Fishing Adventures with Derek Pietsch

4-27-19 Double-Digit Bass, A Dream Come True

I have caught many fish in the years I have been fishing, but the one thing that all bass fisherman want to do is catch a double-digit bass. They are far and few in the lakes and that stands to reason they are that large because they are smart and have learned how not to get hooked or if they do, they know that if they jump, they can shake their heads and throw the hook to make the grand escape.

Just to tell you how hard it is to catch these giant bass, The ShareLunker program now has Four categories, “The Lunker”, which is 24 inches or 8 pounds, “The Elite”, which is 10 pounds and “The Legacy or Legend”, which is 13 pounds and up. These bass are measured and weighed and recorded with the Texas Parks and Wildlife. Anglers catching a Legacy 13-pound bass are encouraged to lend or donate their fish to TPWD for spawning purposes. The beginning of 2018, Toyota ShareLunker program debuted a new year-long season for anglers to enter their 8 pound and larger bass for prizes and recognition to help the Texas Parks and Wildlife promote and enhance bass fishing in Texas. The first year of the revamped program had a total of 380 anglers that entered 486 “Lunker” bass from 89 lakes across the state of Texas.

Anglers entered largemouth bass into four categories in the ShareLunker program consisting of six “Legacy” bass 13 pounds or heavier entered during the spawning window and loaned them to TPWD for the selective breeding and stocking program. Five “Legend” bass 13 pounds or heavier were caught outside of the spawning window, 107 “Elite” bass weighing 10 to 12.99 pounds and 368 “Lunker” bass at least 24 inches or weighting between 8 and 9.99 pounds.

The top five lakes producing ShareLunkers in Texas in 2018 were Lake Fork, Lake Conroe, Lake Athens, Sam Rayburn and O.H. Ivie Lake. Lake Fork was the top producer of Legacy bass with three entries. All the Legacy bass, 13 pounds or larger were caught in the month of March.

It is Saturday and I came home from college to relax after studying and taking some of my finals. I went out on Lake Conroe with Dylan for a day of fishing. It turned into the best day ever. I have been dreaming of the day that I would catch a giant bass. It seems that there are not very many of those big ones in the double digits out there. Obviously, they are wise and smart and have learned the tricks of throwing the hook.

I was fishing up North and started fishing with a football jig. I cast my bait on a hump and as I was reeling, I got bit. I set the hook and I felt it in my heart I had a big fish, as it moved and pulled, I thought I had a giant. It was so heavy when I was pulling it in. I was freaking out when it first jumped. Then it jumped 2 more times trying to throw the hook and break free. When I caught a glimpse of it in the air it looked huge to me. I was just trying to concentrate on getting the fish in the boat. It fought so hard. I was scared I was going to lose it. When I got the fish up to the boat, it was amazing. I pulled it up to the boat and Dylan netted my fish. Boat flipping this fish was not an option. I was not about to take the chance of losing the biggest bass ever! I had a scale in the boat but wanted a competition scale to be sure I had an accurate weight of this fish. When I walked through the door at Stow-A-Way everyone was looking, not at me but at my fish. I was so excited my fish was the star in the spotlight as I made my way to where the scale was located. Mr. Tucker took a look and said, “It might be a little over a ten”.

I stood there anxiously awaiting to see the numbers on the scale. It was just like I was at the weigh in with a huge bag. My heart was pounding with anticipation when I saw the numbers roll past 10 pounds and stopped at 10-22. My dream had finally come true. I caught the biggest bass ever after all these years of fishing on my home lake, Lake Conroe. A WHOOPING 10-22 BASS. MY FIRST DOUBLE-DIGIT!!! I have been waiting for my turn because on Christmas day in 2014 my partner, Trey caught his first double-digit bass weighing 10-3. I was so excited for him and now I finally got to experience the same excitement.

The best thing of all was I caught this fish on a lure my mom bought at a little convenience store/gas station on the way to Sam Rayburn. She never buys lures for me anymore because I have so many, she doesn’t know what to buy. She said, “She saw these in a little section of hand tied jigs in the store. They really looked good and she thought I could catch something big. She bought ½ oz. lures and I told her that they needed to be ¾ oz., so on the way back she exchanged them for the correct size and I decided to try one out. I just got lucky and was at the right place at the right time and my dream came true. I was caught up in the moment of all the excitement I forgot to take a picture of the fish on the scale and get the measurement. I just wanted a picture of my beautiful double-digit bass in my hands.

Thanks to Mr. Tucker at Stow-A-Way Marina for weighing my bass. Stow-A-Way has been a sponsor and supported our fishing team for years. When I first started fishing on the Montgomery High School Fishing Team, our team was small and our tournaments would launch at Stow-A-Way Marina. Now that fishing has become such a growing sport with so many high schools across Texas participating it is now a trailering event at most tournaments. Stow-A-Way has always been my favorite marina on the lake. Vince and the guys there are great always helping all the fisherman with anything they need. THANK YOU, STOW-A-WAY MARINA! THROW IT OUT, POP IT IN, FISH ON!