Falcon Lake Bass Fishing Report February 22, 2002

Falcon Lake is approximately 44 feet low, with surface temperatures ranging from the mid 60’s on the main lake, to the low 70’s in creeks that are protected from the wind. Water clarity ranges from murky up the lake to pretty clear in some of the creeks and on the lower end. Black bass fishing has been slow, with very few fish being reported. There have been a few fish being caught on Texas rigged plastics in hardwoods that are intermingled with willows, salt cedars, etc. Also a few fish are being caught on spinnerbaits worked in the same area. The best depths have been from 1 to 4 feet. Catfishing has been good with several good catches being reported on shrimp and stink bait. There have been no reports concerning stripers, crappie, or white bass. Launching is OK at Falcon State Park, but they always recommend a 4 wheel drive, anytime the concrete ramp is not being used. The Zapata County ramp is being used with no problems. Falcon, being an international waterway on the border with Mexico, requires that Mexican fishing licenses and boat permits be purchased, when fishing the Mexican side of the lake. They are available locally. The following few paragraphs are an example of the fishing this past week. On Tuesday I did a TV show with Jerry Dean of Honey Hole Magazine, and the fishing was so slow, that I don’t know if we were able to get a complete show or not. I had called the Honey Hole office on Monday and tried to get them to postpone the show for a couple of weeks, but they had already left to come down here, and when you drive 500 miles to do a TV show, you got to do it. This became real apparent when Jerry Dean walked out of his room at Beacon Lodge on Tuesday morning, and wouldn’t shake my hand. It wasn’t because he doesn’t like me or was mad at me, but because he had a bad case of the flu. Honestly I appreciated the fact that he wouldn’t shake my hand, as I can’t afford to get sick. The day I had called the office, the wind was blowing out of the south a steady 30 MPH with gusts even higher. I really didn’t expect it to let up, but we started out in the morning with “glass” calm water. Jack Lewis and Ft. Worth Star Telegram outdoor writer, Bob Hood, were in Jack’s boat and were going to help us scout out enough fish to do a show. It’s kind of intimidating, fishing with three guys of such great fishing ability. Everybody in South Texas knows about Jack Lewis, but for those that don’t know Bob, it should be noted that he has been the outdoor editor for the Star Telegram for over 30 years, which means that all he does is hunt and fish. Believe me, he is a darn good fisherman, and has won the tough team division of the Texas State Bass Tournament 3 times. Jerry Dean is about as tough as Bob and Jack, as he has done 800 weekly TV shows in a row, without missing a week or doing a rerun. Can you imagine fishing 800 weeks in a row? In any case, I knew we had some talent on the water. We arrived at one of Jack’s spots, which was on the main lake, about 10:30 AM. The late start was due to Jerry and his severe flu symptoms, but almost immediately I had a hookup on about a 2 pounder, with my trusty watermelon/red Fluke, but the fish jumped and got off. The depth was 2 feet, with the fish relating to a hardwood that was next to a salt cedar. A few casts later, I caught a 2 pounder, and things were looking pretty good, as far as doing a quick show, and getting a very sick Jerry Dean off of the water. As luck would have it, that wasn’t the case, as almost immediately after catching that 2 pounder, the wind started howling out of the west, and then shifted to the north, which made fishing the Fluke almost impossible. We moved to the Mexican side of the lake, near marker 6, and Jack caught a nice fish on an SOB spinnerbait, which was black with gold blades. Because of the wind, we moved to OPEC creek, and spent the rest of the day there. Jerry caught a nice fish on a black spinnerbait, which weighed 3 1/2 to 4 pounds, and then we went the rest of the day with no action, other than maybe a bite or two. I guess the water temperatures are still low enough to make for bad fishing, and when you throw in a slowing falling lake level, it hurts even worse. Surely in the next few weeks, with all of this 80 degree weather that we have been having, things will pick up. About the only good report that I have heard, was late last Sunday afternoon, after all of the club tournaments had weighed in and went home. Calvin Synder, who is the Falcon State Park Manager, said that one of the boats that had been fishing late Sunday evening, got into a bunch of fish in State Park Cove, during the last couple of hours. The Media Bass Tournament