It’s hard to believe we are already on our fifth stop of the Bassmaster Elite Series season. This is the Bassmaster Toyota Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks & Wildlife Department on the most-visited bass fishing lake in the country, Lake Fork. This truly is the land of the giants and there will be plenty of giants caught here this week.
There are several different things going on as far as patterns go. Some fish are still spawning, there’s a shad spawn, some fish are guarding fry and some have moved on out deep. Late April and early May in the South is really a transition time, and I feel like to have a shot at winning a guy will have to commit to something.
This is a fabulous fishery, but it’s still fishing, and the bites are not exactly easy to come by. I’ve been sucked into the trying-to-do-it-all trap before. Not this time; I’m committed to shallow and that’s where I’ll stay. I spent a fair share of my practice staring at my Lowrances and never did find a decent group of bass out deep. They may show up for some guys during the tournament, but I’m going to stick to my guns this time.
We are supposed to get rain for the first two days of the tournament with a chance of thunderstorms so that could have an effect on the bite as well. That being said, the weather is something I can’t control so we’ll just take what Mother Nature gives and adjust as it goes.
This tournament is really a big deal to all of us. Toyota sponsors it, and the big bass of the event wins a new Tundra. Can you imagine how awesome that is going to be for someone? The winner here gets an automatic spot in the 2020 Bassmaster Classic too.
I’ve got several MHX rods rigged for battle this week, but one of my favorite baits this time of year is a swim jig. I prefer white most of the time in May because the fish are really keyed-in on shad. I throw a 3/8-ounce model majority of the time and vary between a couple different trailers depending on the situation. I use an X Zone Lures Swammer for a trailer when the fish want a more “straight” retrieve. If I’m around grass or wanting to keep the bait higher in the water column I use the Rebel Chunk.
I use 50-pound Vicious No Fade braid if I’m around grass or heavy color and 20-pound fluorocarbon in clear water situations. My rod choice for a swim jig is a 7-foot, 2-inch NEPS86HF MHX rod. This rod has plenty of tip for long yet accurate casting but enough backbone to handle the biggest bass Lake Fork has to offer.
Hopefully I’ll get to battle a few of these Texas monsters this week and, who knows, maybe take home a new Tundra and a spot in the 50th Bassmaster Classic!