Trying to figure out where to find a lunker bass in the massive 190,000 acre Toledo Bend Reservoir is tough enough during the daytime. But at night, it can be even more of a challenge, especially when you are after double digit bass.
So bass angler Michael Woods of Many turned to a fishing spot where he could use a night light to help rouse out an 11.15-pound Toledo Bend hawg on Sept. 10. He found the big fish under a pier with several good lights on it in about 8-10 feet of water.
“I started out in a deeper spot that I’ve caught a lot of big fish on,” Woods said. “But it was almost 11 o’clock and I didn’t have but about eight pounds of fish and no big ones, so I decided to move to the bank and fish some deeper piers. I chose that one because of the lights that help me see what I’m doing. And the big fish seem to like piers with lights. The area was also in a little deeper water, so I thought I might be able to pick my weight up there.”
Woods was fishing in a Many Bass Club tournament at the time. He pulled up to the pier and made about five or six flips with jigs and big worms but had no action. Then, on the next flip, he changed to a 10 ½-inch June Bug Red Cajun Lures Bigeaux Worm and it hadn’t hit the water good when he felt a fish bite.
“When I set the hook and was reeling the fish in, I knew it was a good one, but I didn’t know it was that big,” he said. “Then it jumped and I saw how big it’s mouth was, but it wasn’t until I had it in the net and picked it up until I realized it could go over 10 pounds.”
“I was pretty excited,” he said. “It’s just like a big old buck. Once you’ve got your hands on it, your knees start shaking and you get all fired up. This is my third Toledo Bend Lunker Program bass and the third one was just as exciting as the first one. I put it on my scales and saw it was around 11 pounds, but I didn’t wait for them to lock in. I just got her in the livewell because I didn’t want her to die. And I was a lot happier knowing that I’d have a big weight in the tournament after that, but I was so worried about her I stopped fishing every few minutes and checked to make sure she was making it.”
She did. And Woods was able to certify the weight and let the fish survive. There aren’t many places around to weigh in a big fish at midnight, so he just worked to keep her alive in the livewell. And by the way, the lunker was big bass for the tournament and he did win first place with 19.35 pounds for a five fish limit.
Woods’ earlier Lunker Program catches were a 10.25 pounder in 2020 and a 10.32 pounder in 2018. Woods works on turn-around construction jobs and is gone from home frequently, but when he’s home and off, he hits the lake pretty regularly when he feels like the fish are biting.
As for this lunker, Woods says he isn’t sure why it took six or seven flips to get the big fish to bite. He said the bait could have made a difference or he might have just finally aggravated her into biting. Woods caught the fish on a Pride Fishing Rod made by Bill Kissler in Conroe, Texas, using a Diawa Tatula 100 series reel spooled with 20 pound Seaguar InvizX fishing line.
He was fishing in the mid-lake region around Pendleton Bridge area.
The thermocline is important
Woods says one of the keys to finding big bass on Toledo right now is to watch the thermocline. During the day, it isn’t much of an issue, but at night if you go much over 8-12 feet deep, you’ll be in water that the fish won’t be in. He says just stay above the thermocline and you’ll find fish. The water in the lake is still relatively hot from the summer.
This was the seventh fish weighed in over 10 pounds and put into the lunker bass program this year. You can find out more about the program dedicated to preserving and improving trophy bass fishing on the lake at this website: https://www.toledobendlakeassociation.com/lunker-bass-program.html