Every serious bass angler should make the trip to Lake Amistad. To say that it's a trip of a lifetime is an oversimplification of the simple truth that any serious bass fisherman needs to experience this lake for a variety of reasons.
Del Rio has to be one of the friendliest places on the fishing circuit. Every restaurant, hotel and store in town makes you feel welcome and wanted. Since the first time BASS visited, the town has enjoyed an economic boom that few towns in the country are seeing in these tough economic times, and the people there seem to know that bass fishing plays a large part in the growth of their town.
Amistad is a beautiful lake. With its clear blue water, rock bluffs, gravel and chunk rock points and abundant mesquite bushes, south Texas and Amistad look different than almost any other place we fish. The scenery does more than just look pretty, it provides Amistad's huge bass population with a variety of cover and structure to live and grow to the size most anglers only dream about on their home waters.
The numbers of bass in the lake are hard to describe. Catches of 75 to 100 bass a day are the norm, and if you look at the numbers from last week's Bassmaster Open held there, you'll see just how easy it is to go and have the day of a lifetime. Of the 202 pros fishing the first two days, 176 weighed in a five-fish limit the first day and 149 weighed in a limit the second day. These numbers are even more impressive when you consider that a fair number of the 53 anglers who didn't weigh in a limit on Day 2 had a limit but chose not to wait the 80 to 90 minutes it would take to weigh in since they did not have enough weight to get a check.
It's not just the numbers that are impressive, there are some real monsters swimming around in Amistad. On Day 1 there were 27 limits weighed in that went more than 20 pounds, and on Day 2 there were an additional 12 limits that were over the magical 20-pound number. Considering that the winds on Day 2 were a sustained 20 to 25 miles per hour, with some gusts that had to be in the 30 miles per hour range, that number is more than impressive. On Day 3, after the field was cut to the top 30 anglers, there were another seven 20-plus-pound limits weighed in. Craig Schuff, who won the event, and Elite angler Clark Reehm, who finished third, both weighed in 20-plus-pound bags all three days of the event; and to make the top five, you had to have two days with 20-plus-pound sacks.
5. A true learning experience
All of these facts make the trip to Amistad well worth the time and expense involved, but the best reason to make the trip is the opportunity to learn. The water there is clear enough to see the bottom in 20 to 25 feet of water, so every bush and rock is clearly visible in 8 to 10 feet of water. There is nothing on earth like seeing a 5-pounder come crashing out of a mesquite bush to attack your spinnerbait. But, more importantly, you can observe how the fish position themselves to strike and how they react to different presentations. You'll be amazed at how many fish follow the bait and what causes them to finally take it. The ability to see everything that is going on in the water presents a unique opportunity to study the bass in their natural environment and something that any true student of the art of bass fishing owes it to himself to experience.