LILLIAN, Alabama — The second look at the biggest bass caught in Lake Fausse Pointe this year is as good as the first, according to the angler who caught it May 16.
Wesley Verret Jr. of Lillian, formerly of New Iberia, got his hands on a replica mount of that 9.21-pound bass July 10 after it was delivered to his home by American Fish Taxidermy in Tennessee. It kindled wonderful memories of every second of that catch on a Saturday trip with his father, Wesley Verret Sr. and his father-in-law, Phillip Broussard, both of Jeanerette.
“It’s a 10 out of 10. I can’t believe how it came out. An airbrush has a lot to do with it and the guy they have is extremely talented. It looks really good,” Verret said Tuesday night.
The replica mount has a distinguished spot on a wall, right under a framed copy of the The Daily Iberian story on the Outdoors pages May 24 he got as a surprise Father’s Day gift from his wife, Kelly Broussard Verret, and their young daughters, Aubrey and Hadley. The girls were ultra-excited about the framed copy and their role in the surprise, he said.
The “hawg” was one of eight bass weighing more than 7 pounds caught this spring in the lake. Two were over 7, five were between 8 and 9 pounds, and one, Verret’s, was 9 pounds plus.
“That’s impressive … one over 9. I feel very honored. It’s a very humbling experience,” Verret said. “Our Father in heaven, he only wants the best for us. I’m very humbled.”
The 39-year-old co-owner of Perdido Key Auto Spa in Perdido, Alabama, emphasized soon after the catch he was just glad to get out on the water with special people in his life while he was visiting the Teche Area.
“To be honest, to hang out with my father and father-in-law, I was just enjoying my time with my dad and father-in-law,” Wesley Jr. said in the story published May 24.
This past week, reflecting on that rewarding experience, he said, “Out of all the times fishing, that was the least amount of pressure I put on myself. I was just there to enjoy time with my dad and father-in-law.”
The 24-inch bass with a 16-inch girth was lagniappe. After the big bass was in the boat, he decided instantly he wanted to release it alive and order a replica mount.
While it was swimming in the livewell, Verret called a taxidermist to find out what was needed for a replica mount, the kind that are free for those who catch 10-pound plus bass and enroll them in the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program. He was told the girth, length and good photos were necessary.
The three anglers needed an electronic scale to weigh the fish but didn’t have one. They cranked up and left the cypress trees where the fish sucked down a black/green H20 Popping Frog and returned to the boat landing on the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana Reservation in Charenton, stopping at three houseboats along the way to see if the occupants had a scale to no avail.
Luckily, a bass angler at the boat landing had a scale and a tape measure, so the information was recorded.
Rather than make the boat ride back to the area the fish was caught, the Verrets made a decision to release it in a nearby pond owned by a friend of Wesley Sr.’s.
Wesley Jr. sent the fish’s stats and photos and one-third of the payment to American Fish Taxidermy after he returned to Lillian, where he and his wife relocated in 2017. When the job was complete, he was sent photos of the replica mount and if he liked the work, he’d send the balance and get the hawg. He approved and the taxidermy company shipped it.
The replica mount joins other mounted fish — including a 4-pound, 1-ounce bass that was his first 4-plus pounder, one he caught on a white spinnerbait in a borrow pit along the levee when he was 8 — as well as deer, ducks and bobcats.
He hasn’t been bass fishing since, he said, although he has been red snapper fishing in the near-offshore waters off Alabama.
“I’m hanging back, enjoying the (big bass) moment,” he said.
His father, he said, went back to that area in search of more trophy-sized bass several times. Now, he said, his dad is catching bass in the morning and sac-a-lait afterward in the Atchafalaya Basin, which has fallen to a fishable level.
“That’s one thing I miss is sac-a-lait fishing,” he said, adding it isn’t that productive in his neck of the woods in Alabama.