Two Toledo Bend Lunkers — Just Hours Apart

They say records are made to be broken, but some achievements just feel like they’re really in a class of their own. Nolan Ryan’s seven no-hitters are probably safe. Jerry Rice’s 22,895 career receiving yards in the NFL won’t be touched in today’s game, and the odds of anyone ever playing in 2,632 consecutive baseball games like Cal Ripken Jr. did are miniscule. At Toledo Bend, you can write Norman Land’s name into the record books — and it might be a while before anyone duplicates the feat he pulled off last Friday when he landed two certified 10-pound bass just hours apart near the dam. Land and fishing partner Travis Moore, both of Cleveland, Texas, were busy pre-fishing Toledo Bend’s south end for the Texas Team Trail tournament scheduled the next day. “We were fishing by the dam,” said Land, 54. “There are creeks near there and we were in one sitting in 30 feet of water and fishing the nearby ledges, ranging from 10 to 14 feet deep.” According to the angler, he was busy casting a ½-ounce black-blue-purple Sixth Sense jig with a Strike King black-blue Rage Craw trailer. His lure was tied to 17-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon spooled to an Abu Revo reel on a medium-heavy CastAway rod. “The big fish picked up the bait at 11 a.m.,” Land said. “She had it well and was swimming away with it. I set the hook and the fight was on. She made a few runs in open water with just a few stumps.” The angler said the bass made a run around the boat before Moore lipped the fish aboard. “Jake and Jody Goodrum — also from Cleveland — were fishing near us and I knew they had a scale that we could weigh her on,” Land said. Once they confirmed the fish was more than 10 pounds, they headed to Fin & Feather Resort to get the lunker on a certified scale. The chunky bass weighed-in at 10.45 pounds, and was later tagged and released as lunker No. 39 for the 2016-17 Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program. But Land was just getting started. “We motored back to the same area and moved up another 100 yards,” he said. “We saw Jake and Jody in the area and motioned them over to give them the official weight of the fish and other details.” As the boats floated side by side, Land made a cast with the same jig to a point in 10 feet of water. “I hopped the jig twice off the ledge and a fish grabbed it,” he said. “But the bass just suddenly dropped the bait.” The other anglers moved off as Land made another cast to the same area. “She hit it again,” he said. “This fish put on a good fight and swam under the boat toward deeper water.” Once that big fish was lipped aboard, the anglers once again battened down rods and tackle and made another run to Fin & Feather for a certified weight on Land’s second lunker. That fish tipped the scales at 10.24 pounds, and incredibly, became lunker No. 40 for the 2016-17 season.   Since both fish were tagged and released unharmed, Land will receive two free replicas of his lunkers courtesy of the Toledo Bend Lake Association. “What’s so good about this program is everything is so well documented and certified,” Land said. “There’s no hearsay involved. It is such a good program for conserving these big fish.” Article written by Chris Berzas for Louisiana Sportsman