A Valentine’s Day surprise came a little early for Falcon Lake angler Isaac Denson. Feb. 7, he was fishing in about 3 feet of water when he got the bite of a lifetime, one that turned out to be the heaviest bass he’s ever caught – she weighed 13.4 pounds and measured 26.5 inches in length.
Falcon, located on the Texas/Mexico border, is one of the hottest big bass lakes in the nation right now. The water is typically a lot warmer in that region of Texas, and that’s why the bass are spawning there right now.
One reason Falcon is such a prime target for anglers in the hunt for double-digit bass is because it gets very little fishing pressure, as compared to lakes likes Sam Rayburn, Toledo Bend and Conroe. It’s definitely a long haul from Southeast Texas, but well worth the run if you want some guaranteed big bass adventure. To win a bass tournament at Falcon, it often takes a 5 to 6 pound average.
On the Texas side of the lake, all species of fish are managed under current statewide regulations. For recreational anglers fishing Mexican waters, a Mexico fishing license is required for everyone in the boat. Mexico boat permits are no longer required. For information on Mexico’s fishing regulations, visit the National Aquaculture and Fishing Commission (CONAPESCA) website. Lake maps are available from the Zapata Chamber of Commerce and at Falcon State Park.
Mexico licenses can be purchased in Zapata at Robert’s Fish N’ Tackle (2425 S. Highway 83, 956-765-1442) or from Falcon Lake Tackle (2195 S. Highway 83, 956-765-4866.) Several fishing guides work on Falcon. A list is available from the Zapata Chamber of Commerce.
This is the fifth entry of the season into the Toyota ShareLunker program, which only accepts 13-pound plus bass. So far this season, entries have come from Lake Austin, Fork (two entries) and Dunlap.
“The heaviest entry of the season to date is Richard Scibek’s 16.04-pounder caught from Lake Fork on Feb. 2,” said Larry Hodge, with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “The angler who catches the largest entry of the season is named Angler of the Year and receives a prize package from G. Loomis consisting of a G. Loomis GLX854C jig and worm rod, a Shimano Chronarch 200E7 casting reel and a spool of Power Pro super-braid fishing line. If the Angler of the Year is a Texas resident, he or she also receives a lifetime fishing license.”
Here’s how it all works. Anyone legally catching a 13-pound or heavier largemouth bass from Texas waters, public or private, between Oct. 1 and April 30 may submit the fish to the Toyota ShareLunker program by calling the ShareLunker hotline at (903) 681-0550 or paging (888) 784-0600 and leaving a phone number including area code. Fish will be picked up by TPWD personnel within 12 hours.
LU students set for college FLW tourney on T-Bend
FLW College Fishing is headed to Toledo Bend on Feb. 16 for the second of four stops in the Southern Conference. Fifty college teams will be competing for a top award of $2,000 and a berth in the Southern Conference Invitational tournament.
“In my opinion, it is the best tournament lake in the country,” said pro Jim Tutt of Longview. “There are a lot of ways you can catch them, and there are a ton of healthy fish. On Toledo you can fish any type of water that you like to fish. You can go shallow, you can go deep, you can fish wood or you can fish grass.
“It will be a definite pre-spawn tournament,” said Tutt. “Depending on how warm the water gets there might be a few spawners here and there, but the majority of the fish will be pre-spawn. The way the hydrilla is setting up has made reaction-style baits hot. My advice to college anglers would consist of three things: Rat-L-Traps, Rat-L-Traps and Rat-L-Traps.”
Tutt thinks the only thing that could keep this event from being a great tournament would be a strong north wind. Tutt said this can wreak havoc on Toledo Bend by dirtying the waters and making boat control a nightmare for even the most experienced anglers. He estimates the winning team will bring more than 20 pounds to the scales.
Anglers will take off from Paradise Point Park in Hemphill. Weigh-in will be held at the park beginning at 1:30 p.m. Takeoff and weigh-in are free and open to the public.
Representing Lamar University are Justin Ridgaway from Nederland, Josh Bowie and Robert Parks of Port Neches and Brandon Simoneaux from Bridge City.
Robert Sloan can be reached by e-mail at sloan288 [at] aol [dot] com.