Month: December 2020

Texas Trip

November 29 at 8:30am leaving the Quad Cities, IL

Well, I haven’t done much of anything here on the blog for a while. Just busy these days and actually think that I am still recovering from this Texas trip which started the month. I have never been much of a traveler and I have certainly not gotten any better with age. Enough about reality, let’s take an overdue escape. An overdue trip tunes to come but first up is a Texas blurb and slideshow below.

My work detail consisted of a stop in north central Arkansas to install some IT gear before proceeding to south central Texas for round two of the same. Having to haul a fair amount of equipment meant driving rather than flying, which is just fine for a guy who prefers to be closer to the ground. Such a mode of travel also allows for packing along some fishing gear in the event that I have the time to wet a line.

Several waters were on my radar as I planned my route. Greers Ferry Lake was only minutes from my first stop in Arkansas but a long work day and short daylight kept me from a visit.

Grapevine, TX too early and too big of a hurry, just saw the outside

I overnighted in Grapevine, Texas, a Dallas suburb, right next door to a Bass Pro Shops. The store sat on the banks of Lake Ray Hubbard which was being beaten by gale force winds. Beyond the wind, I still had a five hour morning “commute” to work and no permit so casting did not materialize on this water, either.

Next choice was the Guadalupe River near Seguin, TX and only minutes from my work destination. I took a peek one evening finding the access decent and deserted but I had yet to obtain my permit. After getting two days’ worth of non-resident permits I hit the spot again only to find it packed with anglers leaving me no room. Instead, I headed 30 minutes north to New Braunfels, TX where the water on the river was too shallow. I spent my half hour before sunset just walking the bank in a local park and enjoying some fresh air.

Guadalupe River, New Braufels, TX – scenic but shallow

I had considered Grand Lake o’ The Cherokees in northeast Oklahoma on my ride home. I thought it would be cool to chase a bass on the site of the 2013 and 2016 Bassmaster Classics. However, a late start on the road, short days, cold weather and a desire to take the shortest route home eliminated this destination.


In the end, I selected Lake Fork which lies just east of Dallas. Ideally, a half day of work to finish my week would put me on the road in time to explore Lake Fork for a couple hours. In reality, the combination of a late start after work and some difficulty finding lake access only left me about 45 minutes to cast. My first intent was to fish the dam but I could not find access as I cruised the road below the structure. Next, I found a couple private fishing resorts and a lone pay ramp that featured very little decent bank access. As a last ditch effort, I selected a nearby causeway and hoped the map app would do its thing. It did and I reached a public ramp area with ample access for the short amount of remaining daylight that I had to cast.

Lake Fork, TX looking for a bass with daylight fading 

The rest is history as described in the Lake Fork, TX fishing report (click here). Such trips late in the year make it tough to enjoy much fresh air after a day of work. Sunsets just after 5:00pm really limit the option to travel very far in search of a bite before darkness falls. Thus, it was tough to manage some outdoor time while earning a living.

December 4, 2020 at 8:00pm, back home 2500 miles, two plants, one bass and five days later

All of that time behind the wheel gave me ample fodder for a final “Trip Tunes” post of 2020. Stay tuned for that Top 5 later this week. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Another update just goes to show that skill and perseverance can add a few more bass to the log as ice begins to form on our area fishing holes. It may not be easy or comfortable and you may not catch a bunch but there are still some bites to be had out there. And some good ones in today’s update along with an entertaining fish story.

Weight: 4-15
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: November 29
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless crankbait
Top 5 Weight: 25-13 (5-15,5-5,4-15,4-14,4-12) culls a 4-11

In addition, Jim just sent me the pics and details below as he has added a couple December bass to his ledger. I’m always up for a fish story and this one brought a smile. Would have been fun to have been an observer for this stunt.

“I’m on the board with a couple December bass yesterday (12/5). Both came on a white chatterbait. They were 3-12 and 3-9. Had to go through the ice for one and the water is pretty chilly. There was about 10’ of rather slim ice before open water. Hooked up and actually got the fish up on the ice but he flopped off and was on the ice just out of reach. Put one foot on the ice and was able to reach but broke through before getting back on the bank.”

