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Lake life

CJ’s 13 pound bass

A fish and a memory for a lifetime for Michael and CJ Colvin and friends Bubby and Tate Brooks

Getting kids to go outdoors can be a challenge these days, especially with all the distractions and electronic devices looming around out there trying to get all their attention. But seven-year-old CJ Colvin doesn’t have to be asked twice to go fishing. And last week, he was rewarded. Handsomely. The seven-year-old landed a 13-pound bass in a private lake in Ouachita Parish.

It meant even more because they were fishing with friends and it turned into a family affair. Here’s why it’s important to get kids in the outdoors. Fishing partners Bubby Brooks and Michael and their sons Tate and CJ were all involved. It continues a tradition that goes way back to when the dads were the kids.

“It was incredible,” said Michael. “I mean, we had been catching a lot of small bass with kids and having a good time. The other kids all got tired and went back in, but CJ wanted to stay with us. He never wants to stop fishing, Michael said. Bubby’s son Tate and CJ fish together all the time, following in the footsteps of their dads.

But back to the fishing story. Bubby caught a small bass and was reeling it in when a huge bass hit it right at the boat. They weren’t catching anything that big, so after a few minutes, they landed a real small bass and decided to try and use it for bait. Something did hit it, but it got off. So they tried again.

Bubby has caught big bass on live bait before and he rigged up the small bass with a No. 2 circle hook through it’s tail. They threw the bait out, handed CJ the rod and just let the little “bait” bass swim around.

The big fish turned into a family affair for the Colvins — CJ with mom Danielle, dad Michael and little brother Bentley.

The rest of the story played out like, well, like a good fishing story. Within just a few minutes, CJ’s rod starting bending and he started reeling. The big fish had taken the bait, but it didn’t want to come to the boat. It didn’t come to the top until it was almost back at the boat. In the meantime, Michael had grabbed his phone and stated videoing because he didn’t know what CJ had hooked. In fact, he said for a minute there, he thought it might have been a baby alligator.

“They thought it was a gator, but I knew it was a big bass all along,” CJ said. “It was pulling just a tad bit for sure.”

It wasn’t long until the big fish swirled, though, and both Michael and Bubby both knew it was a monster bass. It tried to make a jump and then they knew it was a huge largemouth. Both of them have bass fished for years, including in tournaments, and they knew what CJ had.

CJ was excited and he just keep reeling. In fact, he reeled the fish right up the the end of the rod and around to the end of the aluminum boat where Bubby lipped the bass and all of them started hollering at the size of the fish.

“When the fish swam up to the boat, my dad jumped all the way from the front to the back with me,” CJ said. “He was pretty excited. But when Mr. Bubby grabbed the fish and held it up, it was really funny. He screamed like a girl”.

It took a few minutes for things to settle down, then they tried to figure out how to weigh it.

The story got complicated then. They had to pull their aluminum boat through a thicket with a four-wheel drive just to get to the pond they were fishing. They didn’t have a scale of any sorts with them and they weren’t close enough to get to one without killing the fish. They called CJ’s mom, Danielle, and she brought two sets of digital bathroom scales to the pond. They weighed the fish on both, then the fish with Michael holding it, several times on both scales. It came out to 13.0 pounds each time. While that won’t be good enough to submit for the record books because the scales aren’t certified, it’s good enough for them.

The fish was 15 1/2 inches long and had a 19-inch girth. It’s belly was bulging and while it looked like it had eggs, Bubby feels sure it was just full of crawfish. They cleaned several smaller fish and each one had crawfish in the stomach. Several other fish spit out crawfish when they were being landed.

After the big fish was weighed, it was released back into the pond and swam away to fight another day. CJ wouldn’t have it any other way. He plans on being a fisherman for a long time. In fact, this year in school for career day, he declared he wanted to be a professional bass fisherman. He has even been on a trip with professional fisherman Tyler Stewart.

“We work hard to make sure our kids get outdoors and I think this serves as a good example of why they need to put down those video games and go enjoy life,” Michael said. “Bubby and I have been lifelong fishing partners and now our sons Bubby and Tate do the same things we grew up doing. That’s pretty special. And when you take them fishing, you never know what is going to happen.”

That’s even more true after CJ’s big catch than ever before.

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