MARSHALL, Ill. — When Lucas French caught a lunker on the first morning of the Off The Hook Junior Bassmasters’ two-day tournament Aug. 6 at Mill Creek, he would have never guessed he was in for a bigger thrill later that afternoon.
French caught a 7-pound, 9-ounce largemouth at 9 a.m. After releasing the fish, he turned to his boat captain, Illinois B.A.S.S. Federation Nation President Frank Labanowski, and said, “That was the biggest bass I have ever caught. I’ll never top that!”
The Junior Bassmaster angler and his partner Alex Ellerbrook went back to fishing and kept catching keepers.
At 2 p.m., French thought he was hung up on a stump, but then the line started moving. He, Labanowski and Ellerbrook guessed it was a large catfish until the bass surfaced a short distance from the boat. As the fish came by the boat a second time, they netted it — and French was astonished when he grabbed the giant fish with both hands.
Labanowski weighed the fish on his scale. It registered 9 pounds, 14 ounces, making his best five fish for the day more than 27 pounds.
“He had caught the largest fish of his life twice in the same day,” said Labanowski. “I am glad I was there as their boat captain. I will never forget that day.”