Tyler Stewart matches wits with largemouth bass all over the country as a touring bass pro. But the young West Monroe pro’s first two trips to the “new” Bussey Brake up in Morehouse Parish?
“I didn’t even get bit,” he said.
Sunday, March 14, that changed. By about 12.74 pounds, to be exact.
Stewart was fishing the shallows looking for spawning bass when he felt a mushy feeling on his black and blue colored Googan Bandito Bug, so he did what all experienced bass anglers do. He set the hook. Nothing happened. Nothing moved. Then, a tug.
Stewart had hooked into a 12.74 pound largemouth that is the biggest ever officially weighed and reported on the 2,200 acre lake north of Bastrop. It was also Stewart’s “PB” as they call it — his personal best biggest bass.
“I flipped the Bandito Bug up in a bush and when I picked it up, it was just kind of spongy…mushy,” he said. “When I set the hook, I didn’t even turn her. Then, there was a slight tug. Then a real pull. I knew it was a good one. I had to pull it up over another bush and when it rolled, my fishing partner Matthew Colvin saw it. I reeled a couple of times and told him to get the net. I didn’t have to. He was already standing there with it in his hand because he saw the fish swirl and knew it was a giant right after I hooked it. It was pretty exciting.”
A special catch
Stewart was fishing in only about two or three feet of water and there wasn’t anything special about the bush he cast into. He said he was just flipping the bushes and dropped it in the right spot.
“I never tell my buddies to get the net because even though I get excited about catching a big one, we have a lot of eight and nine pounders around here and I usually land big ones by hand,” he said. “But this one was special. You could tell. It put up quite the fight. In fact, I don’t think I would have ever gotten her in the boat if I wasn’t fishing with a strong rod and good braid line.”
Tyler was fishing the Bug on a 7-6 Heavy Favorite brand rod with 65 Seaguar Smackdown braid line.
“Bussey has a good, growing population of really high quality fish in it,” Stewart said. “It’s insane the quality of the fish and it is important that everybody take care of this lake. There aren’t fish everywhere because the lake was drawn down. So protecting what’s there is a big deal. Practicing catch and release on the bass will help it continue to grow and get better. We’ve seen lakes that were on fire and people kept big bass. It hurts the lake. You want fish genetics like this in your lake because not all bass can get like this. It’s a treasure and it needs protecting.”
Catch and release
Stewart went way out of his way to do his part. He had to put the fish in his livewell, load up his boat and drive to Sterlington to get it weighed on a certified set of scales. As soon as he finished that, he put her back in the livewell and drove her back to Bussey.
“We took her right back to the bush where she was laying when I caught her. She was still in great shape and swam right back down into the bush,” he said. Now that’s a trophy catch that deserves another trophy.
The limit on Bussey Brake is five bass per day and anglers may keep one bass more than 16 inches long; otherwise the maximum length is 16 inches.