Pirogue angler lands 11-pound Toledo Bend monster

Sattler’s big bass bit plastic worm up in Circle Drive area

Coastal kayak anglers eagerly anticipate a ‘Cajun sleigh ride,’ the nickname given for a freshly-hooked redfish that takes off and hauls ‘yak and fisherman on a fun, line-peeling, drag-screaming journey.

Even though he was pretty far from South Louisiana, Jared Sattler got a Cajun sleigh ride of his own up in Desoto Parish on Saturday afternoon — but it obviously wasn’t a redfish doing the pulling.

Sattler was fishing in a 12-foot Water Moccasin pirogue when he set the hook on a whopping 11.41-pound lunker largemouth bass on the north end of Toledo Bend.

“It drug my pirogue all over the place,” Sattler said with a chuckle. “Let me tell you what, that thing was popping a wheelie.”

He and his dad, Ray, had departed from Circle Drive Landing around 9 a.m. in two pirogues — and it was pretty slow going for a while.

“We put the boats in the water and it started raining, so we got back in the truck for a few minutes and finally decided we weren’t going to wait the rain off so we just started fishing — and man, we didn’t have a bite til about 12 o’clock,” he said. “I was throwing the kitchen sink at ‘em, and I couldn’t get a bite.

“Finally about 12 or 12:30 I switched up what I was throwing again and it just kind of turned on, and I caught three fish and two keepers in about 20 minutes. Then I caught the big one.”

Jared Sattler, of Greenwood, shows off the 11.341-pound bass he reeled in Saturday afternoon, Feb. 9, on the north end of Toledo Bend.
Jared Sattler, of Greenwood, shows off the 11.341-pound bass he reeled in Saturday afternoon, Feb. 9, on the north end of Toledo Bend. (Photo courtesy of Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program)

Sattler said he was fishing ledges of creeks in the Circle Drive area, and had just caught a nice fish on a tree while he worked the area with his trolling motor as he was heading for another cypress. He was fishing with a Texas-rigged, 6-inch plastic worm (that’s as specific as he would get.)

“I thought, ‘You know I can pitch and hit that tree real quick before I get too close to it.’ She nailed it as soon as it hit the water almost, and I set the hook and I felt like I hooked a stump — it just didn’t move,” Sattler said. “And it just kind of eased off with it, so I thought, ‘Alright, I’m going to get another good hook set to make sure I have it good.’  And I waited until it turned away from me to set against it, and when I did — all hell broke loose.

“It had the rod doubled over, and I could not turn her. She was just taking line for about 10 yards or so. Honestly, the thought crossed my mind that there was no way it was a fish — I figured I had hooked a giant turtle or a big old buffalo. But when she turned, she barely broke the top of the water and I saw how big her mouth was, and I got buck fever then. I started shaking and praying.”

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the big fish wore down, and the 29-year-old Greenwood resident lipped it into the pirogue.

“I was sitting there holding her just shaking uncontrollably, and I was like, ‘I have got to get this thing into the ice chest, because it was all I could do to hold on to it,’” he said. “She had the hook pretty deep down in her mouth, but I’ve never caught a fish so big that I could just reach my hand in and undo the hook.

“I stuck my hand down in her mouth and she latched on to it like a catfish and scarred me up – my hand looks like it got drug down a gravel road.”

Jared Sattler prepares to release the 11.41-pound largemouth bass he caught Saturday afternoon back into Toledo Bend near Huxley Bay Marina on the Texas side of the reservoir.
Jared Sattler prepares to release the 11.41-pound largemouth bass he caught Saturday afternoon back into Toledo Bend near Huxley Bay Marina on the Texas side of the reservoir.

Sattler didn’t have a livewell on board, but estimated the fish was in the 8-pound range, so he wedged the big bass into a 48-quart Igloo and motored over to his dad’s pirogue. Because several other anglers were in the area, he quietly told his father he had just caught the biggest fish of his life. (His previous best was a 6.1-pounder from the same area two years ago.)

“He pulled up alongside me and opened the ice chest and he looked at me and said, ‘Son, she’s way bigger than 8,’” he said.

They placed the bass in his dad’s livewell, then motored back to their truck and headed to Huxley Bay Marina in Shelbyville, Texas, where the bass officially tipped certified scales there at 11.41 pounds. (It was previously caught last September by Shane Murphy, when it weighed 11.11 pounds.)

The big bass measured 26 inches long with a 21-inch girth, and is the 21st fish entered into the 2018-19 Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program, which awards anglers who release double-digit fish back into the reservoir with a free replica mount.

So the good news is Sattler reeled in the fish of a lifetime, and will have a complimentary mount to remember a very special day. The bad news is he’s actually allergic to fish slime, and he paid the price Saturday night.

“It’s the weirdest thing. I love to fish, so it couldn’t have happened to anybody better,” he said with a laugh. “But my hand swole up to the size of a football that night.”

Patrick Bonin
About Patrick Bonin 1293 Articles
Patrick Bonin is the editor of Louisiana Sportsman magazine and LouisianaSportsman.com.