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Entries in Lake Guerrero (3)

Friday
Oct142016

Don't Overlook Small Baits for Catching Big Bass

The Texas state record largemouth bass was caught by accident.

Chances are that you don't know the amazing story of that fish, which weighed 18.18 pounds and was caught in 1992.

I do. I talked to the angler who caught it and included his tale in my book, Better Bass Fishing, in a chapter about catching big bass with small baits.

St. Clair had been bass fishing on Lake Fork with two friends. They decided to stop and catch a few crappie for the table. St. Clair didn’t have light tackle with him, so he simply put 12-inches of 8-pound leader and a 1/0 gold Aberdeen hook onto his bass rod and reel, which was loaded with 14-pound line.

The strength of that line and the backbone of the rod played no small part in the battle that was about to occur.

“At first, I didn’t know what I had,” St. Clair told me. “But I never panicked. That’s what helped me get the fish in.

“I put pressure on it, and it started to move. Right away, I thought it might be a big catfish. But it didn’t act like a catfish.”

The fish ran three times, but stayed deep. “I took the time to wear her out,” St. Clair said. “Then I eased her toward the surface.

“When she came up, it was like an exploding buoy coming out of the water. We all were stunned. Then I screamed ‘Get the net!’ at my buddies.”

Once he had her in, St. Clair noted that the big bass “filled the bottom of the boat,” and he saw that the delicate wire hook was bent nearly into a circle. “Once more run and she would have been gone,” he said.

Since that memorable day, St. Clair has learned that his experience was not unique.

Secret: In other words, big bass will eat little baits, just as elephants will munch peanuts.

“I’ve run across numerous examples of others who were doing the same thing (crappie fishing) when they hooked something big,” he said. “A few got them in, and the fish were in the 13-pound range. Others couldn’t do it. I was lucky that I had tackle stout enough to handle the fish.”

Here’s another example of a big bass dining at the hors d’oeuvre tray instead of the buffet table: In April 2006, Randy Beaty Jr. used a 1/8-ounce Blakemore Roadrunner to catch a 15.68-pound bass at Florida’s Bienville Plantation.

And my personal favorite: I caught a 12-pound, 4-ounce largemouth bass on a 3/8-ounce Cordell Spot, while fishing in Mexico’s Lake Guerrero. In case you’re not familiar with it, that lipless crankbait is a mere 3 inches long, seemingly hardly an appetizer for a big bass.

Why do big bass sometimes eat little baits?

Find the answer in Better Bass Fishing. The book has been out for a few years, but most of the information  does not go out of date because it's about bass behavior and intelligence, seasonal patterns, weather, etc. In other words, it's about the "big picture" of bass fishing.

Friday
Jun072013

The Latex Gloves Treatment

Thinking of going fishing in Mexico? Here’s what happened to me coming back from a trip to Lake Guerrero back in the late 1990s:

 As the U.S. customs agent exited his office, he pulled on thin, white Latex gloves. Another agent, this one the size of an NFL lineman, followed. Neither smiled.

“Come with us,” the one with the gloves said to me.

I looked over at my friends. We all knew what awaited me in the men’s room. I swallowed hard, pushing my heart back into my chest, and followed the two into the restroom at the Mexico-United States bordering-crossing site.

A cavity search was the last thing on my mind when we stopped at the border, on our way back from a fishing trip in eastern Mexico. Typically, U.S. citizens answer a few questions and then are waved on. No muss, no fuss.

But not this time. This agent decided to search our van and the luggage and gear of all six of its occupants.

As he tore through my toiletries bag, he found a small white pill encased in a vacuum bubble. “What’s this?” he asked, and immediately began paging through a black notebook.

Quickly he found was he was looking for, and, before I could speak, he added, “Wait right here.”

He took the pill, my passport, and my driver’s license into his office. A few minutes later, he returned with the gloves and the lineman.

Inside the bathroom, the agent held up the pill.

“I called you in here to watch me dispose of this,” he said.

