Bussey Brake has been one of Louisiana’s top-producing bass lakes for years, but the action there has been especially hot this winter, with anglers breaking the lake record twice in February. Todd Herrington of Bastrop caught a 13.58-pound largemouth on Feb. 13, but his record wouldn’t stand for long. It was broken on Feb. 26 by Arkansan Robert Rush, whose 15.36-pound bucketmouth ranks as one of the top 10 biggest bass ever recorded in the state, according to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
Rush was able to release the bass into Bussey Brake after it was weighed and measured. And since he lives only 21 miles away from the 2,200-acre reservoir, he’ll likely be back to try to beat his own record as the big females get into spawning mode.
“I went to church that Sunday morning, and decided it was a good day to go to Bussey Brake for big pre-spawn bass,” Rush tells Outdoor Life. “I called my buddy Mark Beasley to go with me, but he couldn’t make it. So, I loaded up my boat and headed there alone.”
Rush launched his 18.5-foot Javelin bass boat around midday, and he caught some smaller bass that afternoon. Around 4 p.m. he had a solid hit on a large, weedless-rigged, dark-colored tube jig, but he missed the fish. He kept fishing and caught a two-pounder, followed by a five-pounder.
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“That’s when I thought I better turn back and try for the fish that hit, but I didn’t hook,” says Rush, a longtime bass angler who fishes the occasional local tournament. “I got back to the area where I missed the fish, made a cast, and she jumped all over that same lure.”
Then the fish went “bonzo”, according to Rush, making a few powerful runs and peeling line off his Abu Garcia 5500C baitcaster. At first he didn’t know how big the bass was, but when it jumped twice and cleared the water, he knew it had to weigh well over 10 pounds.
Rush didn’t have a net. So, after a two-minute fight that seemed to take a lot longer, he drew the fish close to his boat, carefully lipped the lunker, and put it in his boat’s live well.
“I went back to fishing for about 10 minutes, but the more I thought about that big fish, I figured I better get it weighed,” says Rush.
He called an LDWF game warden and explained what he’d just caught. The warden told Rush there was a storage shed on shore near the boat ramp of the public lake, and inside the shed there was a certified weigh scale he could use to document the fish.
“[The warden] gave me the combination to the lock to get inside the shed, like they’ve done with other fishermen who catch big ones on Bussey Brake,” Rush explained. “I got back to the boat ramp and Randy Bentz was there, and he asked how I’d done fishing. I told him I had a good bass in the boat live well, and he helped me get into the shed, weigh the bass, and [take] some photos.”
Louisiana’s Top 10 List
The bass officially weighed 15.36-pounds, with a 26-inch length and 22-inch girth. With the fish weighed and measured, Rush released it into Bussey Brake. The paperwork for his lake record catch has been registered with LDWF, and the agency says Rush’s bass ranks as the eighth biggest bass ever recorded in the state.
Looking at Louisiana’s Top 10 list, all the biggest bass in state history are within a fraction of a pound of each other. The state-record largemouth, caught in 1994 from Caney Lake, weighed 15.97 pounds, which is just over a half-pound heavier than Rush’s fish.