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Park Pick: The One That Got Away

Fishing is the biggest lure at Purtis Creek State Park.

By Trey Goodman

Having not fished in years, I felt self-conscious. With an insufficient tackle box, a worn-out Zebco and no boat, I enviously eyed the others having fun out on the water while I nonchalantly leaned on a fishing pier at Purtis Creek State Park.

Suddenly the biggest largemouth bass I’d ever seen hit my lure. Mesmerized as the fishing line peeled out of my reel faster than I could reel it back in, I forgot traffic problems, bills to pay and even politics. It was man against fish.

Purtis Creek State Park, in East Texas between Dallas and Tyler, provides gifts like these for those who enjoy a morning’s tranquil nature stroll along the park’s 6.3 miles of hiking/biking trails or a serene all-night fishing experience from a primitive campsite at water’s edge. At dusk, catch the sounds of kids’ giggling as they savor s’mores around a campfire.

The largemouth bass in the park’s 355-acre “no wake” lake are catch-and-release, but the crappie, catfish and sand bass are ready for the dinner table. Designed as a fishing lake, the water is calm and inviting, ideal for kayaks, canoes and bass boats.

Purtis Creek

Camp at one of the 59 water-and-electric sites or trek to one of the 13 primitive sites close to the lake and perhaps catch a glimpse of a white-tailed deer and her spotted fawn darting across the trail. Day-trippers can enjoy a shaded picnic area with restrooms, grills and tables, plus a safe area to swim or experiment with stand-up paddleboarding.

My fish story didn’t turn out as promising as it started — the big bass threw my lure. So, here’s my challenge to you all: That bass is still out there waiting for you at Purtis Creek State Park.

Purtis Creek State Park is located on FM 316 about 4 miles north of Eustace. For information, call (903) 425-2332 or visit www.tpwd.texas.gov/purtiscreek.

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