Toledo Bend Lake Country table at the opening night dinner of the SEOPA conference. One mount -- the one in the picture above -- is a replica of the lake record largemouth, a 15.33 ounce giant caught in 2000. Looking at a list of the top 100 bass ever entered in the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program, the top 20 on the list all weighed more than 13 pounds.
The Lunker Program, which I just learned about this evening, awards a free replica mount for 10-pound-plus bass caught from the lake and delivered in good condition to one of a handful of official program weigh sites, where fish are weighed and tagged before being returned to the lake. Last year, a record 57 mounts were awarded. Over the years, more than 500 fish have been recognized as Toledo Bend Lunker Bass.
Because the fish are tagged, biologists are able to learn more about the big fish's movements, and sometimes the same fish are caught again. The replicas mounts are all given out in May during the McDonald's Big Bass Splash, a huge annual amateur bass tournament.
Toledo Bend is one of those really legendary fishing destinations that I've yet to visit. Someday!