Landing a Toledo Bend lunker

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Andrew Canulette

MANY, LOUISIANA – Chris Myers has had some spectacular catches since he started bass fishing 37 years ago.

His finest, however, came when he was least expecting it on Day 2 of the Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Central Regional presented by Magellan Outdoors.

The three-day tournament was held March 7-9 on Toledo Bend Reservoir.

Myers, who hails from Madison, Ind., boated an 11-pound, 6-ounce, lunker which earned him a $500 prize for having the heaviest bass caught during the three-day regional. It was the heaviest bass he’s ever caught, and it anchored a 23-pound, 5-ounce limit (also the heaviest five-bass sack he’s ever weighed by nearly 6 pounds.)

As impressive as Myers’ catch was, the manner in which he boated the bass was pretty remarkable.

“Normally when you catch a fish like that, you’re throwing 65-pound braid into a bush or something,” he said. “This one, I caught it out in open water on light line. I was fishing some deep grass with a (Berkeley) Red Shad Power Worm. I felt it get soft, and I said to my co-angler ‘Get the net. It’s going to be a good one.’ I just didn’t know how good.”

Soon after the big bass was hooked, Myers feared his line would break. And true to form, the bass did everything it could to snap it.

“She came straight at the boat, and I’m thinking maybe it’s a 4- or 5-pounder,” he said. “But then she swam past the boat and when she did, I literally fell to my knees. I wasn’t prepared mentally for that kind of struggle.”

For the next few minutes, the monster bass swam toward Myers’ boat and then away from it. He said the fish never broke surface, but instead made continued “power surges” toward him and then away from him.

Eventually, the bass swung toward his trolling motor about 1 foot beneath the water’s surface. That’s when Myers realized he had the bass of a lifetime on the other end of his line.

“I caught a 9-pound blue cat(fish) three days before in that very same spot, and for a while with all that fighting, I thought that’s what I had again – another catfish,” he said. “And then we had the bass in the net, by non-boater put it down on the top deck. I said ‘Oh no! Get it down in here! I scooped up the net and got the bass on the floor of the boat as fast as you can imagine.

“What a rush,” Myers continued. “After (I got the bass in the livewell), I had to sit down for about four or five minutes to stop from shaking. It seemed like she fought for an eternity.”

Myers’ previous best was an equally impressive 11-4 he caught approximately 20 years ago on Florida’s Harris Chain of Lakes while practicing for a B.A.S.S. Megabucks tournament.

This bass, however, meant much more.

“It was just amazing,” Myers said. “I’m thankful to be able to weigh that fish in front of the crowd here. It really was the catch of a lifetime.”

Myers said it took him nearly 15 hours to drive one way from his hometown to Toledo Bend. But when you catch an 11-6, that long stretch of highway seems much shorter.

“It’s my first time fishing here and it’s definitely a long drive,” he said. “But you can guarantee, I will be back.”