Wives' tails

My wife, Kerry, with her 10.55 Amistad lunker. Bigger than any I've ever caught and a $10,000 fish if I'd have boated it during the tournament … ouch! 

Some days in this line of work, the fish just take a dump on you. Anyone who has fished enough tournaments knows exactly what I am talking about. Just when you think you have a little something figured out — wham! They go and change the questions.

Here I am on what is considered the best bass fishing lake in the country, just dying to catch a 6 or 7 pounder. I know each of the first two days of competition that one fish in the 6- to 8-pound class will be the difference between making a check or going to Rayburn on an empty stomach.

I never caught a big number of 4- to 5-pound fish in practice, but I could catch a ton of threes and did catch several in the 6- to 8-pound class. I didn't start the derby with the mindset to try and win it because I never felt that I was fishing for the correct fish to win. Defeated from the gun? Maybe.

After missing the Top 50 cut on Friday, I spent Saturday morning with my wife, Kerry, catching up on email and packing some things up to move on to Jasper. We decide to head out to the lake and look around a few hours before the weigh-in. Might be nice to jerk on a few more Amistad bass before we move on down the road.

We drop the 'Cat in the water and putt around the corner to a small cove to try and stay out of any competitor's way. Last thing I want to do is pull up on someone's spot they have been working for the previous two days.

We start down the cove, throwing Bass Pro Stik- O's, and we catch a few small bass. Kerry finds one around 3 pounds that is roaming around a bed and it grabs her Stik-O. Moving out onto a small flat, I spot a pair on a bed in about 12 feet of water. "That looks like a 6-7 pounder", I tell Kerry. "Drop this tube down there and see what she does."

Kerry drops the Tender Tube over a bush and right into the bed. After a few minutes, the male grabs it and swims off. She jerks on him and up comes a nice 2.5 pounder. I drop him in the livewell for a brief rest and I start thinking "If he is 2.5 pounds, how big is …"

After a few minutes, the female moves up onto the bed. Kerry drops the tube over the bush again and right into the bed. Several drops and some agitation gets the female pissed and she picks up the tube to move it from her domain. That's when all hell breaks loose.

I thought the fish was going to take my wife right off the front deck of the Puma. As the bass shot up to the surface, I quickly realized that this was no 6 pounder. More like 9. Maybe 10. As it shot into the next bush, maybe 11. It looks like a whale as it tries to pull my wife down into the bush with it. Ohmygoditsamonster!

I do get credit for a little assist with some rod leverage and a fine lipping job as I heaved a monster over the side of the boat. My Cul M Rite scale read 10.55 pounds. Biggest bass I have ever had my hands on. A few pics, some quick measurements of length and girth, and we drop the pair back on top of the bed. After a few minutes, we see the male back on guard.

I am thrilled to death for my wife that she caught such a huge fish. She has always wanted to catch a really big bass and now she has done that, topping my biggest (10.22) in the process. However happy I am, I realize that had I caught that fish or one even a few pounds lighter on either of the two previous days, I would have been fishing on Saturday and getting at least a $10,000 check. Ouch!

But I would not have been fishing with my wife on a gorgeous day on beautiful Lake Amistad with ten pounders swimming at our feet. What more could a guy ask for?