Zak Jumper participated in a charity bass tournament at Chewalla Lake located in the Holly Springs National Forest on July 16. Jumper had a friend who’d lost a family member, so anglers got together and held a benefit tournament for the family to help with funeral expenses. As a testament to the bass angler’s sportsmanship and charity, 1st through 3rd place winners donated their winnings back to the family. There were only three places awarded prize money with the big fish pot given to the angler who caught the big fish and entered that competition.
“I’ve only fished the lake a few times and had caught numbers of smaller fish, but it was really hot this day and we were not doing too good,” Jumper said. “My 8-years-old son Maverick was fishing with me and that was really special.”
Ironically, Jumper, from Etta, had never caught a really big lunker bass at the lake. But before this tournament was over at 10:30, he had caught the largest bass of the tournament, a massive 10.64-pound bass. This bass was also the largest of his fishing career.
The lake is only 260 acres and is small for a tournament, but it was not too small for several anglers to catch lunker bass that day. At least one other angler caught an 8-pound bass.
“As we headed towards the ramp, I cast out a crankbait as we slowly trolled in that direction,” Jumper said. “Then the rod suddenly bent double and I thought I’d hung a stump, or tree, but then it started moving. I thought it was about a 20-pound catfish because I’ve caught some big catfish before.”
A big surprise
The bass actually turned the flat bottom boat around and started towing it too.
“I finally got him close enough to see and realized that it wasn’t a catfish but a monster bass,” Jumper said. “I was using a lime green and blue and white deep diving crankbait and bouncing it along the bottom when he nailed it.”
As the fish got closer, he could see that the crankbait had one treble hook in the mouth and the other on the side of his mouth, so he was pretty confident about landing him, but things were touch and go.
The bass fought wildly thrashing side to side trying to throw the lure and then dove toward the bottom like a tiny torpedo. This went on for quite a while since Jumper didn’t have a net in the boat, so he had to wear him down before he could land him.
As it turned out Jumper did land the bass and caught the biggest bass of the day by almost three pounds! Jumper said that he prefers fishing for crappie and catfish, but it’s clearly evident that he knows a few things about catching lunker bass too.
“I’m a crappie fisherman at heart, but love fishing for anything that will bite,” Jumper said. “I like to use smaller line to get more bites and I caught this bass on a Lew’s Mach II Speed Stick combo with 15-pound red Cajun line.”
Since this was the lunker of his lifetime Jumper decided to have the fish mounted and he’s anxiously awaiting the call from his taxidermist. There’s nothing much better than helping a friend in need, and in the process Jumper made a lifetime memory with his son. It just doesn’t get much better than that!