By Shane Beilue
April 18, 2012
Lake Falcon, about an hour south of Laredo on the Texas/Mexican border, has to be the hottest big bass lake in the country. As evidence, consider a recent one day regional team tournament that required 5 bass weighing 30 pounds to simply cash a check – the winner in this event weighed over 45 pounds. Yep, as you double check the math, that’s a 9 pound average.
The cover that holds Lake Falcon’s bass consists of submerged rock and bushes that extends from the shoreline to the base of the Rio Grande river channel that forms the border between Texas and Mexico. More often than not, the schools of big fish are relating specifically to the rock at depths from 10 to 30 feet deep.
A group of us recently returned from deep south Texas and found pre-spawn and post-spawn bass relating to rock outcroppings and points in 10-15 feet of water. While we didn’t connect with any double-digit bass, we were able to enjoy days of multiple bass in the 3-7 pound range. Deep diving crankbaits deflected off the rocks proved to be successful throughout the week, as well as a variety of Yamamoto soft plastics rigged multiple ways. Perhaps the following synopsis on rigging these soft plastics will benefit you, as well.
The 4” GYCB Kreature bait is a very versatile soft plastic for a variety of applications. I used the watermelon with black and gold flake (5-07-323) Carolina rigged along the deep rocky outcroppings to catch several nice fish throughout the week. I really like the Kreature bait on the Carolina rig, as its twin set of appendages create a bulky target for the bass to hone in upon as it bounces across the bottom. I use a rather short, 18” flourocarbon leader in 15# test, as I think the ¾-1 ounce weight bouncing over the rocks gets the bass’ attention; therefore, I want the Kreature bait in close proximity to the weight.
I’ve also converted most all of the hooks I use on a Carolina rig to the Owner Rig’N Hook, as the hook is plenty strong; however, not so heavy that it negatively impacts the action of the soft plastic bait. The other nice feature about this hook is the wide gap design allows the bait to slide out of the way on the hook set and not ball up to hinder the penetration of the hook point. For the GYCB Kreature Bait, try the 3/0 (58-05-30) or 4/0 (58-05-40) Owner hook.
The 4.5” Flappin’ Hog is equally versatile, but lacking the curly appendages found on the Kreature Bait. Again, I like a bulky bait that will attract bigger bass and the larger Flappin’ Hawg is an ideal choice. For Lake Falcon, I threaded the bait on a 3/4 oz Gamakatsu Football Jighead with Weedguard (sku 44W-04-034) and hopped it across the deep rock piles. The key word in that last statement is “hop”, as this seemed to be the method the bass were looking for. Perhaps the clicking of the heavy lead head on the hard rocks attracts the bass, but I think the short 3-4” hops creates a reflex strike as the bass draws near the bait.
As a rule, mix up your retrieves from time to time when fishing a jig to see what the bass are keying on, as we also hooked a few bass as we started reeling the bait off the bottom to make the next cast. The gnarly rock piles on Falcon have a lot of crevices that tend to create constant hang-ups, which is why the football shaped jig head is a good choice when fishing rock with sparse brush.
Finally, the Texas-rigged Senko is a staple in most fishing arsenals throughout the country and this bait is always a good choice for Lake Falcon bass. I like a 3/8 ounce weight, as it gets to the 10-15’ bottom quickly and can be fished effectively in or near standing brush. If the wind gets up, which is common throughout Texas, upsize the weight to ½ ounce in order to keep contact with the bait. The number one color choice on Falcon is watermelon with red flake, which is color 925 in the GYCB lineup. I also like green pumpkin/watermelon laminate (912), as well.
When the bass move into the shallow brush to feed and/or spawn, any of the above baits are excellent choices for pitching and flipping directly into the brush. The key here is to pitch the bait into the heart of the bush, as this is where most strikes will occur day in and day out. 20-25# test fluorocarbon, monofilament or 65# braid is mandatory for getting a good fish out of this thick cover, as well as a long, heavy action rod.
Due to its remote location, Lake Falcon requires a long drive for almost every visitor to the lake. This hasn’t hindered the crowds during the past few months, as the parking lots have been chock full of trucks and boat trailers since Christmas. Likely, the heavy crowds will continue until the south Texas heat sets in around early summer; however, the fishing will remain good this spring, in spite of the fishing pressure.
If planning a trip to south Texas, book your rooms in Zapata, TX well in advance, as most motels are at full capacity for 2-3 weeks out. Also, the number of fishermen and oil field workers in town have the restaurants maxed out, so the waits can be an hour or more to get a plate of enchiladas or a chicken fried steak. In spite of the long drive and potentially slow service, the chance of catching the bass of a lifetime remains high on Lake Falcon. Just make sure to stock up on plenty of GYCB plastics, as you’ll need ‘em!