Elite Destinations: Lake Amistad

This will be the third consecutive year the pros will compete on the Rio Grande reservoir in the Battle on the Border. Easily one of the premier bass fisheries in the nation, Amistad has become a favorite stop on the Elite circuit. Last season, rookie Derek Remitz won with a total of 111 pounds, 7 ounces, and three other pros broke the 100-pound mark, helping to emphasize what a remarkable fishery Amistad is.

 Several factors contribute to these types of catches (Ish Monroe won the inaugural 2006 Elite event with 104-8): size, depth, vegetation, cover and excellent water conditions. Overall, this 67,000-acre impoundment provides a wide variety of ways to catch bass in both shallow and deep water.

 Remitz won by fishing a 3/4-ounce jig, but in April a number of pros also will be throwing swimbaits in hopes of hauling in one of Amistad's lunkers. Still others will be throwing soft plastic worms and tubes, deep diving crankbaits, spinnerbaits and topwaters. This variety is possible because Amistad offers such dramatic shallow water/deep water combinations throughout the lake.

 The water also is extremely clear, which has allowed hydrilla to grow in many places, and this has certainly changed the way many anglers fish the lake. The vegetation has been present since 1994 and grows primarily where runoff has coated the rocky bottom with a layer of dirt.

 In other areas, flooded timber and shallow brush provide additional casting targets. The backs of canyons and coves receive a lot of fishing pressure, so many have learned how to swim jigs and big plastic worms through the lake's deep standing timber.

 The Whitehead Memorial Museum offers more than 20 buildings of historical significance spread over 2 acres in downtown Del Rio. Among the exhibits is an authentic frontier log cabin as well as a replica of Judge Roy Bean's famous Jersey Lilly Saloon where he dispensed his frontier justice. Bean and his son are buried on the grounds. (www.drchamber.com;