About 30 years ago while on a guide trip on the North end of Toledo bend I lost two giant Bass at the same time and neither one of them was mine. I had just finished a week of prefishing and a weekend tourney which I was fortunate enough to win, The KYKX big bass tourney with 1009 contestants and a first prize of $6500 with a Bass that weighed 7.7lbs, and hard as it is to believe now that was a giant not seen just every day even on Toledo bend in 1974.
Now I had been guiding a while for a professional guide service that headquartered out of Fishermen’s Wharf on the Louisiana side just south of Bear Creek, which was a renowned big bass area. That Monday we had a large group of water tower painters from Kansas, these guys traveled around the country painting water towers. They had a big year so their boss rewarded them with a week of guided trips on the Bend. The first day I had two real characters that kept me laughing so hard I could hardly fish, and the plug came out of my boat so we almost sank before one of them ripped his tee shirt and used it as a plug. One of these guys had a propeller on the top of his Mickey mouse hat, ears and all. The other had a Bob Dylan shirt with him giving the finger to a group of senators, so these were my kind of guys but neither of them had a clue about bass fishing. They each had a Zebco 33 with 20 lb. line cause they had heard you had to have heavy line on the Bend. Well, you can imagine that a 33 would only hold a very small amount of 20 lb. line, maybe 25 yards or so. I offered them baitcasters or spinning reels but neither had ever used either one.
At the time small schools abounded on the lake and you never had to show customers your tourney fish, most were very happy with numbers of 1-3 lb. fish and that was very easy to do. So the first day we caught 50 or more fish and during the day they each got hung up a few times and lost some line leaving them with very little line on their reels. We had such a good time that day they made sure we fished together again the second day. As luck would have it some of the guys had caught 5-6 lb. Bass the first day and they wanted to try to catch a Big Fish. As I said in the opening sentence I was on some really big fish and as I did not have a tourney anytime soon I decided I would take them to Bear Creek to my ridge where I caught the 7.7 from that weekend. As they were not likely to catch a fish on a jig I tied them both on a Magnum Mudbug. It was early March and the big fish were just moving up to the ridges to spawn, a perfect situation for a large crankbait. Only problem was their guide did not think about their reels having so little line. We get there about daylight and I tell one to throw over here and the other to throw on the other side of the boat. After a couple of casts one hollers I have a big fish on and immediately hangs the fish up on a shallow stump, we can see the fish just under the surface and it is a Toad, just tearing the water up, so I kick the troll motor on high and start over there. About half way there the other guy yells I am hung up on a tree. I tell him just push your button and when we get Joe’s fish we will go back and get your bait. Yeah you guessed it he runs out of line just about 5 ft. before we get to the Bass hung on the stump. Being the quick thinker I told him to just break off, so he yanks as hard as he could and his bait comes loose. You know what happened then an even bigger Bass grabs his Mudbug just as it comes off the tree and wraps him around a stickup as tight as Dicks hatband. I have no problem telling you I was a mess trying to think that quick and was panicked to boot. Both with good Bass on and both out of line on opposite sides of the boat. Well the first guy sees I am not thinking very well at the time says your fish is bigger so I will cut my line and we will try to get your fish. Makes sense as I think the other fish may be over 8 Lb. We agree and he pulls out his knife and cuts his line, now this fish has been hung on that stump 4-5 minutes by now and was tuckered out so I believe we would have got that fish but the other Toad was green and just about the time the first guy cuts his line the other one breaks off and about 15 lbs. of Bass slowly swim off in opposite directions. There was nothing to do but just sit there and try to laugh and cry at the same time.
Earnie (Papa) Cella