Double-digit bass goes for Texas-rigged lizard

David Perciful caught Toyota ShareLunker 563 while fishing on Lake Conroe.

David Perciful recently caught Toyota ShareLunker 563 while fishing a night tournament on Lake Conroe.

The fish weighed 13.14 pounds and was caught in 6 feet of water on an 8-inch Texas-rigged lizard. The bass was 27.5 inches long and 20.25 inches in girth.

Perciful’s fish is entry No. 6 for the current ShareLunker season and the 17th entry from Lake Conroe.

Conroe ranks fourth in the number of entries into the ShareLunker program. Lake Fork ranks first with 257. Tied for second are Lakes Alan Henry, O. H. Ivie and Sam Rayburn with 25 each. Lakes Austin and Falcon are tied for third with 20 entries each.

ShareLunker catches can be reported 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the season, by calling (903) 681-0550. The season ends April 30. If poor cellphone service prevents use of the voice number, anglers can leave a phone number (including area code) at (888) 784-0600. That number is also monitored 24/7 during the season.


Sabine Lake bite continues to improve on reds, trout

Sabine Lake is still pretty much fresh but is looking better every day. Something you might want to check out is the lower lake reef and the jetties. With all the fresh water, many of the trout and reds on Sabine have been pushed to the lower end of the lake. But while fishing the jetties a few days ago, we found lots of jacks mixed in with some solid trout while fishing an outgoing tide.

The water temperature at Sabine Pass and the jetties was holding at 72 degrees early this week, and should move up a couple degrees by the weekend.

I’ve seen a few boats on the lower lake reef, and most are catching at least a few trout and reds. The drill is to tie on a soft plastic jig and bump them along bottom on a slow drift. The best bite has been on swim baits, with 3-1/2 inch Yum Money Minnow, on a 1/4-ounce jig head being a good choice. Top colors are chartreuse/pearl, herring and clown.

Outgoing tides have been good for reds, trout and lots of jack crevalle at the jetties. The Yum Money Minnows are good along the rocks when rigged on 1/4-ounce chartreuse jig heads. The key is to cast them up against the rocks and fish them deep back to the boat.

A few big trout are being caught on Calcasieu Lake, according to guide Buddy Oaks with Hackberry Rod and Gun Club.

“We’re still pretty much fresh, but the water is looking better every day,” says Oaks. “The best bite is on the lower end of the lake, and at the jetties with live shrimp or Hackberry Hustlers.”

Colorful blooms decorate Texas state parks

Texas State Parks have gone Technicolor this spring; rolling waves of bright blue, deep red and rich yellow blanket Texas’ hills and plains.

Texas has more than 5,000 species of wildflowers and this spring has seen a proliferation of wildflower populations.

“More and more, visitors are reporting this spring is a much better wildflower season than they’ve seen in years,” said Paul Hendrix with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

More than 90 Texas State Parks present some of the best and safest places to view and photograph nature’s bounty of wildflowers and blooming shrubs and trees.

In East Texas parks, rampant Texas groundsels blanket sandy fields and post oak savannahs. Flowering eastern shrubs and trees include rusty blackhaw, redbuds, plums and hawthorns, which flourish in forest and pine savannahs.

In Central Texas state parks, visitors can expect to see bluebonnets, Engelmann daisies, beeblossoms, Carolina woollywhites, blue-eyed grass, Texas yellowstars, Dakota vervain, Drummond’s skullcaps, four-nerved daisies and plateau bladderpods.

From parks in south central Texas to the coast, a multicolored blanket of wildflower species has erupted. A checklist of colorful blooms on the landscape includes: light blue sandyland bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes, green milkweed, winecups, longbract wild indigos, Texas vervains, sandhill woollywhites, blue-eyed grass, spider lilies, white pricklypoppies, spiderworts, prairie bluets, showy primroses, puccoons and coralbeans.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department botanist Jason Singhurst attributes much of this increase in the wildflower population across the Texas landscape to ideal growing conditions.

“We’ve gotten consistent temperatures, ranging from the 50s to the 80s, with none of those spikes we typically see in March, combined with an even moisture regime over the winter that has allowed for broad seed germination,” Singhurst said. “It’s just a gangbuster year.”

In addition to the dominant wildflower species Texans are accustomed to seeing, like bluebonnet and Indian paintbrush, Singhurst said there are still a lot of early successional flowering plants out there that are creating some unique color landscapes in Texas.

“A lot of things are just bolting out,” Singhurst said. “It’s an unbelievable year for some of those wildflowers we normally see only in small numbers.”