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Lake life

Another Bussey 10-pounder!

The first reported ten pounder caught out of the renewed Bussey Brake came last week. Now this week, another one is on the list. Here’s the rest of the story:

Alton “Dallas” Brown tried to go to Bussey Brake on opening day last week, but the line was too long. When he got there, there were already more than 50 trucks and boats in line. He and his brother, Charlie, went to the Ouachita River instead. Then they gave thought to going back early Tuesday morning, July 21, but decided against it. But just before noon, Charlie changed his mind and they decided why not? So they loaded up the boat and went. Good choice.

Shortly after making the 20-minute drive from his home on the Ouachita-Morehouse parish line to the newly opened 2,200 acre reservoir north of Bastrop, he was sure glad he changed his mind. He was standing on the front of the boat, holding a 10.64 lunker largemouth bass he had just landed. It was the largest bass by far he’s ever caught, even though he’s gone to lakes all over the country trying to catch a double digit bass for years.

“Isn’t that something?” he said. “I mean, really, I’ve gone all over the place trying to catch a 10-pounder and never have. I’ve been to Lake Fork over in Texas numerous times with a guide. But I ride right up from my house and catch this 10 pounder in this little lake. That’s just awesome, man.”

There was so much structure in the new lake that the Brown brothers had a hard time deciding where to start, so they just picked a spot along one of the newly cut boat lanes and started fishing the brush and grass. They only caught two fish, one about two pounds. Then came the hammer.

“I was shocked to say the least,” Brown said. “You don’t expect to catch a big fish like that in the middle of the afternoon when it’s 100 degrees, but that is when the Solunar Tables said was best. I guess they were right.”

Brown caught the big fish on a 4-inch Zoom Baby Brush Hawg in Redbug color. He said he was just tossing it up in the brush and using a slow retrieve. Most other people are fishing big worms, so he decided to downsize the lure, but it sure upsized his bass.

“When we got her in the boat, it was something,” he said. “We were whooping and holleringso much and a couple of other fishermen motored over to us to see what was going on. I weighed the fish and slipped her in the livewell and poured a little cold water in there with the aerator running. I wanted to take her in and measure her, but I decided in this heat, it just wasn’t worth it. She wouldn’t have survived. My scale is very accurate, so we just pulled her out of the livewell, got over the shock of it and took a couple of pictures and let her go. She swam off pretty quickly when I let loose of her. That was a pretty sight.”

Brown said people are catching fish on frogs, crankbaits and plastics, both large and small. They are catching fish around the lilly pads and even out in the stump fields. The early success of Bussey has surprised a lot of people, Brown said. But the conservative limits (5 daily with a 16-inch maximum length limit with the exception that one bass over 16 inches may be kept) should help the fishery continue to thrive and just get better. Most anglers are not keeping any bass at this time to help ensure good fishing for the future.

“These fish are absolutely gorgeous,” he said. “They are very healthy. There’s no doubt that this fish would have weighed over twelve pounds in the spring with eggs. In fact, at the rate they are growing, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a state record to come out of Bussey Brake in two to three years.”

The 62-year-old retired oil field worker said he was sure glad he gave Bussey a second try. He’s already been back. In fact, he didn’t hesitate when he answered the question, “What’s your favorite lake to bass fish?”

“I’d have to say it’s Bussey Brake,” he said. “I mean, where else could it be?”


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