Toledo Bend run still on _lowres

Photo provided by KYNELL MATHERNE He caught this where? Robby Matherne hefts a 50-pound catfish he caught Friday night while fishing University Lake near LSU. He said he used cut mullet for bait, but because he was fishing with light tackle, 20-pound test line, it took him more than 20 minutes to land the giant flathead catfish. It's been more more than 15 years since Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologists released some 50 brood-stock catfish into the lakes. Back then, the fish weighed between 8 and 15 pounds. Since then, 40-, 50-, 65- and 70-pound catfish from University and City Park lakes. Matherne said this was his third catfish weighing more than 40 pounds from the lakes.

It’s not too late to get in on the best big-bass run at Toledo Bend in years.

With patterns established on their practice days, the Bassmaster Elite pros showed the methods that could help local fishermen take advantage of the last largemouth bass spawn this year.

Jacob Powroznik caught two two giants in the final hours Sunday to win the $100,000 first-place money with a four-day, 20-fish, 79-pound, 12-ounce total. The second, a 5-pounder, came on his last cast.

The Elite rookie from Virginia told Bassmaster reporter Deb Johnson that he’d found the fish that turned out to be a 7-pound, 13-ounce “bedding” bass earlier Sunday but couldn’t get it to take a lure.

He said he remembered something somebody told him about using a white lure when all else failed. He said he found a white crawfish-looking bait and told Johnson that the fish “attacked it.”

The same thing happened with the last-cast 5-pounder, a fish Powroznik admitted frustrated him earlier in the day. He weighed 19-11 on the final day to push him past third-day leader Dean Rojas, who dropped to sixth after catching only 10-9.

The two big fish helped Powroznik beat Illinois pro Chad Morgenthaler by a little more than two pounds. Morgenthaler had the final day’s top catch, a five-bass, 21-14 stringer.

Pierre Part’s Cliff Crochet improved his overall standings with a 12th-place finish. Crochet was in the top 15 throughout the four days. His first-day 21-10 total shot him into the top 10, but he dropped to 13-15 the second day, rallied with a 20-6 catch the third day to put him in ninth place, but came in with 9-8 on the final day to move up 20 places, up to 36th, in the Angler of the Year standings.

Greg Hackney, the Gonzales national pro, finished 34th, but dropped only one spot (to seventh) in the overall standings.

When all was done, then said, most of the 100-plus pros concentrated on Toledo Bend’s south end, where the water was cooler and bass were moving to the shallows to continue the spawn. Hackney said he concentrated on areas near the dam. Humps and grassy shallows proved to hold the most and largest fish, and topwaters and other shad imitations proved to be the top early morning producers, most likely because the threadfin shad had invaded the shallows to spawn.

After that, swimbaits and flipping matted grass and spawning beds produced the top bites.

A Toledo record

Most bass fishermen know about Toledo Bend’s Lunker Program. They know that if they catch a 10-pound bass, and keep it alive, they can get it weighed as a Lunker Program station, release the fish back into The Bend and receive a fiberglass replica of their catch.

The long-standing program’s record was 58 lunker largemouths in a single year. Proof of this headline-making year on the state’s largest reservoir came Friday when the 60th 10-pounder of 2014 was entered into the book.

Getting ready

The first big charity saltwater rodeo happens next weekend with the May 16-17 8th annual Italian-American Fishing Rodeo out of Breton Sound Marina in Hopedale. A Captain’s Party is on for the night of May 16.

The entry fee in the Adult Division is $40. Youngsters 14 and younger fish free. There are three places in seven categories and first places only in five Children’s Division categories.

The rodeo benefits Children’s Hospitals. Website registration is avaialble: www.italianamericanfishingrodeo.com.

Those who serve

Cabela’s is offering employee pricing Thursday through Sunday to veterans, active military, reservists, law enforcement and fire/EMS personnel.