circuit here in South Texas is off to a great start, with 101 teams fishing the first event, which was at Falcon in January. We are getting calls and e-mails everyday that are inquiring about the next tournament, which will be on Amistad this weekend. Next week, I will give the results on it. The South Texas division has a $2500 guaranteed first place, and this guarantee is sponsored by Waypoint Marine of New Braunfels. What should be noted, is that Waypoint will make up any difference between what would normally be the first place check, and the amounts of the other places aren’t affected. Simply put, we aren’t going to rob the other places to make the first place guarantee. In any case, with a guaranteed $2500 for 1st place that doesn’t effect the remaining payout, plus the regular 85% that Media Bass pays in all of their tournaments, in my opinion this is the best investment for your tournament dollar. Throw in the fact that we will have 3 different championships for qualifying contestants, that all 3 will be awarding fully rigged Nitro bass boats with 200 HP Mercury motors to the winners, and also the chance for 2 South Texas Division anglers (that fish 5 of the 6 STX tournaments) to go on a peacock bass fishing trip with Amazon Tours, makes this a great circuit. Since the first tournament, there has been several incentives added to the Media tournaments, which include an additional $25,000 dollars for winning one of the championships, while fishing out of a Nitro that was purchased from one of the participating dealers in the last two years. This is a chance for a Nitro owner to win an additional $75,000, if they were to win all 3 championships. There are several more incentives, that include all of the Media contestants, and they can be viewed at www.mediabass.com. The schedule for the year is shown below, and if you want some additional information, please give me a call or e-mail. January 13 Falcon Registration: Falcon Lake Tackle Weigh In: Zapata County Ramp February 24 Amistad Registration: Ramada Inn Weigh In: Diablo East Rec. Area March 24 Coleto Creek Registration: The Lost Cajun Restaurant Weigh In: GBRA Park April 28 Choke Canyon Registration: Nolan Ryan’s Waterfront Restaurant Weigh In: Callihan Unit Choke Canyon State Park May 19 Falcon Registration: Falcon Lake Tackle Weigh In: Falcon State Park June 23 Amistad Registration: Ramada Inn Weigh In: Diablo East Rec. Area Championships 1. Amistad, Date to be announced 2. Texoma, Date to be announced 3. Red River, Date to be announced . Beacon Lodge in Zapata, is the official motel of the two Falcon tournaments that we are having this year, and if you are coming to Falcon, I highly recommend this as the place to stay. Gaylen Gilbreath, who is the owner, always has plenty of up to the minute fishing information, and is always a lot of fun to be around. Gaylen can be reached at (956) 765-4616. We have a real nice tackle shop locally, which is Falcon Lake Tackle in Zapata. They have a great selection of anything that you need to fish down here. They are located on Highway 83, South of the Veleno bridge, and are across the road from the big cement plant. They have a website at www.tackleandrods.com and their phone number is (956) 765-4866. Mexican fishing licenses and boat permits are available there also. Larry and Barbara Bridgeman, who are the owners of Falcon Lake Tackle, are real nice people, who are involved with all of the tournament organizations in South Texas. Be sure when you stop by there, to tell them that you really appreciate their support. The annual Tommy Gray Memorial Tournament is coming up next month, and I want to invite everyone to come down and fish it. For those that have never fished this tournament before, be advised that we have a lot of fun, and usually there are a bunch of big fish caught. The dates for this great event are March 16 and 17, with registration and “Contestant Bingo” being held on March 15. Tournament brochures have been mailed to everybody that has ever fished the tournament, along with some to key distribution points, such as Waypoint Marine, Falcon Lake Tackle, and T & C Tackle. The rules and tournament format will be basically the same, and since the restaurants in Zapata haven’t seen the impact that tournaments have on their business (They don’t believe that you tournament fishermen eat many meals in restaurants, and therefore they won’t sponsor the tournament), the chamber is going to try and give the contestants free meals at every opportunity. You tournament fishermen might start telling the local restaurants who you are. Along the same line, a lot of the local motels seem to think that all of you tournament fishermen are camping out, and many of