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Amaze Yourself & Try Some of These Lakes For Trophy Bass Fishing In Texas
If you want to catch trophy Bass here in Texas, listen up. Do you remember the thrill of your first cast?
Standing there, arm and rod extended, your lure sailing out across the water. Then with a "kerplunk" it splashes into the water? There's nothing better.
That is except maybe for the slight jerk on the line signaling a strike and suddenly, WHAM!
Up and out of the water that bass leaps, doing it's level best to throw the lure. Bass fishing is a way of life in Texas and many an angler has that perfect spot picked out.
Spawning season means schooling Bass piling up in the rivers and creeks. Actually, in any body of water feeding a reservoir. As a schooling fish, they travel in abundance, rest in the lee of sandbars and wait for the perfect water temperature to begin spawning.
Remember, the waters to find Texas Bass at this time of year will be under 6' deep.
There he stands, draped in more equipment than a telephone lineman, trying to outwit an organism with a brain no bigger than a breadcrumb, and getting licked in the process. ~Paul O'Neil, 1965
Texas Bass Fishing Corner - A few of my favorites lures
A CampingmanNW Tip: If purchasing from Amazon, consolidate your orders to obtain the free shipping. It's NOT about being cheap, it's about shopping smart.
The frog has been around for years and is fool proof. Twitch it across Lilly Pads and through vegetation. Those legs kicking with each retrieve will draw out the big boy looking for a quick meal.
Evaluation: It's snagproof. Man 'O man, is this tough for a bass to pass up. I keep one in my kit, always.
Great for shallow or murky waters
Remember when I said that 'curly and wiggly' would get the bass' attention? Well guess what. The Bass assassin is just that lure.
Evaluation: This little rig will catch even the uninterested Bass, it's deadly on a jig head
Texas Bass Fishing
Using the Carolina Rig
The Carolina Rig
Presentation----that's one of the least talked about factors in any type of fishing, not just Bass fishing. Everyone talks lures, cover, retrieve, etc. But, presentation, keep it subtle but noticeable if you expect to catch trophy Bass.
The Carolina Rig allows coverage of a large area of water--quickly. It is the best for fishing anything from submerged trees right down to flat, sandy bottom channels. It just doesn't matter.
Leader length is hotly debated when using a Carolina rig. My two rules of thumb are as follows: First: In dirty water, I use a noisy lure and a short leader. Why? So the bass can find the bait after they zero in on the noise. NOTE: Using a large lure or bait, means a shorter leader allowing more control. Used with fluorocarbon line? It's a deadly combo. Second: If the fish aren't biting due to weather or whatever, then I use a longer leader and a visible, scented plastic so that the Bass can find it easier. Two, three, even four feet are the norm and it almost always works.
Add a weed guard hook. Often times, attempting to just bury the hook point in the plastics itself, is insufficient. Don't believe that? Ask anyone who has snagged and lost just such a set up, because while pulling on our lure to release it, we actually pull the hook through the plastic so that it is exposed and it again snags and is lost.
Use a weed guard on your hook and you can now drag it along the bottom or in those vegetation covered areas where those big fish hide but you can still 'set' the hook..
Plastics, scented or unscented?
Choosing a plastic is easy. Make sure that is not only visible, but if possible, scented or one that you can add or inject a scent stick. Why? The color allows the Bass to 'See' the bait and the scent or scent stick, allows the Bass to 'Smell' the bait.
Always carry a couple of Carolina rigs already made up and you'll be ready for most any conditions. Top water fishing, Deep Water fishing, Jigging, or even around vegetation and in those weedy bottom areas,
I chose watermelon or pumpkin seed for color
Here's my favorite color and favorite plastic. Zoom's "Ol Monster Bait Pack" You get nine of these and they work.
Evaluation: If you want a setup that works on either a Carolina or Texas rig? Buy this in watermelon seed or pumpkin color..
A very popular and plentiful fish
Texas White Bass fishing:
This time of the year they gather in large schools in the rivers and creeks leading to reservoirs. They move in large schools only by instinct no other reason. It's spawning season and they get a bit frenzied as they move down rivers and creeks. Their own internal clocks to tell them when to move.
Their internal clocks are tied to the water temperature. Meaning early March they will begin to spawn but will continue into April as they head off to the reservoirs. A time frame which can be quite hectic. It is at this time, when these beautiful fish are moving in such large concentrations and are so plentiful, people seem to be catching White Bass on each cast.
Three Popular Rivers:
First, a 20 mile stretch of the Sabine River (located in East Texas near the Louisiana Border) You want to be above where it feeds into the Toledo Reservoir.
