Trophy bass is Valentine’s treat for Reynolds

Doug Reynolds of Florien was fishing on Feb. 14 in front of his home on Toledo Bend when he landed a 13.67-pound bass. (Photo courtesy Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program)

Doug Reynolds made one cast on Valentine’s Day, and he wound up with a sweetheart of a Toledo Bend bass: 13.67 pounds.

Reynolds, from Florien, was about 100 yards in front of his home on the lower end of the huge lake, getting help from his grandson, Tater Reynolds – a top angler on Toledo Bend – to adjust his Garmin LiveScope. Once the electronics were properly adjusted, around 11 a.m., the younger Reynolds pointed out what looked like a huge fish on the LiveScope, in front of the boat.

One cast, 13.67 pounds.

“He came over to help me adjust my Garmin, and we were just sitting out there, maybe 100 yards in front of my house, getting it to work. I’m 75; he’s young and he knows those electronics,” Doug Reynolds said. “Tater looked at it and he said, ‘Grandad, that’s a big one if it’s a bass.’”

Doug Reynolds picked up a rod with an Alabama Rig tied on, made a long cast in front of the fish, and in his words, “She ran right to it and grabbed it. It was just one of those things.”

Grabbed it

Reynolds’ boat was sitting in 18 feet of water. He said the big bass was suspended about 10 feet deep when the 6th Sense A-rig sank down in front of it.

“She came up and grabbed it,” he said. “She went straight down. I thought it might have been a catfish, because she was pulling so deep and hard. She went straight down, then out to the side. She never came up and jumped; she just kept pulling.

“The water was so milky, it was hard to see. When I saw her come up, I could tell she was a big fish. Then, Tater got the net and netted her.”

Doug and Tater put the big bass in the livewell, pulled the boat out and trailered it to Buckeye Landing to have the fish weighed on certified scales for the Toledo Bend Lake Association’s big-bass program. The fish, at 13.67 pounds, was 27 ½ inches long and 21 ¼ inches in girth.

“She was about as big as she was gonna get; she was full of eggs,” Reynolds said. “There was a big flat not far from where we were, maybe 150 yards away. I think she was headed there, toward the shallow water. We had her back in the water within an hour of catching her.”

Special blessing

A huge Valentine’s Day bass caught with his grandson in the boat might have been enough for most fishermen, but Doug Reynolds, 75, had another “special blessing.”

“I had a friend, Bill England, from when I lived up around Baton Rouge, and after he died, his wife called a few of us who were his friends and fished with him; she wanted to give us each a rod or two. (One of them) was the rod I caught the big fish on. Bill used that rod for punching grass and fishing an Alabama rig. It was custom-built, about 7-foot-6, with a Shimano reel and 20-pound fluorocarbon.”

The 13.67-pound monster was the biggest of Doug Reynolds’ fishing career. It made him love even more the electronics that once seemed foreign to him.

“I’m from Baton Rouge, and when I moved  up here, I didn’t even have a depth finder on my boat,” he said. “When I got here, Tater and everybody else told me I had to fish deep. I was used to fishing the bank. So, I started buying electronics for my boat, got better at (LiveScope), and now, I couldn’t do without it. I’ve caught a lot of fish I wouldn’t have caught without it. It’s really good with sac-a-lait (crappie).”