Best Bass Lakes of 2012: Falcon Lake

Falcon Lake, Texas

Gary Tramontina
Falcon Lake is No. 1 on Bassmaster Magazine's list of the 100 Best Bass Lakes.

Falcon Lake is irrefutably the best bass fishing lake in North America. Five-fish tournaments regularly take 40-plus pounds to win, and Falcon is just about the only place where anglers don’t get excited about 6-pounders. While blessed with large quantities of plus-size fish, the 98,960-acre Rio Grande impoundment is cursed with safety issues.

Falcon is without a doubt your best shot at a 10-pounder, but it has also gained a reputation as a good place to be, well, shot. In 2010, a man was allegedly gunned down by Mexican pirates while Jet-Skiing with his wife. That’s right, pirates. Not the jovial, drunken, yo-ho-ho-and-a-bottle-of-rum kind of pirates, but the sinister, kidnap-then-decapitate-you kind who work for the warring Mexican drug cartels. However, increased safety precautions (six heavily armed gunboats now prowl Falcon and Lake Amistad) have anglers returning to the area. One angler who never left is Elite Series pro Alton Jones.

“Throughout the whole violence episode, I never felt unsafe. There is always a law enforcement presence down there, and as long as you don’t venture way up into the Mexican side and you keep your eyes open, you’ll be fine,” Jones says. “All of that aside, there’s not a close second when it comes to the best bass lake in the country. Not even close.”

When not on the Elite tour, Jones parks his RV on Falcon’s shores and visits roughly twice a month. His best five fish in one day weighed 50 pounds, 8 ounces with an 11-pound kicker. While amassing the 50-8, he released 17 bass heavier than 8 pounds. The

biggest fish he’s caught there weighed 12 pounds, 4 ounces. The best part? This went down in December.

“There’s no other place where you can do that, none, much less during that time of year,” he says. “The thing that makes Falcon the best is the fact that it’s always good. On most lakes, you have to hit them just right to have an amazing catch, but Falcon doesn’t have a bad month or season. Every cast there has the chance to land you the fish of a lifetime.”

Falcon has accounted for 19 Toyota ShareLunkers. For a fish to qualify as a ShareLunker, it must weigh 13 pounds or more. However, these 19 fish are just the ones that have been recorded with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD); certainly there have been many more.

This past February, Gary Wood (pictured above) of Andersonville, Tenn., had a day on Falcon that may get him branded as a liar for life — except that he’s got photographic proof. Wood amassed a mind-boggling stringer in a single day that weighed 53 pounds. It was comprised of a 10-2, 10-4, 10-6, 10-14 and an 11-6 kicker. Understated and reserved by nature, Wood said the experience was “pretty cool.”

“It was definitely the catch of a lifetime,” the tackle store (www.tackletrap.com) owner says. “I could fish there every day for the next 100 years and not catch that kind of weight.”

During the melee, Wood caught eight bass heavier than 7 pounds (not including the 10s), and tossed them out as fast as he reeled in the 10-pounders. His partner was so stunned at what he was seeing that he set his rod down and watched with an open jaw.

“Me and my buddy were both floored at how many giant fish lived on that one little drop. We’d never seen anything like it. Sure, California has big fish, and Guntersville has lots of 5s and 6s, but Falcon is without a doubt the best bass lake in the country,” Wood says. “Lots of bass fishermen spend their whole lives trying to catch one fish over 10 pounds. Falcon offers everybody the chance to catch more than one 10 in a single day.”

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