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Fishing veteran hits the jackpot at Natchez State Park

NATCHEZ — Darrell Hudson isn’t one to tell his secrets to fishing.

The Kingston resident has been fishing for 35 years, 20 of which have been spent on the lake at Natchez State Park. With so much experience on the waters, it was only a matter of time before he secured the big catch.

That catch came Aug. 7, when Hudson caught a 23-inch, eight-pound bass.

“I’ve never caught anything bigger than that,” Hudson said.

Hudson said he got to the lake at about 5 p.m., like he usually does, and between 6 and 6:30 he felt what he thought was his line catching onto a log.

“I felt a bump, and I thought it was a log, because earlier I felt like it had gone across a log. When my line started to pull out, though, that’s when I reeled him in,” Hudson said.

“He didn’t really fight me. I got him and threw him in the boat. It probably took him eight to nine years to get that big. I think they grow a pound to a pound-and-a-half a year, depending on what they eat.”

Hudson insists that he had no idea the fish was as big as it was when he was reeling him in.

“With bass, it’s harder to tell with the bigger ones, because bass can suck in a gallon of water, and it’s harder to feel the big ones,” Hudson said.

Hudson was first introduced to fishing when he was working in Morgan City 35 years ago.

“I worked at a service station, and my boss, Charles Hebert, went bass fishing. I asked him if I could go to a tournament with him. We started fishing together after that,” Hudson said.

Even though they haven’t seen each other in nearly 30 years, Hudson said he still keeps in touch with Hebert.

“I called him a week ago and told him about the fish I caught,” he said.

And Hebert is not the only one Hudson has told about the big catch — much to the annoyance of his acquaintances.

“Some people get jealous. They’ll all say, ‘You didn’t really catch that.’ If they didn’t catch it, they don’t like it, but if they catch it, you hear all kinds of stories about it,” Hudson said.

One thing Hudson won’t do is tell his fishing buddies what kind of plastic worm he uses.

“I venture a guess that 85 percent of bass are caught with plastic bait. I’ve tried all kinds of different worms over the years, and I’ve found only one that I like,” Hudson said.

Another thing Hudson won’t do is eat bass, despite the enjoyment he gets in catching them.

“They smell, and they taste like they smell, so I just catch and release them,” he said.

But he regrets not making an exception for his big catch.

“I probably should have mounted him on my wall. Next time, I will,” Hudson said.

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