them don’t support the Tommy Gray. Beacon Lodge, Falcon Heights Motel, and The Best Western have always supported the tournaments, so try and stay at these places first. The Executive Inn has jumped in and given some sponsorship to the Tommy Gray, so please include them in your plans. Jack Lewis’ new book is doing real well, and I think should be required reading for anybody that bass fishes, especially in South Texas. Jack shares over 50 years experience in this book, and it can be a great help to both the novice and experienced bass fisherman. It can be purchased at www.honeyholemagazine.com, or give Jack a call at (956) 765-8199. On Thursday of this week, I had a trip scheduled with Bob and Terry Neill, who I think are from San Antonio. These are real nice guys that I had talked to several times on the phone prior to the trip, and was really looking forward to a day of fishing with them. We had been fishing about 30 minutes, when my trolling motor went South on me, so we made a quick tour of the lake, where I showed them some spots that I figured they could catch a few fish, and then we went in. I’ve invited them back later in the year for a discounted couple of days of fishing and I really hope that they return. While we were touring the lake, we ran into SMART President, David Stewart, of Austin. SMART is the organization that was formed that all of the fishing organizations associated themselves with, to basically protect our aquatic vegetation from being poisoned with chemicals. It has done a world of good in helping protect our fishery, and I highly suggest that you join this great organization. For more information, please give me an e-mail, and I will send you in the right direction. David is an outstanding fisherman, but when we ran into him on the lake, he hadn’t had a bite. Later that evening, he gave me a call and informed me that he never got a bite all day. The point of this being, is that right now our fishing is extremely slow, if not terrible, and if you are planning a trip down here, I would put it off for a few weeks. I’ve got a theory on this terrible fishing. Texas Parks and Wildlife did a survey on Falcon, and found (this might be a little off, but not too bad) that 60% of the fish in Falcon are pure Florida bass, and that of the fish surveyed, 100% had some of the Florida gene. Studies have shown that Florida bass are definitely harder to catch that native fish, and are a lot more effected by weather fronts. Well, we have our share of fronts this year, and since the water temperature is basically still below 70 degrees almost everywhere on the lake, I believe that this is the culprit for causing the bad fishing. Jack Lewis says, and I believe it because I have seen it, that when the water temperature reaches 70 degrees or more, and stays there for several days, that the fishing will explode. We are right on the verge of this occurring, and with the full moon coming up pretty soon, I am going to step out on a limb and predict that our best fishing will occur in the next month. I know that I’m ready to start trying to lose some of these new SOB Gambler spinnerbaits that Bill Dee sent me about a month ago. Even on 65 to 80 pound Tuf-Line, I’m going to lose a few to big Falcon bass that are going to hang them on their hardwood “living room” walls. This is the most fun fishing on Falcon, and not for the light hearted. It’s going to happen, count on it. Hopefully it will be prime during the Tommy Gray Tournament. Tuf-Line can be viewed online at www.ronstackle.com, while those great SOB Gambler spinnerbaits, along with some other great products can be seen at www.soblures.com. Kistler Custom Rods, which are the finest rods that I have ever held in my hands, have a website at www.kistlerrods.com. Waypoint Marine has a great website at www.waypointmarine.com. Donna’s daddy ( Buddy Harless of Kingsville, TX) passed away suddenly, which has required that she be away from home quite a bit to handle some of his affairs, along with us having a booth at the Houston Rodeo for our leather goods, has put us real behind in a lot of matters, including this weekly fishing report. Please bear with me, and hopefully in the next few weeks, I can get back on track and have my report posted in a timely manner, but until then, it’s going to be put out real erratic. The way my schedule is right now, I don’t have any open guide dates until about the end of March, but I do have several guides that I am farming out trips to, and they are excellent fishermen. If you need help in getting a trip booked in the next couple of months, give me a call at (956) 848-5630 or e-mail at murrayleather@cs.com.

Water Temp: 65

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