Caney Lake lunker landed thanks to help of “net man”

By: Kinny Haddox of the Louisiana Sportsman

Fishermen are not always forthcoming with the “whole story” of a trophy fish, so when Dustin Gates of Jonesboro started to tell me about the 10.49-pound bass he caught out of Caney Lake on Friday, June 26, I was ready.

“My buddy Casey Pennington and I just ran out to the lake for a little while to test out his new Humminbird Solix, said the 35-year-old Agape Paint and Body employee. “We were headed to a big brush top to see what it looked like on the new depth finder and we stopped pretty short and started casting.”

Gates was throwing a swimbait and Pennington was throwing a crankbait. Gates made a long cast toward the top and after a few reels, he got hung in the edge of the top. They started to ease up to it and get the bait loose, but decided to turn on the side imaging and take a look first. When they did, they saw two big fish in the top.

“We both grabbed up our worm rods and made casts in there about two seconds apart,” Gates said. “Within two seconds after mine hit the bottom, I got a bite. When I set the hook, I knew it was a good one. A few seconds later it came up to the top and jumped and my heart stopped. It was huge.”

Getting the big bass in the boat

Then the big fish turned and headed back to the top. Before he knew it, the fish had wrapped him around a snag. He worked it back and forth, back and forth and it was right under the boat, but he couldn’t get it loose.

He was about to tell his partner he was going to jump in and get the fish loose but Pennington beat him to it and dove in. A few seconds later he handed the fish, the green pumpkin Missile D Stroyer creature bait and a chunk of brush-top to Gates who got the fish in the boat then helped his “net man” back in and they headed to Hooks Marina to weigh the fish. It tipped the scales at 10.49 pounds, was 15 inches long and had a girth of 19 1/8 inches.

A great time for Caney bass

Gates says he thinks so many big bass are being caught out of Caney the past couple of years because of the grass. It has completed a mecca for the entire food chain.  He said he hopes they don’t do something like they did before and eliminate the grass, because it really hurt fishing then and it will hurt it now.

Gates does have some tips for catching big fish in the summer. Slow down, fish big baits, and use your electronics to find the good spots with fish on them. Then just have fun. And, oh yes, always have a net man who’s willing to go above and beyond….or is that “below.”

CURRENT FISHING REPORT: (submitted by Glenn Harris)

CANEY LAKE – Bream fishing has been good this week around the bedding areas on worms and crickets. Bass to 8 pounds have been caught fishing around the deeper drop-offs and points on Flukes and trick worms. A good many catfish are being caught tight lining cold worms. Crappie fishing has slowed a bit but some can still be caught fishing around the deep tops on shiners or jigs. Night tournaments are being held Thursday nights at Hooks Marina with a 3-fish limit. For latest information contact Bateaux on Caney Lake at 259-6649, Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.

OUACHITA RIVER – With water falling, best bets for crappie have been long lining jigs in the river lakes with some big fish caught. Bass have been best in the mouth of the river lakes on shad imitations. Bream are in the back waters and river lakes and hitting crickets and worms. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.

LAKE D’ARBONNE – Crappie are fairly shallow on the flats fishing shiner or jigs 6 feet deep in 8-10 foot water. Bass have been best fishing up the creeks around grass beds on Carolina rigs and plastic frogs. Some are also being caught along the edges of the channel on crank baits and soft plastics. Bream are still biting fairly shallow on crickets and worms around the lake. Catfishing has been good on set hooks baited with bream with lots of smaller channel catfish caught fishing off the banks with cold worms and night crawlers. For latest reports, call Anderson’s Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey HoleTackle Shop at 323-8707.

LAKE CLAIBORNE – Catfishing has been good with some nice flatheads caught on stump hooks baited with bream. Crappie are still around the deep tops and hitting shiners and jigs down deep. The bream are around bedding areas and are biting worms and crickets. Some stripers have been schooling with a few caught trolling white bucktails. Bass fishing has been fair this week. For latest information, call Tim Loftin at Kel’s Cove at 927-2264.

Dustin Gates with his 10.49 lb. bass caught on Caney Lake

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