Football, Falcon and the Bassmaster Classic

Though the Bassmaster Classic is now at the top of my mind, football and Falcon Lake were there not long ago.

It’s been a long time since Baylor has beaten Texas in football two years in a row, and it happened this past weekend. I was so excited about it that I decided to come down to Falcon to celebrate! I fished with folks who bought a trip at an auction from Skeeter boats. It was a great trip with some great folks.

Of course, I picked the biggest cold front of the year to come fish it. We had strong north winds, and the water temperature was falling. The air temperature was in the 50s, so folks around the country won’t feel too sorry for me, but that’s cold for south Texas. The fish had really gone into a pure winter pattern.

I started reading the fishing reports, and the consensus was that the fishing had gotten tougher. Usually, when you read reports like that, it doesn’t mean that the fish have quit biting; it’s that the fishermen haven’t adjusted to the new pattern yet. There’s about a month of lag before the anglers catch up to the bass. Reading those clued me into what I needed to be doing.

First, I had to abandon what was working in October and November. To me, winter fishing on Falcon is a feast or famine situation. They congregate more in winter than any time of the year. What that means is that in any particular creek, there are just as many fish, but there are fewer schools. When you find the schools of fish, they’re bigger in numbers. I only fished two days, and this trip really was a classic example of that.

On Saturday, we only caught eight fish which is subpar. Now, we had a 7-, 8-, and 9-pounder in those fish, but we never connected with a school. It was only singles.

What I tried to do was keep moving, because if I moved enough, I knew I’d find a big school. That happened yesterday. We only had five fish before lunch, but after we caught 50! They were on a textbook winter spot. It was a creek channel break with some rocks. We caught ’em on a Booyah jig, a Yum tube and other small profile baits. The only reason we didn’t catch more was because it got dark. They were all 4- to 6-pounders.

The reason I left Falcon this morning is to have enough time to do laundry because tomorrow morning I’m leaving for Shreveport. Classic waters (the Red River) go off-limits this Sunday; so I’ll scout Thursday and Friday then drive home Saturday. Two days should be enough because I don’t plan on taking a rod out of the locker. Anything I find now will be a distraction of my time and will have no bearing on the tournament. I’m just going to ride and look.

I did that a lot the last time we were at the Red River, and I think I understand the personality of the river a lot better now. I know better the type of water to look for in February, and hopefully I can build on that. Everyone knows the main backwaters that folks do well in, but I’m always in search of that little hidden place that may get overlooked by the rest of the field. It may not be the spot you win the tournament from, but it’s a spot that may give up a few fish that contribute to a win. My goal for the trip is to make sure that I can be efficient when the official practice arrives. Those are the days when you’re going to win or lose this Classic. You need to spend time wisely in good water to try and nail down the pattern on those days.

I’m looking forward to the good food in Shreveport again. The last time we were there, I was coming off of my Classic win the year before. That time, I don’t think I paid for a single meal the whole time I was there. There’s such a fishing community that folks would recognize me and invariably someone would have picked up the tab at the end of my meal! It was a truly wonderful and humbling feeling. I don’t think we’ve been to a venue that is as crazy about fishing as Shreveport is, and that makes it special for the competitors.

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