigged redbud Zoom Trick worm at the first place he stopped that morning. Herr said his boat was positioned in about 14 feet of water, and the fish was about 9 feet deep.
It was Herr’s fourth Toledo Bend lunker, but his first since 2015. His fish was previously caught this past February by Kyle Alexander; it weighed 10.41 pounds at that point.
Rounding out big-bass action for July, Timothy Guidry of Sulphur landed a 10.15-pounder on July 3, and Rodney Hebert of Maurice landed a 10.1-pound lunker on July 24.