Two bass on one cast

The FishingWire reports Pflugerville, Texas, bass angler Donnie O'Neal set the hook Sunday, April 28, on what he thought would be a bass weighing 13-pound-plus largemouth bass that he could donate to the Texas ShareLunker Program. What he landed weighed more than 19 pounds, but it wasn't a single fish. It was two big fish. O'Neal's double-catch consisted of one bass weighing 7.8 and a second weighing 11.8 pounds. "I let out the biggest holler," he said. "I'd never caught a double-digit bass, and I'd been searching a long, long time for one." He'd told a friend he was just going to fish for giants. He caught a 2.5-pound bass on his first cast, and landed additional bass in the 3- to 4-pound range. About 10:15 a.m. he felt a strike and set the hook, but came up empty. Quickly he casted again to the same spot and let the lure sink to the bottom. He pumped it once and began a slow, steady retrieve. After 8 to 10 turns of the reel handle the rod loaded up and he told his partner to grab the net. "After a few seconds something just didn't seem right," he said. "The fish made surges like a striper, but they were short bursts, and it stayed down." O'Neal kept the rod low and slowly worked the fish up to the surface. "As the fish came up I noticed that it looked like the letter 'L' facing downward, then it became apparent that it was not a striper, and not just one fish, but two bass, and they were huge!" O'Neal is a tournament angler fishing the FLW EverStart Series among other trails, and he has plenty of experience with castable umbrella rigs. He said he's tried more than two-dozen different rigs and brands since the technique hit the mainstream, but now fishes the Flash Mob Jr. exclusively. He took sixth place in the EverStart event on Lake Texoma April 18-20 by fishing the FMJ. O'Neal said he uses the FMJ over other brands because it's the perfect size, with the right size willow leaf blades and wire. The blades create flash and vibration while adding more swimming action to the baits. He likes 3 ½- to 4-inch Money Minnows, Mud Minnows or other soft-plastic swimbaits, and uses shorter baits on the outer arms with a longer one in the center. "The month of April was a true blessing to me, with a 6th Place finish at the FLW and my first double-digit largemouth and a new personal best," he said. "Now to find a taxidermist to get a replica made." He said that since he started fishing the FMJ he's caught doubles four times. Both bass were released healthy back into Lake Austin.

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Fishing Report from TPWD (Jan. 19)

GOOD. Water stained; 55-58 degrees; 3.33 feet low. Fishing remains the same as we head into another cold front. Bass are good on Carolina rigs and crankbaits in the points, ditches and drains. Crappie are good on live minnows, then jigs after the live bite subsides. You will find them in creeks and river channels. Catfish are good in shallow to 15 feet of water, moving towards the creeks. Report by Lynn Atkinson, Reel Um N Guide Service.

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