Last Tuesday morning, when Michael Boudin of Prairieville cut off the big motor on his bass boat, and he and fishing buddy Josh Barrow started easing back into a cove at mid-lake on Toledo Bend, both saw fish rolling in a large grass mat. They agreed they must be carp, because there was no way that bass would be breaking the surface repeatedly.
“I saw a fish busting the water really hard, but I was sure it wasn’t a bass, because it kept doing it, over and over,” Boudin said. “I thought it was a carp, because this time of year, they try to get in that grass.”
As Boudin and Barrow eased closer to the grass, covering close to 100 yards, the fish kept breaking. Then, Boudin saw the fish strike, spraying shad into the air for several feet around. Maybe, just maybe, it was a nice bass.
No doubt now
On his third cast with a black/yellow SPRO frog, fished on a heavy action, 7-foot-3 Dobbins rod and a reel spooled with 65-pound braid, Boudin knew it was a bass, for sure.
“There were three or four little pockets in the grass, and I was throwing 30 yards past them, working it back, then twitching it when it was over a pocket,” he said. “I’ve never seen a bass explode on a bait like that. She obliterated it; she engulfed it. She acted like a fish on steroids.”
A couple of minutes later, the bass was in the net, and it was far bigger than any Boudin has ever caught, far bigger than he could have imagined.
“I was thinking 8 or 9 pounds; I never thought she was that big,” he said. “Then my buddy picked her up out of the net and said, ‘That’s a 13 or 14.’”
A few minutes later, at Buckeye Landing, a set of certified scales proved Barrow correct. Boudin’s huge bass — 28 inches long and 21 1/2 inches girth — weighed 13.6 pounds. It was the 51st double-digit bass of the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program’s 2022-23 season, earning Boudin a complimentary replica mount.
Boudin, whose previous best bass was between 7 and 8 pounds, was left wondering exactly how much bigger the bass might have been.
“If it had been a month earlier, no telling what she might have weighed,” he said. “She had already spawned out. Her belly was soft, and her tail was bloody. She was a monster fish — and on a frog. I’ve caught lots of 4s and 5s, even a 6, on a frog. But… it was just my time. The right time, the right place.”
No getting away
Boudin, who caught the fish at 6:40 a.m., said it was under the grass in about 4 feet of water, and there was no chance it was getting away after it bit.
“She had the frog way down in her throat — but not all the way to her stomach,” he said. “She fought pretty good, but I took my time, and I had that 65-pound braid on.”
Boudin and Barrow watched the big bass get tagged at Buckeye, then they headed back out to fish.
“We went fishing the rest of the day and the next day, and we caught some 4 and 4 1/2s, but nothing like that big fish,” he said. “From what I’d heard, a lot of the big fish have already moved out.
“I don’t think it’s sunk in at all. My buddy was more excited. He told me, ‘I think you’re in shock.’”