Summer isn't exactly the season when bass fishermen expect to catch the
big ones. A West Texas youth and an East Texas school teacher overcame
the odds in two very different lakes last month. Both anglers enjoyed
fishing days they will never forget.
On June 10, Kenny Schuette, 11, of Slaton (near Lubbock), set a Texas
junior angler record for largemouth bass with a 13-pounder from
2,880-acre Lake Alan Henry, about 45 miles southeast of Lubbock.
Despite its small size, Alan Henry made waves this year by edging
perennial big bass champ Lake Fork in producing entries to Texas Parks
and Wildlife's ShareLunker program.
Alan Henry this season yielded nine ShareLunkers (fish weighing 13
pounds or more); Fork had seven entries. Kenny Schuette's fish would
have qualified, but the ShareLunker program ended in April.
Kenny was fishing with a live perch when he caught the bass, which
measured 25.75 inches. He weighed and photographed the fish, then
released it. Kenny's catch tops the previous junior state record by more
than a pound.
The previous record fish was caught April 24 by Taylor's Brandon Adams,
also 11. Brandon's 11.57-pound record may be erased, but he has plenty
of reminders of his catch, which won the Sam Rayburn McDonald's Big Bass
Splash tournament. Brandon's big bass earned him an H2 Hummer and a
Triton bass boat.
There were no prizes at stake June 29 when Gerald Hobson and his wife,
Linda, launched their boat at Cooper Lake, north of Sulphur Springs.
Hobson is a 10th-grade biology teacher in the East Texas town of
Atlanta. The Hobsons spend their summer vacations fishing for big bass,
usually at Lake Fork.
Nothing, however, prepared them for what happened at Cooper, a
22,000-acre reservoir on the Sulphur River. The Hobsons had fished at
Cooper several times and immediately went to one of their favorite
spots, near a submerged creek channel.
"The very first cast that I made with a plastic worm, I caught a bass
that weighed 10.1 pounds," Gerald Hobson said. "We weighed the fish on
digital scales and photographed it before we released it. The fish had
wrapped around a log and my line was frayed, so I cut off the frayed
line and retied the lure before making a second cast."
Hobson's second cast to the same spot resulted in another bite and
another big bass. This one weighed 10.6 pounds. Hobson urged his wife to
cast to the magic spot, which she did repeatedly without getting a bite.
The couple made a little circle through the area, and Linda caught three
fish, including a 6-pounder. After about 40 minutes, the Hobsons
returned to the original fishing hole. Gerald made another cast into the
spot and caught a 9.5-pounder.
"It was awesome," Hobson said. "We could not believe what was happening.
In 2003, Linda caught an 8.5-pounder and an 11.2-pounder on back-to-back
casts, but we'd never seen anything like this. It seemed like the big
bass were really biting. The fish finally quit at that first spot, and
we moved to a different area."
That's where Linda Hobson caught her best bass of the day, an
8.5-pounder. Gerald caught a 7-pounder and a 6-pounder. Linda hooked two
big fish and broke them both off, despite the fact she was fishing with
heavy line – 25-pound test.
Just when the Hobsons thought their fishing day couldn't get any better,
it improved slightly. Gerald Hobson caught a bass that weighed 11.9
pounds. It was a personal best and, while Hobson teaches biology, he's
pretty good at math, too. He figures the five best bass he caught at
Cooper Lake that day totaled 48.2 pounds.
That's certainly one of the top days of big bass action anyone has
experienced in Texas.
In January 2001, bass pro Dean Rojas was fishing in a Bassmaster
tournament at Florida's Lake Toho. The big fish were on shallow beds and
Rojas selectively fished for the biggest bass he could see.
On Jan. 17, 2001, Rojas brought to the weigh-in a five-fish limit that
totaled 45 pounds, 2 ounces. The top five heaviest one-day catches
recorded in Bassmaster history were all made during that particular
tournament, and Hobson's five biggest bass from Cooper Lake on June 29
topped them all.
"Linda and I just looked at each other in awe," Hobson said. "It was the
fishing trip of a lifetime."