Second, is about an hour and a half north of Houston on.the Trinity River (above Lake Livingston in the feeder creeks and rivers between the Lake and the Lock Dam at the Highway 7 crossing). Tons of fish pile up here and it offers some great fishing.
Third: in Central Texas, the Pedernales, the San Gabriel, the Colorado and the Guadalupe rivers start their runs a few weeks later. But, this run stays strong through most if not all of April giving you a chance to fish for White Bass for just about two months
Best sinking and invisible line I have found
It seems to be a bit thinner than some of the other fluorocarbon's on the market, but man is it ever sensitive. If you are used to monofilament line, this will blow your socks off. You feel every twitch and nibble.
Evaluation: You have to buy and try this for yourself. Casting is a dream and a slow, slow retrieve is terrific for maintaining sensitivity.
Best Lakes to fish
White Bass are easily, the most sought after Bass species in Texas . As the water temps rise to the 60's or so, they begin to head to the shallows to build their nests so they can spawn. What does that means to you and I? It means that is the best place to find them in, water under 6 feet deep. In this state and this condition, they will be hungry and will strike at most anything. Once that time is over? It is fishing skills----to the forefront
Once there, where to fish:
I generally look for an overhang or maybe an old tree with some debris near the shoreline. The females will be really fat and they will be aggressive to boot. In fact, there are more 8 pound + bass caught in March and April than at any other time of year.
Which lakes and Reservoirs are BEST?
( 1 ) Fork Lake: (about an hour and a half east of Dallas) has been the most productive big bass lake in Texas in the last 20 years.
( 2 ) Austin Lake: for example, (and it's not much more than a fat channel of the Colorado River) has produced some whopper's in excess of 12 pounds for the last four years running That's not to rule out
( 3 ) Sam Rayburn: or Toledo Bend reservoirs: though, as they are the oldest reservoirs and still hold many wise old trophy fish.
My money though through April and even into May? Lake Fork and Austin Lake
Shallow, murky waters bait
SpadeTails will trigger a strike when other soft baits won't. The color and the tail vibration trigger that aggressive strike you you are looking for.
Evaluation: Who can pass up a good plastic worm? The best part? They combine two of my favorite colors, watermelon and pumpkin...and they work
Largemouth Bass Fishing
Using The Texas Rig
It's really a very simple rig. A hook, a sliding sinker (the lighter the better) and a length of leader.
The lightweight sliding sinker means the bait falls slower and looks more natural. You can add stuff such as a glass bead or noise maker of some kind, but there are days when fish just don't want the noise.
Most information talks about monofilament line, but I like to use a good fluorocarbon line 10 or 12 lb test line (or even as high as 17 lb ), I like the fluorocarbon line better, as it is invisible, it's stronger than monfilament line and sinks better. It's also far more sensitive allowing me to feel a strike or nibble much easier.
In the pictures, insert the hook in the head of the plastic worm and push all of the way through, which allows the entire shank of the hook to be buried within the plastic bait. Now, bending the plastic bait ever so lightly towards myself, I insert the hook through the plastic, burying the tip inside. NOTE: The plastic must hang straight because if it doesn't, it will twist the line. Now, attach the hook to the leader. For me? I always use a small plastic bead between the weight and the hook, so the weight doesn't slam the bait every time I cast or retrieve. Just insurance is all.
Leader length is not as dependent with the Texas rig. Casting too far, creates a lack of sensitivity of the bait plus the line is not as visible. Keep it close and keep an eye on the line. A leader of 18" to 24" is usually sufficient.
Fishing the Texas Rig:
Using short casts with Fluorocarbon line will help the plastic sink faster, which is the idea. Bass will almost always hit the lure on it's way down. If not, and you feel it hit the bottom, wait for the count of two or three and then lift yout rod tip to lift the bait off the bottom. Let it settle back to the bottom.and THEN----take a couple turns on your reel to take up the slack. NOT while the bait is falling, only after it has hit bottom. Patience in pulling it off the bottom and letting it re-fall is the key.
If using monofilament line, keep a finger on the line for nibbles. If it feels like a nibble, it's time to set the hook and set it hard. NOTE: When a bass takes a plastic, it usually will ball up in the fishes mouth, so setting the hook means penetrating the plastic so that the hook buries in the fishes mouth. When I feel the nibble or see my line moving, I tip my rod down to about the 9 'O clock position and reel as I yank hard in an upwards motion with my rod tip.
Lure colors (Part 1)
There's too much debate, really. If the Bass are biting, pick something you like and stick with it. I use watermelon or pumpkin colors for clear water with some wiggly parts to attract the fish.
