Reynolds boats his second Toledo Bend 12-pounder of 2023

Tater Reynolds of Florien with the 12.11-pound bass he caught at Toledo Bend on March 18, 2023. (Photo courtesy Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program)

Back on Feb. 4, Tater Reynolds weighed in a 12.63-pound largemouth bass at a Major League Fishing BFL tournament on Toledo Bend.

He didn’t win big fish, falling almost a pound short of Cody Pitt’s 13.38-pounder.

So this past Saturday, when he put another 12-pounder in his boat – this time in a Game Changers tournament with partner Josey Thibodeaux – you couldn’t blame him if he wondered whether this second giant of the year would make it through the weigh-in in first place.

“I was a little bit worried about our 5-fish stringer getting beat, but it would have been real bad to get beat for big fish like that again,” said Reynolds, from Florien.

He didn’t have to worry. His 12.11-pound fish was the biggest caught in the tournament – and the fourth-heaviest caught from Toledo Bend this year – and he and Thibodeaux won the tournament with a 30.56-pound limit.

“I’ve really been on some good fish this week,” said Reynolds, who hopes his fish hold up when he fishes another BLF event on Toledo Bend on Saturday. “(Monday), I had two 7s, and I had a fish that should have been an 8, but she had already spawned and was 6-something. Hopefully, I can do it again on Saturday.”

Back at it

Reynolds “did it again” last Saturday with the same lure that produced his first 12-pounder of the year, a Sixth Sense Alabama rig. He was fishing in a pocket in the mid-lake area when he saw – on his LiveScope – a huge fish swimming into the pocket.

“She was coming into the middle of the pocket, following the creek, heading in,” Reynolds said. “I led her with the A-rig, and once she saw it, she started coming to it. She slammed it – about took the rod out of my hands.”

Reynolds said the big fish made one good run, taking drag off his reel, and when he stopped and turned her, she made her one jump.

“I knew she was over 10,” he said. “I had 20-pound fluoro on a heavy rod, so I was confident about landing her. There were a few stumps around, and I was trying to keep her up, trying to keep her away from those stumps so she wouldn’t get any of the other (A-rig) hooks in a stump.”

Reynolds got the big fish next to the boat, and it was getting ready to jump again when Thibodeaux got her in the net, sort of.

“She was so long (27 ¾ inches) that we had to get her in the net head first,” he said. “When we first got her in the net, I thought she was going to go 13, maybe 14, because she was so long. But when I picked her up and looked at her, I realized she wasn’t that thick through the body. She had a belly on her, but there were no marks on her belly or tail like she’d spawned out.

“I weighed her on my personal scales, and she was 12.05.”

Last cast of the day

Reynolds caught the fish at around 2:40; he said he planned to leave for the weigh in at San Miguel at 2:50, so once the fish was safely in the livewell, he and Thibodeaux cranked the outboard and headed home.

“I never made another cast,” said Reynolds, who said the fish was in about 14 feet of water.

At San Miguel, the big bass weighed 12.11, worth $100 for being the tournament’s big fish. Thibodeaux and Reynolds took home another $1,900 for winning the tournament.

“Without that fish, we would have had 23 or 24 pounds, and we wouldn’t have won,” said Reynolds, whose fish was 20 ½ inches in girth. “She should have been a giant, but she didn’t look like she’d been eating good. As long as she was, she should have weighed close to 14. I caught a 14.12 at Lake Daniel in Texas, and that fish was 26 ½ inches long, but it had a lot of girth.

“She was fixing to go in and find a place to stage. She wasn’t sitting around; she was moving in,” he said.

Reynolds’ bass was Lunker No. 42 of the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program season.