"It was the first fish of the tournament for me," said eventual winner Billy McCaghren Jr., when talking about the 6-pound, 10-ounce largemouth that turned out to be the biggest bass of the Bassmaster Central Open on Louisiana's Red River.
"I made a 45-mile run, maybe 50, to a backwater spot I found in practice that I knew held quality bass. I fished there about 30 minutes before she took my lure.
"That's a long time for me to fish one tree but I knew there were big bass in there, and I wanted to catch one of them. But, I can't say I knew she'd be the biggest one on the tournament. That would be a lie."
The Mayflower, Ark., pro pitched a 6-inch junebug Berkley Power Lizard — Texas rigged with a 1/2-ounce Tru-Tungsten sinker and a 3/0 Gamakatsu round bend worm hook — to a green cypress tree in about 7 feet of water. He let the bait fall vertically into the roots growing on the bottom where he "let it soak for awhile."
Then, after a full minute or more, he barely inched the plastic along, crawling it over each root individually.
"Basically she hit like all my other fish. The line started moving the wrong direction. I set the hook and knew instantly it was a good one. These fish weren't hitting anything very hard. Being patient is important, especially when you're targeting big bass. You have to give them a lot of time to make up their mind."