Call them the “Toledo Bend triplets” – three double-digit largemouth bass caught by Louisiana anglers in four days, weighing within an ounce of each other.
Cole Moore of Anacoco got the fun started with the biggest of the three, a 10.27-pound bass that helped he and his father, Richard, win a tournament on Saturday, March 12. Cody Vincent of Lake Charles came next with a 10.19-pound bass on Monday, March 14, and Charles Gullotta of Plaquemine fell right in line with a 10.18-pound lunker on Tuesday, March 15.
The fish were the 18th, 19th and 20th to qualify for the Toledo Bend Lunker Program since last May 1, when the 2021-22 season opened. They were the second qualifying fish of the year for Moore and Vincent, who weighed in 10-pound-plus fish in 2021.
Alabama rig scores for Moore
Moore caught his big fish on March 12, fishing an Alabama rig in 15 feet of water in the mid-lake area.
“She hadn’t moved up yet; this is a staging area where the fish move up before they get on a spawning flat,” said Moore, whose fish was 27 inches long and 19 inches in girth. “It was about the third or fourth keeper we had.”
Moore and his father were fishing in an Outlaw Outdoors tournament when the fish struck around 10 a.m. He had the Alabama rig tied on a 7½-foot, heavy action Dobbins rod and a Shimano Curado reel spooled with Power Pro braid.
“She hit it pretty good; I knew from how heavy she felt she was good,” said Moore, who caught a 10.14-pound Toledo Bend lunker last June 17. The fight was nothing special; big fish don’t really fight. She just kept digging. By the time she came up, I had her beside the boat, and my dad lipped her.”
Their celebration was relatively mild, in part, Moore said, because they only had three keepers in the boat and were fishing in a tournament. By the 3 p.m. weigh-in, however, they had the field covered with 32 pounds: their big fish, two 7-pound fish and two more 4½-pound fish.
Moore entered the fish in the Toledo Bend Lunker Program at Buckeye Landing, then the fish was released alive back into Toledo Bend.
Vincent’s super spot
Vincent has a spot in Six Mile Creek he really likes. He caught a 10.88-pound fish there last Nov. 12, and he had caught a 7.04-pound bass there when he started fishing on March 14.
Three or four casts later, another big ‘un loaded up on the chartreuse 6th Sense crankbait he had tied on a Daiwa rod and Defender reel spooled with 16-pound Daiwa Samurai braid.
“I got out a little before daylight, and I was fishing 25 feet of water where it came up to 15,” he said. “I threw it out and set the hook and she was on there. She came up about 10 feet from the boat and jumped twice, then she came right to the boat, and I started reeling faster. She went under the boat, and I had to stick my rod under the boat. She came back out, came up, and I reached down and lipped her.”
Vincent said the fish came from the exact spot where the 7.04-pound fish came, and where his big fish last November hit.
“She was just on a ledge, close to the bank,” he said. “I didn’t see it on the LiveScope, but I could see a ball of bait in the area. I think she was just sitting on the ledge – in the same area where I caught the other big fish. People don’t believe me when I tell them.”
Fishing by himself, Vincent took the fish to Buckeye Landing to get it officially weighed and measured – 26¼ inches long, 19 inches in girth – and entered in the Toledo Bend Lunker Program before releasing it.
Bless that net man
Gulotta, from Plaquemine, said his fishing partner, Wayne Allemand, is “one of the best net men in the world” and that he proved it on Tuesday, March 15.
The two were fishing around 11 a.m., throwing up on a shallow, muddy flat, when a big bass grabbed Gulotta’s watermelon red Zoom Brush Hog.
“We had two keepers and we were fishing about 2 feet deep,” Gulotta said. “The deepest place was about 3 feet. It had rained, and it was real muddy. I told (Allemand) it was like fishing in the Spillway.”
Gulotta made a cast with his 7-foot rod, ProLite rod and reel combo spooled with 12-pound green Trilene.
“I saw the line going, and when I set the hook, it didn’t move too much,” he said. “I got a glimpse and knew it was a bass. My net man thought it was a carp. Then, he took off and went under the boat and came up on the other side. I had my rod in the water as far as it could go. Then, he came back to my side and we both saw him. We both said, ‘Oh, my God,’ and he grabbed the net and netted it.”
When the big bass went under the boat, Gulotta said, “That scared both of us. All I could do was hold on and hope she came back. I was afraid she’d go around the front and get in the trolling motor, but she came back the same way she went.”
Not quite full of eggs
A careful examination of the bass told Gulotta he might have been a day or two late catching her.
“She had probably been on the bed and had probably dropped some of her eggs,” he said. “Her tail was all bloody. She still had a little bit of a belly, but she’d already dropped some eggs. I’ll bet if she’d have been full of eggs, she’d have probably weighed another half-pound.”
That didn’t matter too much to Gulotta, 73; neither did he and Allemand only catching one more fish that day. They took the bass to Keith’s Toledo Bend Bait & Tackle and had it officially weighed and measured – 10.18 pounds, 26 inches long and 18 inches in girth – and entered in the lunker program.
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