Texas bass fishing is king in these United States of America, and the spring spawn offers your best bet at catching a double-digit fish tipping the scales at 10 pounds — or more.
Here’s a calendar look at the spring fishing months of March, April and May across Texas and why you simply can’t miss out on these hot spots.
Largemouths, Sam Rayburn Reservoir
This 100,000-acre monster of a lake near Jasper is among the best bass-fishing hot spots in the country right now. It actually topped the Bassmaster list of the best 100 fishing holes for good reason: It offers fantastic largemouth habitat including flooded timber and coves filled with submerged vegetation.
During spring months, largemouths are active for longer periods of the day – especially during warmer spells – and typically are found in shallow water for spawning. A variety of baits and techniques will work during these times, but crankbaits and spinnerbaits are usually the preferred choices. “Creature” baits such as crawfish and salamander imitations also will elicit big strikes from fish near beds.
Largemouths, Toledo Bend Reservoir
This massive body of water on the border with Louisiana stretches into three counties and offers excellent angling for multiple species including crappie and catfish. However, it also is among the best bass lakes in the country and sports a lake record of more than 15 pounds.
Like Sam Rayburn, “T-Bend” offers superb habitat that gets inundated by heavy rains and holds fish all year long. The lake also has excellent forage sources, producing huge sunfish that big bass love to gorge themselves on. Bright baits work well when targeting the shallows and most anglers fishing for largemouths during the spawn are catch-and-release aficionados, which is a good thing for conservation.
The biggest thing to remember with any catch is to stress the fish as little as possible — which usually means handling them as little as possible. If you must handle a big bass, don’t hold it by the lower jaw in a vertical position. This can dislocate or break the jaw, essentially putting a death sentence on the fish.
Stripers, Lake Texoma
This is the prime lake for striped bass in all of America, and the body of water on the Oklahoma border northwest of Denison features a self-sustaining population. Stripers migrate up the Red and Washita River arms in February and March; after spawning they move to open-water areas. The best aspect of summer fishing for stripers is that they will take a variety of baits, including live gizzard shad, their preferred meal.
Among the best places to fish is along the river channel in the main-lake area. Anglers trolling crankbaits and other deep-running lures often can be as successful as those chunking live bait. Other lures that undoubtedly have caught untold numbers of fish are slabs and heavy jigs, which can be worked vertically when you’re not able to locate schools of fish chasing shad.
One spectacular way to catch stripers during summer mornings is with topwater plugs fished near shorelines, which also could produce a hefty smallmouth bass and scores of white bass.