As I mentioned in the intro, skill and perseverance go a long ways in landing such late season bass. Also noted that it may not be easy or comfortable and there you go with a prime example from Jim in getting it done. Kudos for the effort and thanks for the contributions to keep the Top 5 Updates rolling on. Talk to you later. Troy

Lake Fork, TX Report – December 3

This week’s work duties found me making a round trip drive with stops in north central Arkansas and south central Texas. Such an itinerary gave me the opportunity to take a drive by a legendary northeast Texas fishing hole named Lake Fork. I packed a few poles and some tackle just in case I could swing a pit stop on my way home. After a final half day of work and a five hour drive, I made it to the lake with about 45 minutes of daylight remaining. Texas weather wasn’t as nice as I’d hoped but there I was on the bank of a spot that I’d dreamed about for over thirty years.



Date: December 3, 2020
Location: Lake Fork – northwest of Quitman, Texas
Time: 4:53pm-5:18pm
Weather: Overcast/windy
Air Temp: 45F
Water Temp: felt warmer than the air
Totals: 1 bass
Lures: Chatterbait (bluegill) with Zako trailer (green pumpkinseed with white) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 2-7

5:18pm – Mission accomplished as daylight faded

Notes and Nonsense

Search for a Spot – After a five hour drive from Seguin, Texas it was time to find an area with decent bank access. In such cases, I always look to start with the dam (rocky bank with proximity to deep water). However, I could not find any dam access roads and only a pay ramp area with shallow water and rather barren bank access. A gas station stop for some dam advice proved fruitless so it was back to Google where I spied a causeway crossing an arm of the lake. All in all, I wasted the better part of an hour of daylight just trying to find somewhere to cast.

Technology makes it cool to see exactly where I found my Lake Fork bass

Riprap Really Rocks – The causeway that I selected happened to have parking for a public launch ramp and bank access to the water beneath the causeway. Plenty of large rock, known as riprap, lined several stretches of bank, just the kind of spot I look for when chasing bass from the bank on a new lake. Typically, these riprap stretches have a batch of rock that extends out into the lakebed and provides several appealing factors. For starters, the breakline/transition between rock and lake bottom provides a classic “edge” where bass like to hang out. In addition, there are countless nooks and crannies in those underwater rocks that hold forage such as baitfish and crawdads. In terms of presentation, these areas are custom made for a parallel retrieve from the bank. This keeps your lure in the strike zone for the entire cast and also allows you to bump the structure along the way. Finally, from a financial standpoint as a frugal fisherman, I can often get a hung lure freed by walking to the bait to give it some slack or a pull from the opposite direction.

A look back at the stretch of structure that this bass called home

Plan B – After 15 minutes of casting along the causeway riprap without a bite, I headed to the ramp area for crunch time as daylight faded. I tried a spinnerbait on riprap stretches on each side and along the ramp but found no bites. As a result, I decided to switch to a chatterbait and work the ramp area again with the new presentation. A few casts later, I had a solid strike jar me out of my mindset that things were not going to work out for a Texas bass. Very cool and some important fishing lessons reinforced by the catch. If you think you have some good water but aren’t finding a bite, a change in lure, retrieve speed or angle can be the key to fooling a fish. And while this outing was very limited in terms of time, it is well worth hitting a good looking spot a couple times in order to cross paths with an interested bass.

$37 Bass – A non-resident one day permit in Texas comes in at $16 and there is also a $5 transaction fee. I opted for a pair of one day passes but things did not work out on the previous day as I ran into access issues and fading daylight but that’s another story. At any rate, that Lake Fork bass wound up with a price tag of $37. I suppose if I was to calculate the hourly cost of fishing it would be $74/hour as I only cast for about 30 minutes on my two days’ worth of permits.

Seen a lot of pics and vids of Lake Fork over the last 30 years, fun to join the club

All good in the end as I was actually there for work after all, the fishing was just icing on the cake. I’ll tell you what though, it sure made my day. The combination of six days away from my family, a thousand miles from home, hotel beds, restaurant food, too much beef jerky and M&Ms and poor radio reception for most of the journey just wore me out. Therefore, it was good to find something to recharge my batteries. Fishing on a renowned bass lake that I never dreamt I would see and taking a picture with one of its inhabitants was a winner. Still smiling as I type. Talk to you later. Troy