The following is the recent story of a 13 lb+ catch shared by Alex Finch. Originally penned by Alex, I've made some minor changes to the story for clarity.
I have fished a whopping four days this year. On Sunday morning, March 11th, the weather was nasty. I woke up and went back to sleep. I Finally rolled out of bed around 830, we went outside for a moment and saw massive swells coming down the lake and a steady rain. I told Tony that this was one of those days when it might be best to just go home. He commented that it was, and that people can get hurt in conditions like that. I ended up deciding that I would rather go get my lures tied or re-tied from the previous day so they would be ready for the Mega Bass tournament. While I was sitting in my shed, the wind seemed to calm down for a few minutes, I saw a glimpse of the sun and the rain stopped. I ended up thinking that I might as well go out, since I was already at the lake, my Phoenix has carried me everywhere I've wanted to go, including across Sabine Lake (which can get up pretty good with the slightest wind), and I figured there are always places to launch and get out of the wind to fish. I also found it favorable that there was hardly anyone at the ramps, which is unheard of in the Spring on Lake Fork.
With Mega Bass coming up this weekend, I opted to go look at another area of the lake than what I've fished primarily the last two times I've been out. I drove to a protected ramp and headed out around 10 am. While I was running down the lake, I saw an area and told myself that it looks good and I should make time to hit it at some point during the day. Instead of pulling a Randy Howell, Guntersville Classic move, I kept rolling on to where I planned to fish. I got there and I was plain miserable. The water color was undesirable, I was taking the full blunt of the wind and the area just plain looked terrible to me. I stuck around for a little while and decided that it wasn't for me. So I headed back up the lake.
I thought about going to a bunch of places, which is the downfall of fishing a lake as much as I've fished Fork, but decided to rely on my gut and go back to that place that felt right. I started there with the Thumper and thought a fish plowed it, but I missed it. Not totally sure at this point if that was a bite or not, but it got me prepared for the bite I was about to get. Around noon, the Sharelunker bit. When I set the hook, I felt like I had hooked a good fish, but wasn't sure about the size of the fish. She headed straight out towards open water, and fortunately that put me in a pretty good position to battle her. When she made the first jump, I realized that it indeed was a really good fish, but still didn't know how big. My first instinct was to wear her down and then try to get the net out, since I was fishing solo. She made at least two more jumps, including one in my face beside the boat right before she made a big dive. At that point, I realized she was bigger than the 9 I'd caught the week before and thought there was a chance I might lose her during the dive. But I kept pressure on her and got her back out to the side of the boat. Mind you, the wind is rolling down Lake Fork on this Sunday. That made it a little tougher on me. I decided to go for the net once I got her back out from under the boat but felt upward pressure while I was trying to grab the net and knew another jump was coming. So I decided at that point that the net was not happening. This battle was going to be won in true Man vs. Nature style. I finally wore her down after a few more jumps and got her to keep her head out of the water without jumping. That is when I made my move to grab her. When I secured the Sharelunker, I had to put the rod down to grab her under the belly and get her in the boat.
My first impression was that this fish was simply a different class of bass than the 9.36 I'd weighed the weekend before in BassCashBash. I reached to grab my scale and weighed her. It said 12.89. Being a hand scale, I decided that I'd rather get a second weight. The second weight said 13.00. At that point, I figured I'd accomplished my goal of retaking the BassCashBash lead, but wasn't convinced this was a Sharelunker. I called Tony at the Minnow Bucket and told him that I had a big one and a possible Sharelunker. I really didn't want to ride across the lake any more than I already had, so I put it back on the trailer and drove by land to the Minnow Bucket. The rest is history.
This was a bucket list item for me, as I'm sure it is for many of you. I am finally at peace and fully satisfied with the things I've been able to accomplish as an angler.
A few notes from Josh Alwine:
The final weight on Alex’s fish was 13.06 lbs and she was submitted to the Texas ShareLunker program. The fish arrived at their facility healthy and strong. She will be bred with big males of known giant pedigree. Any resulting offspring will be restocked into public water in Texas to increase the states potential for growing giant bass.
Interestingly the fish was caught on a lure produced by the angler. I have no affiliation with the angler or his company but have ordered several of his chatterbaits for personal use. They are known for a unique “hunting action” during the retrieve and are of top notch quality. They can be found at: http://www.finchnastybaitco.com
Cliff notes version of the catch
Water Color: Murky
Description of the area: Main Lake Flat with deeper water nearby
Lure: 3/8 oz. Finch Nasty Thumper (Gizzard Shad pattern) with a 4" boot-tail style trailer
Line: 17 lb Seaguar Invizx
Rod: Shimano Expride 7'3 MH Glass
Reel: Shimano Curado K, 6.2:1 speed