Saturday January 23 brought news of a big blizzard hammering the northeast. Forecasts even called for a bit of snow, cold and windy conditions for north Louisiana meaning most rational thinking folks in our area were likely to put another log on the fire and hunker down under less hostile conditions.
However, one Ruston duo, LA Tech students Gunner Durrett and his roommate Lane Cox decided to heck with a warm fire; they went fishing instead.
“I had to work that morning at my job at Pearce Lumber in Ruston and when I got off at noon, Lane asked me if I wanted to go fishing. I did so we hooked up his boat and headed for Caney Lake,” Durrett said.
Arriving at the lake around 2:00 that afternoon, facing temperatures in the 40s with a brisk breeze blowing, Durrett and Cox began fishing some of the spots they have fished in the past with success but it was not until 5:30 that one of the pair got the only bite of the afternoon, but what a bite it was.
“We had fished several of our spots without success and had moved to a point where we’ve caught fish before. After fishing the spot for awhile, Lane said we’d make one more cast before moving to another area,” Durrett recalled.
“I was fishing with a bait that I’ve had success with before, a suspending Rogue with a gold back and clear bottom. I would twitch it about three times, let it sit before twitching it again. On the third series of twitching and pausing the lure, I felt something heavy and thought I’d gotten into some grass or something.”
When whatever had hold of his Rogue began pulling back, Durrett knew he’d tied into a good fish.
“It wasn’t really fighting that hard and then she swirled out from the boat and we could tell it was a big fish but couldn’t really tell how big. Once I got her near the boat, I guess she saw it and really took off then,” said Durrett.
The fish swam around the boat, back again and was trying to go under the boat as Durrett worked at getting her near enough for Cox to land it.
“Lane didn’t have a net so he had to lip the bass, which was no easy task because a suspending Rogue has three sets of treble hooks; that’s nine hooks in all. Fortunately, one hook was on one side of its mouth and one on the other so Lane was able to slip his thumb in between the hooks and lip the bass,” Durrett said.
Not only did Cox not have a net but his scale was dead so in order to weigh the bass, they had to rush it to Brown’s Landing which has a certified scale.
“The bass weighed 10 pounds; 1 ounce on the scale at Brown’s,” Durrett added. “Once we got it weighed, we released her back into the lake. She was too pretty to not give her a chance to live.”
Durrett has caught big bass before with his Caney Lake behemoth being the largest he has taken so far. He noted that some of the largest fish he has ever taken have been in winter with the weather being nasty.
Incidentally, Durrett is a member of the LA Tech fishing team and he and his partner, Austin Watkins, recently fished a FLW qualifying event in Texas on Lake Somerville and the Tech team and one more LA Tech team, Tyler Wilk and Scott McClellan fishing the event did well enough to qualify both teams to fish the FLW championship.
His experience on Caney Lake last weekend obviously worked as a warm-up – if you could call 40 degrees and north wind a warm-up – for the big prestigious event coming up soon.
Congratulations to Gunner Durrett on both counts.