Every fisherman has a great story about the one that got away. Well, longtime Payson resident Terry Wilbanks has a tale about the one that took the bait and fought the good fight before being landed by an excited fisherman.
Catching a big bass is special to those of us who fish Roosevelt Lake, and Terry frequently makes that forty-mile drive in anticipation of catching a lunker largemouth.
Three weeks ago, Terry was fishing and had already landed two four-pound bass and was having a great day catching a number of overs, which are 16-inch-plus fish. He is one of the many anglers who are fishing the lake regularly, hoping for that big bite.
This spring has been dynamite at Roosevelt Lake for bass fishing. The bag limits at all the tournaments have been gradually increasing, which indicates a very healthy lake with an extremely bright future. During this time, Terry has been what fishermen call "in the zone." That is, whenever he is on the water, the expectation is to catch another big fish.
He had been moving around the lake trying various spots that had previously produced good bass.
A tip that I did pick up from Terry was the idea that somewhere on this big lake there are fish biting. Being willing to relocate and change your approach is essential to consistently catching good fish. It was high noon in the back of a cove in 8 to 10 feet of water where Terry was worm fishing with a Carolina rig and the fish bit. He was using McCoy line with a 20-pound leader when he set the hook. Terry knew it was a good fish and was hoping for a 5 or 6 pound bass, and then the fish came to the top. He quickly realized that this was a fish of a lifetime for a bass enthusiast.
As he headed for a scale at the Roosevelt Marina, the excitement of a 10-pound-plus bass was something only a diehard fisherman would understand. This fish will be one of the biggest bass caught on Roosevelt this year at a healthy 13 pounds. After taking some pictures, he released the giant bass to be caught again.