During February and March, thousands of anglers across the Lone Star State will be looking to latch onto the largemouth bass of a lifetime. The three most important questions center on where to go, when to fish and with what lures. I’ve got some answers for you.
First of all, let’s start with the top big-bass producing lake in Texas. Without a doubt it is Lake Fork. This East Texas lake has produced 250 bass weighing 13-plus pounds. It has also produced the state record bass at 18.18 pounds. That monster was caught Jan. 24, 1992, by Barry St. Clair. He was fishing a live minnow for crappie when he got the bite of lifetime.
The top five ShareLunker producing lakes are Fork (250), Alan Henry (25), O.H. Ivie (25), Sam Rayburn (23) and Falcon (19). It should be noted that 21 private lakes have produced ShareLunker entries.
For East Texas anglers, your best bet at catching a ShareLunker entry will be on either Fork or Rayburn. If I had to pick between the two, it’s a no-brainer – Fork.
What’s the best big-bass bait out there? That’s easy – how about a live minnow? After all, that’s what the state record was caught on. But for sheer numbers of big bass, the best lures out there are jigs and soft plastics. The main thing is to be fishing on a lake that is known to produce trophy class bass. The next thing is to fish a lure where the big bass roam. During March and April on most lakes, that will be shallow, where bass will be spawning. The easiest way to catch a big bass is by sight casting to them in clear water. This tactic is simple – find some clear water and look for bass on the beds. A great lake for this is Fork. During March, it’s tough to find a parking place at all the boat ramps on Fork. It’s even tough to find a place to fish. And if you do plan on fishing Fork during March and April, you might want to make reservations for overnight accommodations right now.
If I had to pick one lure for catching big bass, it would be a jig with a plastic crawfish trailer. Bass are suckers for crawfish imitation lures. The Stanley Jig is one of the most popular jigs ever made, and it’s caught more big bass than you can shake a stick at. Jigs can be used to catch bass all day, every day. That’s especially true on Rayburn and Toledo Bend. One of the best tactics on Toledo Bend is to ease along a creek channel or a shoreline and pitch jigs to flooded timber, logs and brush.
Another big time, big-bass catching lure is a big plastic worm. That’s what Richard Flores of Seguin used to a catch 15.09 pounder on Choke Canyon back in February 2010. He caught that huge bass on a 10-inch plastic worm while fishing in 12 feet of water.
Then again, there’s the lizard factor. Bass hate lizards. Why? Until somebody is transformed from a bass to a human, we’ll really never know. But it’s got to have something to do with creepy critters crawling along bottom and eating the eggs out of a spawning bed. Like jigs, lizards have caught big time numbers of big bass. A classic example is the 14.44 pounder caught on Falcon by Bryan Aubin of Zapata. That’s the lake record, and she ate a watermelon/red colored lizard fished in 6 feet of water.
The bottom line is this – you won’t catch ‘em unless you’re on the right water at the right time and fishing the right lure.
Robert Sloan can be reached by e-mail at sloan288 [at] aol [dot] com.