Later, my friends would tell me that they heard my sigh through the door of the bathroom.

“Sure,” I said. “But would you mind telling me what the problem is?”

As a whirl of water sucked the pill away, the agent explained.

“That pill was Rhohypnol, the date rape drug,” he said. “It’s an even bigger problem than marijuana. What were you doing with it?”

I told him that a friend in Africa had given me the pill several years ago for my transatlantic flight home. He said that it was a legally prescribed sleeping aid in his country. As it turned out, I didn’t need it, and, so, I left the pill in my toiletries bag.

I crossed borders at least a dozen times with it before this agent found it. Belize, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Venezuela. Who knows what might have happened to me if my luggage had been searched by customs agents as I went into those countries.

Or what might have happened if another U.S. agent at an airport or some other border did not believe me as I was coming back.

“Well, I really should hold you,” this agent said. “But you don’t fit the profile, so I’m going to let you go on down the road.”

I went . . . with very wobbly legs.

Wednesday
Aug082012

Elephants Eat Peanuts --- And Trophy Bass Eat Tiny Baits

The following is an excerpt from my book, Better Bass Fishing. It's about catching big bass on little baits.

And speaking of being prepared, that’s what enabled Barry St. Clair to catch the Texas state-record largemouth bass while he was fishing for crappie on Jan. 24, 1992.

As a bass angler, you’ve probably already heard the most compelling part of the story: St. Clair caught the 18.18-pound bass on a 1 ½-inch minnow.

But now you will learn the rest of the story.

St. Clair had been bass fishing on Lake Fork with two friends. They decided to stop and catch a few crappie for the table. St. Clair didn’t have light tackle with him, so he simply put 12-inches of 8-pound leader and a 1/0 gold Aberdeen hook onto his bass rod and reel, which was loaded with 14-pound line.

The strength of that line and the backbone of the rod played no small part in the battle that was about to occur.

“At first, I didn’t know what I had,” St. Clair told me. “But I never panicked. That’s what helped me get the fish in.

“I put pressure on it, and it started to move. Right away, I thought it might be a big catfish. But it didn’t act like a catfish.”

The fish ran three times, but stayed deep. “I took the time to wear her out,” St. Clair said. “Then I eased her toward the surface.

“When she came up, it was like an exploding buoy coming out of the water. We all were stunned. Then I screamed ‘Get the net!’ at my buddies.”

Once he had her in, St. Clair noted that the big bass “filled the bottom of the boat,” and he saw that the delicate wire hook was bent nearly into a circle. “Once more run and she would have been gone,” he said.

Since that memorable day, the man who works as an educational specialist at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center has learned that his experience was not unique.

Secret: In other words, big bass will eat little baits, just as elephants will munch peanuts.

“I’ve run across numerous examples of others who were doing the same thing (crappie fishing) when they hooked something big,” he said. “A few got them in, and the fish were in the 13-pound range. Others couldn’t do it. I was lucky that I had tackle stout enough to handle the fish.”

Here’s another example of a big bass dining at the hors d’oeuvre tray instead of the buffet table: In April 2006, Randy Beaty Jr. used a 1/8-ounce Blakemore Roadrunner to catch a 15.68-pound bass at Florida’s Bienville Plantation.

And my personal favorite: I caught a 12-pound, 4-ounce largemouth bass on a 3/8-ounce Cordell Spot, while fishing in Mexico’s Lake Guerrero. In case you’re not familiar with it, that lipless crankbait is a mere 3 inches long, seemingly hardly an appetizer for a big bass.

Why do big bass sometimes eat little baits?

Find the answer in Better Bass Fishing.

It’s not yet on the New York Times best-seller list, but it is getting good reviews:

One young reader told me in a letter: “I love the style that it is written in and how you give the reader superb secrets and then build on them through the book.”

Dave Burkhardt, CEO at Triple Fish/Trik Fish LLC added, “It is a super read and any bass fisherman would benefit from picking it up.”