Texas is a land known for big hats, big eats and, when the Cowboy Division of the FLW Bass Fishing League hosts an event, big bass. Ever since the schedule was set for the 2016 Cowboy Division to rotate back and forth between two of the hottest lakes Texas has to offer – Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn – fans and fishermen have been waiting in anticipation for a true Texas stud to show itself at a BFL weigh-in. Well, last Saturday at Rayburn, one did, and the veteran BFL angler who caught it says it gave him the fight of a lifetime.
Dicky Newberry of Houston, Texas, has been competing in BLFs for years, and going into Saturday’s Cowboy Division event on Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Power-Pole, he already had double-digit wins with FLW on his record. After eight hours of tournament fishing, Newberry arrived to weigh-in with a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 6 ounces, which eventually tied him for top honors with Nick Lebrun of Bossier City, La.
Tying for the win was great, but that wasn’t the only highlight of Newberry’s day. He’s still celebrating the 11-pound, 6-ounce bass that served as a solid anchor and made the win possible. Despite his years of experience in the big-bass stronghold of Texas, Newberry says his recent trophy bass catch is his new personal best. And while you might think that a veteran pro such as he would have landed it with grace and style, Newberry says that definitely wasn’t the case.
Newberry caught an early limit Carolina rigging clay points for postspawn bass. Then he packed up and headed to the bushes to flip and pitch a hematoma-colored Reactions Innovations Sweet Beaver. He made a few rounds on some prime spots and had a few good bites that would benefit his bag. Then, at approximately 1 p.m., a thump in the line followed by a hard hookset began a series of events that Newberry will never forget.
“It ran and then was almost immediately hung up in the bushes when I stuck it,” Newberry recalls. “She went right down in the middle of the all bushes, and I couldn’t get her turned. I thought that it was a catfish to be honest, so I just kind of held on to keep her from going too far down into the bushes and then got right on top of her.”
The fish buried up quickly, and Newberry didn’t feel it pulling anymore, so he figured the opportunity was lost.
“I thought that she had pulled off, and we fooled around there for a little bit. I thought once to break the line and decided not to,” the 62-year-old angler says. “So instead I worked my rod tip down through the bushes and got down to where I could feel my weight. I pushed the hook out of the limb – then she took off.”
Round two of the fight was on, and with only a few inches of 65-pound-test braid between the rod tip and the fish, Newberry was at the mercy of the bass.
“Luckily, she swam out toward open water, and I was able to get my thumb on the release and let 8 to 10 feet of line out,” he says. “And then I saw her, and I realized it was a bass – a really big bass.”
Back in control, Newberry quickly steered the fish into the net in the hands of co-angler Mike Gebhart. As grateful as he was to land such a beast, Newberry reports that the fish was totally spawned out and could have weighed more than 13 pounds if it still was holding eggs.
With only a little over an hour left until weigh-in and an hour run ahead of them, the two anglers threw into the bushes a few more times and then packed up and headed in. Newberry says the big kicker provided him with a little sweet revenge.
“I’ve been beat many times by somebody with a 10-pounder, and it is about time that I turned the cards on them,” he says.