Bass entered into Texas’ ShareLunker Program.
In more ways than one, a fog lifted over Toledo Bend on Friday (Feb. 15) for 34-year-old Casey Martin of Anacoco.
He was fishing his first-ever professional FLW tournament as a co-angler, and he had zeroed on the tournament’s first day. The only other tournaments he had fished prior to the FLW were local club events, the Oilman’s tournaments and basssoldiers.com.
So he was out to make sure his first big tournament wasn’t a complete bust. It didn’t start well.“I was fishing with angler Dean Perkins of Broaddus, Texas, on Day 2 of the tournament,” Martin said. “We began on Friday by fishing the southern end of Indian Creek, but the fish played out there.”
So Perkins motored to a main lake hump in 12 feet of water in the middle of Six Mile Creek, in 12 feet of water.
“We fished there and caught a few keepers,” Martin said. “Then we left and went to a nearby ridge.
That’s when things really began to turn on.
“On the ridge, Perkins boated a 5 ½-pounder, and I caught a 2-pounder, as well,” Martin said. “After staying on the ridge for 30 minutes, we went back to the hump at Six Mile.”
Martin chunked out a Carolina-rigged Pro Choice Lures’ watermelon/candy crawworm, and it didn’t take long to get a big bite.
“It was my third cast on the hump when she hit,” Martin recalled. “At first, I thought it was a catfish because she stayed down and didn’t want to come up.”
But Martin’s knees went weak when the fish finally rolled on top of the water and he saw it was a huge bass.
Then near calamity happened.
“When I did finally get her up on top, Perkins missed her with the net,” Martin said.
The angler worried as the fish pulled line again, heading into the depths.
“I got her back up, and Dean netted her,” Martin said. “Dean then went (Micheal) Iaconelli on me, whooping and cheering.
“It was the biggest bass I ever caught, and I just fell to my knees shaking.”
They didn’t even worry with weighing it, because Parkins was confident the fish would end up entered into the Texas Department of Parks & Wildlife’s ShareLunker program, which provides free fiberglass mounts in return for fish weighing more than 13 pounds.
And Martin’s huge bass barely fit into the livewell.
The team continued fishing, so it wasn’t until they went through the weigh-in that it became official: Martin’s bass tipped the scales at 13 pounds, 1 ounce.
TPWD personnel picked up the bass to take it to their hatchery in Athens.
“That big bass worked well for me,” Martin said. “At the end of the tournament, I placed 8th overall in the co-angler division.”