What to do if the Bass are in shallow water
If the Bass are laying up in those shallows with lots of wood cover? In those conditions, I like to start with a smaller bait, like a stick worm or any kind of flipping type bait. Then, if I'm not drawing a strike? I switch to Buzzbaits to draw the Bass out.
Lure colors (Part 2)
In those conditions I try a red or black shad and size doesn't matter, but noise does, so that the fish can find the lure. I've found that I can fish pretty much all water conditions with those colors. I just carry a variety of sizes, because as I said, size and shape have an effect on bites.
That's it really, nothing too super special to know if you follow the simple basics
The Southern Scumfrog has a really natural swimming action that even the toughest old White Bass will find impossible to resist.
Evaluation: It has double hooks and a solid brass weight. Fish this in murky conditions. Slow or medium retrieve w/slight rod tip movements
Fishing With Spinner Baits
How to use them:
It's a simple tactic to learn. Cast the spinnerbait out with a medium cast and let it sink for a second or two. then use a slow but steady retrieve, bringing it back to the boat. For the best effectiveness, the spinnerbait should retrieve just below the water's surface, somewhere, between 1 and 4 feet deep. The blades should constantly be turning throughout the entire retrieve using this method.
Fishing in shallow water:
Fluttering of the spinnerbait is another tactic if the bass are inactive or if the water has visible structure areas in shallow water. Fluttering the bait (or dead dropping as it's also known) just means stopping the retrieve and allowing the spinnerbait to "flutter" or spiral down as the line begins to slack. Believe it or not, this simple change of direction can many times trick a following fish to strike.
Deep water fishing:
When fishing deep water, the best tactic is the slow rolling method. Cast the spinnerbait out, on a medium cast and let it sink on a slack line to the bottom. Once it hits bottom, start a slow yet steady retrieve just off bottom. Generally, that's all it takes. To be effective, the spinnerbait should be moving at all times once off the bottom and bumping stuff on the bottom occasionally.
That's it. If you try these simple techniques the next time you throw out a spinner bait? I guarantee one of them will work.
Texas Bass Fishing Corner - Buzz baits and Spinner baits
Strike King is a favorite of mine. I love the action and have always had good luck with black lures, spotted or skirted.
Evaluation: If nothing else is working, the Strike King will usually entice that strike
Rods and Reels To Use
For Texas Bass Fishing
What about rods and reels, does it really make a difference what we use? In a word? Yes.
By the way, has this sight (the picture to the right) ever greeted anyone when looking for a new rod or reel? All I will say is this:
With the dizzying array of rods to choose from, from freshwater to saltwater choices, I would say, start with a good graphite rod somewhere between 6 1/2 to a 7 foot long. You want it to have fast action but be medium power for those heavier bass. This rod will work for lake or bay and I will list a few below.
Technology has improved so much over the years, that it has even trickled down to the inexpensive rods. There are good quality in all price ranges today, where 10 years ago or even 5 years ago, that wasn't always the case.
This reel seems to be the most popular here in Texas. Low profile has long since replaced the traditional 'round' reels we all grew up with. With their ease of use, baitcasting reels can switch back and forth from freshwater to saltwater with ease. They have a low profile, which will make your thumbs less tired at the end of a long day of casting. it's a pretty crowded field, so I will highlight a couple that I feel are above average down below.
These reels are slowly making their way into the hands of Texas Fishermen and women. Even though the spinning reel has been around longer than the new modern baitcaster? It remains less popular but is gaining ground. Spin casting is easy with these reels and they are (for me) much easier to untangle when the unfortunate happens, like a fish breaking your line as you are reeling and you have then have a huge snarl.
Rods and Reels today are far better today, than the one's our parent's taught us to use.
The Best Place In Texas For Trophy Bass:
I trust you found something in here today to enhance your pursuit of Bass fishing. I am an avid reader and talk to most anyone when fishing in order to be more successful and just like to pass along what I learn
Hands down? Lake Austin holds that title. I don't know how many people I have talked to that were unaware that a great place for trophy size Largemouth Bass was right there the whole time. Lake Austin is, and remains the number one Trophy Largemouth Bass Lake in Texas.
Record size fish are caught every year by ordinary fishermen and women just like you and I
The timing of the seasons for the different parts of the state allows you two full months to catch a lot of Bass, but four solid months of Bass fishing (January through April) where you are able to catch tons). Bass fishing remains good the year round though, it's just the months of March and April that allow the largest catch quantities.
Thanks for reading, stay safe and I'll see you on the trail--CampingmanNW