Tinnerello listens to fishing partner and boats Caney monster bass

Pete Tinnerello of Winnfield landed this 13.21-pound Caney Lake lunker on June 14.

Pete Tinnerello has a cats-and-dogs class downpour to thank for a huge bass he caught on Caney Lake. And, well, his buddy Cole Garrett, too.

On the morning of June 14, Tinnerello, a 51-year-old oil-field worker from Winnfield, was involved in a little friendly competition on Caney, fishing against Garrett and his son, River. Tinnerello had his “rivals” covered with a 5-fish limit that weighed about 23 pounds when a violent cloudburst was approaching. Tinnerello turned his fish loose and raced to the boat ramp.

“I beat it back to the ramp, but I got soaked; I left my truck door open, and it got soaked,” he said. “Cole came in, and I told him I was going on home, but he said it wasn’t going to last but 15 minutes, and we should go back out.

“So I unstrapped everything and went back out — to the middle of the middle of the middle of the lake — and I went to this spot and saw a bass on LiveScope, but I didn’t think it was that big. She came and got it, and when I set the hook, I knew it wasn’t one of my average fish from Caney.”


The right bait

Tinnerello’s Zoom Ol’ Monster worm, rigged Texas-style, was sucked in by a 13.21-pound lunker, nothing like he’s seen before on the 5,000-acre lake in Webster Parish.

“I was fishing a decent drop on the edge of a hump with a brush pile,” he said. “I saw a fish sitting down there; I don’t really know if it was the same fish, because I’m used to seeing 5- or 6-pound fish on the LiveScope, and this one didn’t look like a giant. And I’ve caught 25 fish on that same spot that weighed 5 pounds or better — but never a 6-pounder.”

Tinnerello felt the thump, reared back on his rod to set the hook, and realized this was no ordinary 5-pounder lurking 15 feet below the surface.

“The first time she breached, I like to had a heart attack,” he said. “I backed off the drag. I knew the brush or the wood was the only thing on that hump, and she came out of there, so I let her run. Two times she jumped totally out of the water, and I freaked out again. She made two more runs under the boat, but I got her to the side of the boat, and she came up and rolled over and let me lip her.”

No idea

Tinnerello knew he was holding a big fish, but he had no idea it was a 13-pound monster.

“This time of year, you catch a lot of 6’s and 7’s, and a few 8’s, and I knew she was a lot bigger than that,” he said. “When I put her on my little set of scales, I freaked out again. It said 13.22.”

Tinnerello phoned and found the Garretts, headed in their direction to show them the fish, then tried to fish some more.

“I fished 15 more minutes, but I couldn’t stand it anymore. I was really just trying to get rid of the shakes — this was like killing two Boone & Crockett bucks with a bow,” Tinnerello said. “I had to get it weighed. I ran to one marina, and it was closed, so I ran to the other end of the lake, and they weighed it on certified scales, and it was 13.21.”

The fish — totally spawned out and recovering — was 29 7/8 inches long and 21 ½ inches in girth.

“It was huge,” Tinnerello said. My bossman on the rig had caught a 12 ½ on a day off, and he said, ‘There’s no way it’s bigger than my fish,’ then I told him the measurements.”

Tinnerello found a weight calculator online that estimates the pre-spawn weight of a fish from its post-spawn weight and measurements, and he said the app pointed to his fish weighing close to 16 pounds before the spawn.

“She was huge,” he said.

Back swimming

And she’s back, swimming in the same spot.

“After they weighed her, I put her back in the livewell, took her back to where I caught her, held her in the water a minute or two, and then I let her go,” he said. “She swam straight back down to the brush pile.”

Tinnerello loves fishing in June on Caney.

“This is my time of year, and Caney is finally coming back,” he said. “Me and my son, Jacob, we went back out after church on Sunday (June 18), and we caught 13 and had five over 5 pounds.”

Oh, and Garrett has bought in on the big fish.

“Cole has been telling everybody that if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have caught the fish, because he talked me into going back out there,” he said.