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1. Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Texas
[114,500 acres] One Texas biologist categorized this lake as “a fish factory,” and it lived up to that billing over the past 12 months by pumping out 20-pound stringers left and right. The 2017 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department held there last May showed its potential, when Brandon Palaniuk averaged almost 23.5 pounds over four days to win. And this year has begun with a bang, with a team weighing in 31.92 pounds during a January 20 Bass Champs stop. Bassmaster legend Harold Allen was on the team weighing in a second 30-pound stringer that included a 9.15-pounder. The big bass for the event just missed the 9 1/2-pound mark. A Texas Team Trail stop in Feb. was topped by a 37.04-pound sack anchored by a 9-pounder. But that wasn’t the big fish of the event: In fact, there were three 10-pounders brought to the scale that day. It required 20 pounds of bass just to make the Top 30. When Bass Champs returned in March, there were 22 stringers weighing more than 20 pounds brought to scale — and the winning sack weighed 35.23 pounds, one of four limits that broke 30 pounds. This year’s Sealy Big Bass Splash was won with a 12.05-pounder, with four other bass weighing more than 9 pounds entered and 14 8-pounders logged. The lake also produced a 13.06-pound ShareLunker the last day of March, proving there are massive bass swimming in these waters. And to put a cherry on top of the nation’s newest No. 1 bass lake, a Texas Team Trail event held here last month produced a 40.28-pound limit! Yes, you need to plan your trip here ASAP.
Photo: Garrick Dixon