Toledo Bend continued to deliver double-digit lunkers in late February.
DeRidder’s Jonathan Harper and a friend decided that Feb. 28, was a good day to be on Toledo Bend.
“We launched on the south end of the lake to fish the Indian Creek area,” said Harper, 39. “It was cold, but the temperatures were going to warm to 60 degrees later in the day.”
Fishing offshore around ledges and structure in 25 feet of water, Harper was casting a ¾-ounce, black/blue Santone football jig with a black/blue Zoom Speed Craw tied to 15-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon ,spooled to a Lew’s BB1 reel atop a 7-foot-11 Hammer rod.
“We were having a decent early morning,” Harper said. “We had taken a few 2-pounders and a couple of 3s. But at 9 a.m., the bite just stalled. It was tough for a while until later.”
Harper then moved to shallow water near the banks and caught a couple of nonkeepers.
“Then, we went without a bite from 11 to 1:30 p.m.,” said Harper, who moved back offshore and continued casting. On his third case, a fish loaded up on the jig.
“The bite felt mushy as she picked up the jig and tugged on it,” he said. “She then put on a good show for us.”
The bass soon surfaced, and both anglers knew immediately it was a double-digit fish.
“She made a couple of more nosedives, taking some drag,” Harper said. “When she came up, my buddy netted her.
“We put her on a scale I had on the boat, and it read 10.78 pounds,” he said. “We then placed her into the livewell with some Rejuvenade and motored over to Buckeye’s Landing.”
The bass weighed 10.92 pounds on the certified scale at Buckeye’s Landing.
Harper’s lunker was released back into the lake and was No. 17 in the 2019-2020 Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program season records. The huge bass is Harper’s personal best.
Denni Fetting of Leesville decided to leave his camp around 9 p.m. on Feb. 29 to do a bit of night-fishing and deal with some stress while engaging in some personal prayer.
“With my job, it’s about the only time I have to do some fishing,” said Fetting, 42. “And on this night trip, I was asking God to see me through some personal issues.”
Launching at 9 o’clock, Fetting did not venture too far from his camp near Pirate’s Cove and the Army Recreation Cove.
He was casting a Texas-rigged, split-tail, 7-inch plum worm on braided line on a 13 Concept Fishing reel fixed to a heavy-action Duckett rod.
Fetting was fishing submerged grass in 6 feet of water at the mouth of a creek.
It was on his third cast, around 10 p.m. when he got his first bite.
“I set the hook, and at first it, felt normal,” he said. “Then, it moved and started to feel differently, like a big catfish or a gou.”
Getting the big fish in the boat
Fetting said when the fish turned and headed out to deep water, he knew it was a bass.
“Then, she started running in 5 to 6 feet of water,” Fetting said. “I saw the side of the fish and then I panicked because I didn’t have a net.
“I prepared to attempt to sling her in the boat, and she hit the side of the boat,” he said. “Then, I reached down and lifted her into the boat and put her in the livewell.”
Fetting called his brother and met him at a private ramp nearby.
“On a scale we had, she weighed 10.49 pounds,” he said.
Fetting was able to contact Cindy Salter at Buckeye’s Landing to get an official weight and to do the paperwork necessary for entry into the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program.
“Ms. Cindy went out of her way to open the store to do that for us at that late hour,” Fetting said.
On Buckeye Landing’s certified scale, Fetting’s bass weighed 10.49 pounds. It was tagged, released alive into Toledo Bend waters. It is recorded as No. 18 in the 2019-2020 records of the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program.
Both anglers to receive replicas
Since both Fetting’s and Harper’s lunker bass weighed at least 10 pounds and were tagged and released alive back into Toledo Bend waters – both anglers will receive free replicas of their fish courtesy of the Toledo Bend Lake Association.
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