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Photo © Tosh Brown

NICE CATCH

Warm Water Bonanza

Catch lots of bass or head to the coast for tarpon.

by Randy Brudnicki with Art Morris and Dan Bennett


Texas has so many trophy bass lakes that other lakes with good populations of bass may be overlooked. For the most part, Lake Travis is a numbers game, but an occasional big bass keeps things interesting. The farther up the lake you go, the more likely you’ll encounter Guadalupe bass — use a small plastic worm or grub to catch these or largemouth. It’s possible to attain 100-fish days if you use small baits. A lot of fish are caught with big, flashy spoons too. Main lake points are better for largemouth now.

With the lake level being near capacity all winter, the fish resided in shallow brush. As the water level begins to drop during summer, they’ll pull out to deeper structure and brush. Using top-water lures early and late and fishing deep midday (25-40 feet) are the norm. It’s a good place to develop different techniques. Practice fishing deep with Carolina rigs, Texas rigs, drop-shot rigs or deep-diving crankbaits to get a feel for how to present the lures and be sufficiently rewarded. The fish are active in warm water, but so are the water sports enthusiasts. Memorial Day is when heavy pleasure-boat traffic increases. The extra wave action makes it more difficult to present your lure or maintain balance when fishing. Fish early or late afternoon into evening to avoid some of the crowds. RB

Photo © Lefty Ray Chapa

SOUTH COAST
TARPON

Kick off the summer surf-fishing season with a shot at tarpon at the Brazos Santiago Pass or in the surf at South Padre Island. Tarpon spend the winter in Mexican waters, then migrate up the Texas coast each summer to feast on the abundant prey species found in the nearshore Texas Gulf. The waters of South Padre Island just happen to offer the first all-you-can-eat buffet on the list. AM

Photo © Tosh Brown

HUBBARD CREEK
CRAPPIE

Hubbard Creek in West Texas is an awesome crappie fishery. As the water warms in late April into May, the fishing really picks up. The lake has excellent habitat that crappie favor such as timber, brush and boat docks. One of the most common techniques is vertical presentation of minnows and marabou or plastic jigs 10-15 feet deep. When fishing the docks, skip small plastic jigs way under the docks. RB

Photo © Shannon Drawe Photography

RAY ROBERTS
LARGEMOUTH BASS

With the drought/flood cycle of the last decade, Ray Roberts can be tough to pattern when it comes to largemouth bass. However, there are certainly still many big fish to be found. One of the most consistent times to pursue big bass at “Ray Bob” may be the post-spawn period. This time of year, bass will move just offshore in 4 to 7 feet of water and bury themselves in the dense brush that has grown up during low-water periods. It may be tough to get a lure deep into these flooded shrubs, but working the area over well with jigs or soft plastics is sure to pay dividends. DB

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