Because the upcoming Elite Series stop on Falcon Lake will be a first for the BASS organization, one would think there would be plenty Elite anglers wondering what to expect from the 78,000-plus acre fishery that straddles the Texas/Mexico border.
But even as many of the pros make their first trip to the remote lake in west Texas, there seems to be a consensus about the action that is scheduled to be held April 3-6.That is — "Think big. Really big."
This area of the U.S. is known for producing lunker bass. It's part of the same Rio Grande chain as Lake Amistad which became a buzzword a couple years ago when triple-digit sacks were amassed after four days of fishing. And here's the scary part — there are anglers who believe Falcon Lake is better than Amistad.
What's that mean for the Elites heading across Texas' Hill Country to reach Falcon? Well, for starters, it has some thinking that Steve Kennedy's BASS tournament record of 122 pounds, 14 ounces (set on California's Clear Lake in March, 2007) could be history by the time fishing on Falcon is complete.
Alton Jones, who hails from Waco, Texas, is one of those anglers. And it's not because he's following a trend being bandied about by Elites and pundits, alike. Jones has, perhaps, more experience on Falcon Lake than any other man entered in the Elite Series field.
The last couple years he parked his RV near Amistad where he would fish during the offseason. This past winter, the RV was parked at Falcon.
"It was the same thinking as Amistad," said Jones, who won this year's Bassmaster Classic. "I didn't have a lot of experience there, but I knew I would have plenty people fishing with me. I checked and I spent 43 days of Falcon during the offseason."
That experience makes Jones one of the favorites this week. And as far as comparisons to Amistad, he said they pretty much end when you get past the fact they are part of the same river system.
"(Falcon) is better than Amistad," Jones said. "It is. You'll have to see the weigh-ins to believe them. It's going to be an eye-opening experience for everybody."
Jones said Falcon has a murkier color than the water at Amistad. He feels there are several reasons why the fishing can be better than what has come to be expected of Amistad.
"It's the fertility of the water," he said. "When you turn on your electronics, there are bait fish everywhere, from shallow to deep. Also, there's much more cover than at Amistad. It's the same type of cover, there's just 10 times more of it. Plus, the remoteness of the lake helps. There are no major cities around. Not a lot of people fish there. Some do, but for the most part, it's an unknown."
Jones said the only thing that might prevent record catches at Falcon is the propensity for high wind gusts this time of year. But even if the wind blows, he said "Falcon, even on a bad day, is better than many of the places we fish on a good day."
"Should we get three windy days with gusts of 30 to 40 miles per hour, that could effect it," Jones said. "We'll probably have one bad day. That's just the way it is this time of year. But if we get lucky and guys can fish effectively for four days, it's going to be exciting. It's going to be outstanding, regardless."
The only question remaining seems to be, "How outstanding can Falcon be?"
"Twenty-five to 30 pounds per day would be good, but 40-pound bags are not out of the question," Jones said. "They should be able to catch them with virtually any technique. The key is which (angler) has the right depth zone, the right presentation. But even if you're off, you're going to catch fish. It's that good. I guarantee it will take triple digits to win. You can guarantee that."
Let the games begin.
Visit Bassmaster.com for full coverage of the Elite Series Lone Star Shootout on Falcon Lake, from Zapata, Texas, April 3–6, 2008. Daily weigh-ins with live streaming video and real-time leaderboards start at 5:50pm ET. "Hooked Up" will air Sunday at 10 a.m., noon and 5:15 p.m. ET.