MANY, La. – You know you’re in the midst of a good fish story when the teller catches a 7-pounder and follows it up with “that wasn’t it, though.”
Saturday, in the second Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine Cowboy Division event of the season, Toledo Bend stick Cody Pitt sacked up 39 pounds, 15 ounces to win $8,107. He also had the big bass of the event, a 13-6, which is now the biggest bass ever weighed in BFL competition. His bag is the biggest ever in FLW and MLF competition on Toledo Bend, and the sixth biggest single-day catch of all time.
Pitt has now won three BFL events on Toledo Bend, and firmly established himself as the man to beat there in the winter. Practicing a week before the tournament, he caught a 10-pounder, two 7-pounders and a 4-pounder in a quick check of the juice. But, things had changed by derby day.
“I checked a bunch of stuff [Friday], we got a bunch of rain the last three days, and the water has been rising a pretty good bit,” Pitt said. “It seemed to scatter the majority of my fish. I had places that had eight or 10 fish, not giant schools, just places with a handful of big ones, and they went down to about two [fish]. I thought I could still get some good bites, but I figured I would have to work for them, which I did, it wasn’t pretty by no means.”
The end result is gorgeous, and Pitt was headed back to the weigh-in an hour early with nearly 40 pounds of largemouth. His magical day didn’t start great, though.
“I fished for the first two hours, and all I had was like a 10-inch Kentucky,” Pitt said. “I left that place, and went and checked another spot, it was probably the deepest I’ve ever caught big ones, and I caught a 6 in about 32 feet.”
From there, Pitt made perfect decisions for the rest of the day.
“The next spot I went to, that’s when I caught the 13, and I think I caught a 6 off that place,” Pitt said. “After I caught the 13 and the 6, I went to another place. Those fish had moved, and I relocated them. My co-angler caught the first one, he caught a 6, and then I caught a 4 and about a 3 3/4. I left that place, and I knew my co-angler needed to fill his limit, so I brought him to a numbers hole, and he filled out his bag.”
With two limits riding in the boat, Pitt decided to pour it on.
“I felt like I should have had enough to win,” he said. “But, some of them guys that LiveScope, Cole (Moore) and Tater (Reynolds), they whooped my butt too much last year. So, I knew I had to get rid of that one 2-pounder.
“So, I went to another place, and my co-angler caught a 7-9 off of it, and then I caught my second biggest, which was I guess a 7. That wasn’t it, though. I had one more little place, I probably shouldn’t even have fished it, I don’t know why I did. I ended up catching a 6 and a 5 ½, and the 6 culled one out, and the 5 ½ didn’t help me. So, I went in after that.”
Fishing offshore, from 12 feet to 32 feet, mostly for small groups of fish, Pitt did his damage with a V&M Pacemaker Football Jig trailered with a V&M J-Bug and two Strike King crankbaits – a 6XD and a 10XD.
Pitt’s 13-pounder fell for the football jig, and it topped his previous personal best by about 2 pounds.
“When I set the hook, I couldn’t move it,” Pitt said. “I said, ‘If this is a bass, it’s ginormous.’ Because that 10 I caught last week was nothing compared to that thing. I couldn’t move it. She couldn’t even come out of the water – she tried to jump, but her front was as high as she got.
“She come up a pretty good ways out there the first time. By the time I got her to the boat, [my co-angler] was sitting there waiting with the net. She come up about 5 or 6 foot before the boat, just under the surface. When I saw her, I thought she was at least 12. Then, she ran back down, and 10 seconds later I got her coming back up – that one deep pull when I got her to the boat was all she did.”
Leroy Dee Sheperd did the honors with the net job, and naturally also earned the win on the Strike King co-angler side.
The end result for Pitt was a record-breaking day on the water and one more reason why he loves Toledo in the wintertime.
“The first [BFL] I won was actually on my birthday, I was like ‘Man, that was a pretty good birthday,’” said Pitt. “This one was pretty special. I love these couple weeks here – we need to talk somebody into a Toyota Series in January or February on Toledo.”
1. Cody Pitt – 39 – 15 (5) – $8,107 (includes $2,500 Phoenix Bonus)
2. Tater Reynolds – 31 – 14 (5) – $2,436
3. Cal Cameron – 23 – 02 (5) – $1,623
4. Michael Powell – 20 – 07 (5) – $1,137
5. Casey Tate – 19 – 13 (5) – $974
6. Raymond Anselmo – 17 – 08 (5) – $893
7. Dylan Smith – 17 – 02 (4) – $812
8. Cole Moore – 16 – 11 (5) – $731
9. Cody Ross – 16 – 05 (5) – $650
10. Joe Beebee – 16 – 01 (5) – $568
1. Keith Combs – 2010 – Falcon Lake – 41-1
2. Rogne Brown – 2013 – Lake Chickamauga – 40-14
3. Casey Martin – 2017 – Lake Guntersville – 40-11
4. Derek Mundy – 2021 – Sam Rayburn – 40-10
5. Anthony Sharp – 2020 – Sam Rayburn – 40-6
6. Cody Pitt – 2023 – Toledo Bend – 39-15
7. Greg Hackney – 2008 – Falcon Lake – 39-11
8. Derek Mundy – 2021 – Sam Rayburn – 39-7
9. Richard Cathey – 2009 – Falcon Lake – 39-1
10. Terry Bolton – 2008 – Falcon Lake – 38-15