Lighting in form of big bass (almost) strikes twice

New Iberia outdoorsman Mike O’Brien grips a 7-pound, 9-ounce bass he hooked and boated on April 24 at Toledo Bend. The bass bit 5 feet from the spot where his fishing buddy, Paul Resweber, caught a 10.12-pounder on March 14.

MANY — Can a double-digit sized bass strike twice in the same place, like lightning?

New Iberia outdoorsman Mike O’Brien got an answer to that question April 24 on a bass fishing trip in his boat inside a cove along Six Mile Creek at Toledo Bend. It was a yes and no answer.

The 62-year-old retired outboard motor mechanic was fishing with Jim Jackson, who hails from Oklahoma and serves as the park host at Cypress Bend Resort.

O’Brien coaxed a big bass to bite less than a fishing rod’s length away from where another fishing buddy hooked and boated a 10-pound plus bass on March 14. O’Brien’s trophy-sized bass did strike almost in the same place but, alas, it was a little less than 2 ½ pounds shy of the double-digit mark O’Brien has coveted in all his years fishing Toledo Bend.

“We were in the same little cove Paul (Paul Resweber of St. Martinville) caught that 10-pound bass, 5 feet from the bush” where the 10.12-pounder sucked in Resweber’s “wacky worm” and gave him a tussle they’ll never forget before O’Brien slipped the landing net under the “hawg.” It was the biggest bass of the two-day Texas Oilman’s Bass Invitational and anchored their 22.18-pound stringer on the second day of the mammoth tournament held out of Cypress Bend Resort. 

O’Brien, who has several 9-pound class bass to his credit but no 10-pound plus bass at Toledo Bend, made his bid again when he cast his “wacky worm”-rigged Senko of an undisclosed and secret color at a likely looking piece of cover. He was using a baitcasting rod and reel combo with 12-pound test Big Game tied to a 4/0 Owner finesse hook.

He got the tell-tale tap and it was game on.

“Well, basically, when I set the hook, I knew it was a big fish because it didn’t move. Then she jumped, jumped out of the bushes. Then I panicked,” he said with a soft laugh.

“She ran. Then she went back to the bushes like they normally do. I had to loosen my drag a whole lot more. But, God, that fish, the mouth on it was huge. It made a little circle under the boat kinda like,” he said.

Jackson, he said, did a smooth net job and lifted the bass in the boat.

O’Brien and Jackson marveled at the size of the big bass, which they measured at 25 inches, and weighed it at 7 pounds, 9 ounces, before it was released.

“We were both shaking. We were both admiring it. It definitely had the head of a big fish,” O’Brien said.

“We weighed her. Looked at her. Saw what the length was. She was pretty … no marks on her,” he said.

Their mutual admiration session didn’t last long.

“I wanted to get her back in the water,” he said. 

O’Brien took it in stride that for the umpteenth time a big bass he had his hands on didn’t qualify for the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program, which awards free replica mounts to 10-pound plus bass that are released to live and, hopefully, spawn again in the sprawling lake shared by Louisiana and Texas.

“Yeah, buddy, I’m not bummed about it,” he said.

In fact, he added quickly, “That was fun.”

Jackson shared the sentiment of the close call but no cigar, O’Brien said.

“He’s like me … trying for a 10-pounder,” he said.

They caught approximately 30-35 on that trip, he said. Bassin’ has been consistently fair to good. The same can’t be said for the crappie (sac-a-lait) fishing, which O’Brien’s wife, Melanie, a retired educator at Dodson Elementary School, loves to sample at Toledo Bend.

The O’Briens have been staying in their RV, their home away from home, at Cypress Bend Resort. They typically camp there during the spring as much as possible to get in the scenery, fish for bass and sac-a-lait and love every minute of it.

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