Smith: 'The Bend' builds on its stellar reputation

Longview News Journal

Each year, Bassmaster magazine publishes the top 100 lakes in the country issue. The 2015 winner was our special lake, Toledo Bend.

The magazine uses data collected from readers, online voting, as well as tournament/wildlife agency data organized and put together by a panel of judges.

This year look for a repeat. This may not be the case but the lake itself is actually improved since last year. In spite of the record high water levels, Toledo Bend has produced incredible results for bass anglers.

One glaring statistic is reason enough and that is the bass over 10 pounds brought into the Toledo Bend Association Lunker Program. This program awards anglers catching a 10-pound and over bass with a free replica. The TBLA Lunker Bass Program runs from mid-May of one year to mid-May of the next year.

Annually, the replicas are presented at a major function where all recipients are brought together for an award ceremony. Last year the ceremony was held during the McDonald's Big Bass Splash. For a complete set of rules for entering a fish visit

To put this year's totals in perspective, as of Tuesday, there had been 107 bass over 10 pounds weighed in. Roughly two more months remain in the May-to-May season. Now consider that "only" 79 fish weighing over 10 pounds were recorded in the 2014-2015 season. That is an increase of 28 fish and there is still two months to go. This is incredible to say the least.

At a recent two-day event on the lake, 10 bass weighing a staggering 58-plus pounds took top honors. The even better news is it is still happening, right now.

This is the peak of the spawn and many more double-digit fish are yet to be weighed in. The program was designed to encourage anglers to release their fish to be caught again. It is definitely working as illustrated by the following.

Kyle Fisher of Orange landed lunker No. 104 near Indian Mounds weighing a spectacular 11.04 pounds. Twenty days earlier, Keith Comeaux caught and entered the same fish in Mill Creek. It was tagged and released and at that time and weighed 12.9. An interesting fact, the fish was caught both times on a Zoom Trick Worm.

With the holiday coming up, make plans to get in on the act. The full moon this week should send another wave of spawners to the shallows and improve your chances even more.

Good luck and enjoy this treasure known as "The Bend."