If you watched Bassmaster Live Thursday, you heard Team Toyota’s Brandon Lester say he just needed one more “hawg head” like the one he had in his livewell.
Lester was richly blessed with a big bite one hour into the brand new 2023 Bassmaster Elite Series season when the toad of an Okeechobee largemouth swam off with his soft stickbait from a small patch of aquatic vegetation known as arrowhead that formed a point on the reed line he was fishing.
“That’s one of the reasons I love fishing in Florida so much. You pick up your lure after a pitch to visible cover and it’s just got that unmistakable one-of-a-kind heavy feeling, and you know it might be a giant!” smiles Lester.
By Okeechobee standards the 6-pound 14-ounce fish fell short of King Kong status, but is still far bigger than most bass anglers will ever catch in their lifetime. And worth noting, Lester is 90% sure the big gal was hovering over a spawning bed when she bit.
Ironically, eight years ago on the St. Johns River, on the very first morning of the 2015 Elite Series season, Lester also started the day with a giant. It was a 9-pound 4 ounce largemouth that was only nine ounces smaller than the biggest bass he’s ever caught in his life.
Doesn’t like that sawing noise
Lester let 40-pound Vicious braided line do most of the heavy work Thursday, but he ties a 20-pound fluorocarbon leader to the business end because he doesn’t like the way braided line makes what he describes as a “sawing noise” against the vegetation.
What makes pros different
Ninety percent of all bass anglers would rush right back to where the big one bit to start the next tournament day, but not Lester. He’s pulling a pro move. He says he’ll begin Friday elsewhere and give the fish in that special area a little more time to migrate in as the sun gets warmer in the afternoon.
Can he finally catch a double digit?
Today’s beast was a one any bass angler would treasure catching, but Lester is still after a 10-pounder. The biggest bass of his life was actually a Tennessee giant that bit a jerkbait in a 30-acre lake he grew up fishing. It weighed 9 pounds 13 ounces.
So maybe this week will finally allow him to catch that magical 10-pounder, but if not, “Ol Hawg Head” provided a pretty special start to the 2023 season.
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