If just half the stories being told after three days of official practice for the Bassmaster Elite Lone Star Shootout at Falcon Reservoir this week are true, this could easily become a tournament for the record books.
"I'll be disappointed if all I can catch tomorrow is 25 pounds," noted Tommy Biffle, who's flipping a heavy jig into Falcon's thick cover. "I had a 35-pound catch Monday, but so did a lot of others."
There's a good chance my one-day weight record will fall," added Dean Rojas, whose stunning 45-pound, 2-ounce catch at Lake Toho has stood since 2001. "In fact, I'd call my record a sinking ship after what I've seen here since Monday."There's no way to really tell what may happen here because it's so phenomenal. I'd say we're in uncharted water because we've never fished a lake like this before."Unbelievable? Not this week at Falcon.
On Monday when practice began, Elite veteran Matt Reed caught five bass he estimated would weigh at least 48 pounds — his scale bottomed out before accurate weights could be established — and included two giants weighing between 11 and 12 pounds.Those fish did not come from the same place, either. The two heaviest bass were caught on Reed's first casts to two different spots, and after catching them he left. That same day, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Reed never caught a bass weighing less than four pounds."It will be hard to break the overall tournament weight record," Reed cautioned, "because it will require four days of at least 30 pounds each. Still, if there's anywhere it could happen on this year's Elite schedule, this is the place."The majority of the bass have spawned, but it was long enough ago that they're feeding heavily again and beginning to move to specific structure. I have to think someone is simply going to find them at the right time and come in with a huge catch at least one day."Here are more thoughts from other Elite prosToyota Angler of the Year points leader Bobby Lane: "I had 30 pound catches the first two days flipping in five to eight feet with a 1 ounce jig. I'm shooting for at least 25 pounds a day, because it will take at least that much to place well here."
Kevin Short: "I'll be surprised if it doesn't take 42 to 45 pounds to make the top 50 cut, and I'm sure we'll see some mid-30s stringers. Water temperature varies from 71 to 76 degrees, and there are still a few bass on beds. I'm flipping a 1 ounce jig to trees and rock piles down to 25 feet and catching six and seven pounders."
"I'm preparing for wind," said Dave Wolak, whose best five weighed about 26 pounds and came on a mixture of lures including spinnerbaits, jigs, and crankbaits down to 16 feet. "I had one bass break 50-pound braided line today."
"The problem is not getting bites, it's getting them into the boat," emphasized Peter Thliveros, who reported a 37-pound catch flipping a heavy jig into flooded brush. Like Biffle, he said he'd be disappointed with a 25-pound catch.
Kenyon Hill reported catching a 10-pounder today and more than 30 pounds Monday. "Today my partner and I saw a school of three pounders breaking the surface near the shoreline but we never bothered to make a cast at them," he said.
Louisiana pro Greg Hackney likewise reported breaking 30 pounds each practice day, and described Falcon as "awesome." He'd been using 50 pound braided line, up-graded to 65 pound braid, and thought he'd probably be using 100 pound braid before the tournament ended.
Overall, no pure, distinct pattern has developed, and the pros are simply fishing the way they like most to fish. Thus, there is some deep water fishing with Carolina rigs and jigs, open water fishing with crankbaits and swim baits, and shallow fishing with jigs and Senkos.
"It's a perfect time to be here," concluded four time Classic winner Rick Clunn, "because the fish are so active. "You know a livewell full of four-pounders isn't going to win anything this week, but it sure is fun catching them every other cast."