SAN ANTONIO BASS CLUB and WILDCAT BASS CLUB-CORPUS - December
6, 7 2003 Club Tournaments Results Unremarkable
When the 1:00 pm Sunday weigh-in time rolled around, total count of fish brought to the scales by 34 anglers from the two clubs came to 2. This brought the total for the weekend to 5 fish caught by five different fishermen and women from two clubs. Gary Martin (see picture) picked up all the marbles and claimed Big-Bass/Heavy Stringer honors with a 6.83 lb fish. He located the fish in 15 ft of water and most of the fish this weekend came on watermelon red creature baits like Zoom Brush Hogs or Lake Fork Creatures. Water clarity was good and water temperature was a cool 64 degrees down from 85 in November. This cooler water, combined with spreading of the fish over a lake holding twice as many surface acres at the current level, have both contributed to a slower bite. Good news is that several boats found and boated thirty or more of the 10" to 13" fish in coves at both the upper and lower ends of Falcon.
Some more good news is that the fish stocked earlier have plenty of cover. If we are again able to maintain a stable lake level during a major portion of the spawn this year as we did last year, a second banner class will be available for fishermen and women next year.
October 30, 2003 - Falcon - Submitted by Larry Bridgeman - October started out with good-to-great fishing and a lake level in the mid- 260ft range. As of October30th we had received 5.42 inches of rain. This is not nearly as much as the 10.68 inches of September, but significant none-the-less. The areas around Zapata and down into Mexico received even greater amounts and the flows into the Rio Grande gave us another significant boost in lake elevation. The lake level currently stands at over 277 ft. At a little under 24ft below conservation level, this is the highest level we have enjoyed since January 1995 (277.19 ft).
Lake clarity is improving rapidly after the big rise. The newly flooded vegetation will hold some fish until it sours, but unfortunately it then reduces oxygen levels according to Patks and Wildlife biologists. Fish kills were reported this weekend in two of our better producing areas. According to TPW Chief Biologist Jimmy Dean, lower oxygen content of inflowing silt-laden water often contributes to a fish-kill. Although no big fish were seen floating, thousands of smaller, less tolerant shad and baitfish were killed. These areas will probably be poor producers for a few weeks. The OPEC Tournament anglers were greeted by the first cold Northern of the season on the 24th. Their success, which was good although limited, was more of a "miracle" this year than in the past. Another incident called to our attention last weekend involved a ruptured gas line in the Coyote on the Mexican side. Boats reported some fish killed and some very bad odors produced by bubbling gas.
The good spawn of 2002-2003 has produced a large number of fry and we are seeing fish from 3 to 10 inches schooling and chasing shad in virtually all parts of the lake. The fishermen certainly cannot complain about action, as it is not uncommon to catch 50 to 100 fish a day. In fact, there are so many small fish that finding enough time to work a bait and locate a bigger fish has been a problem. There are some good, solid-fish to be caught either mixed in with the smaller fish or away from the crowded shallows, as several fishermen in the two major-tournaments and three club-tournaments held at Falcon this month found out.
Luis Saldana weighed in an 8.24 lb bass for Big Bass in the October 18, 19 "Copa Tamaulipas" Tournament. Elroy Krueger took home heavy-stringer money for his 10-fish, 2-day limit, that tipped the scales at 38.03 lbs. A total of 84 teams from Mexico and the United States competed for the $25,000 payout in this Miller Life Tournament. Other sponsors included Falcon Lake Tackle and Subway in Zapata. Felipe Perez from China, Mexico won the Shimano rod and reel donated by Falcon Lake Tackle.
We had another 10 lb plus bass caught this month. Ron Wicker, State Park Host, while fishing just prior to the O.P.E.C. Legacy tournament, took this fish on a Norman DLN off the rocks in the State Park area.
Raulsten/Edwards beat out 48 other teams to take top money in the OPEC Tournament weighing 6 fish for 30 .07 lbs. That is over 5 lbs per fish average and they were caught on watermelon-red brushogs. Yes, Falcon is still putting out heavy stringers that other lakes only dream about producing. In addition to the OPEC money, they also received a $100 gift certificate for Falcon Lake Tackle's website E-Store. Big Bass honors and another $100 E-Store certificate went to Michael Jenkins, Portland Texas, for his 8.86 lb bass caught on a Jo-Baby spinnerbait. This fish beat out several other 8lb plus beauties and also the 7.33 lb anchor bass caught by Jo-Baby Lures' owner and heavy stringer winner, Jim Edwards. The red shad 7" plastic Power Worm continued to produce some good fish this month as did blue fleck and watermelon-red anything.
David Herzog's 5.31 lb big striper was good enough for $100 in OPEC money and a $50 Falcon Lake Tackle E-store certificate. For the third year in a row, no white bass were weighed-in and the $100 prize money for Saturday's and Sunday's big white bass went unclaimed.
Catfishing has continued good-to-excellent and some big cats have been coming out of the River with the heavy flow from rains. Five big blue cats including (2) 55 lbers and a 35 lber were taken from the Rio on trotlines by Mario Delgado.
Over a year has passed since Senator Zaffirini (and Congressman Ciro Rodriguez) responded to our requests for intervention in what has been a cycle of neglect and abuse of Falcon by agencies, commissions and departments responsible for decisions and or inactions that have decimated several species of fish, including the white bass, channel cat and crappie.
They scheduled and held a 3-hour hearing on October 30, 2002, which included top-level representatives from Texas Parks and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, International Water and Boundary Commission, Border Patrol and Zapata County Commissioners. The culmination of this meeting was the appointment of a Task Force to lay out a course for Falcon's future and a water plan for the new millennium. The lack of meaningful action in several areas will be the subject for the next task force meeting to be held November 12th at the Zapata Civic Center.
On a positive note, 1500 mature crappie were stocked this month in Falcon. These fish were relocated from Live Oak Reservoir near San Antonio, Texas, which is being drained for dam repairs.
A new and revitalized group known as Save Falcon Lake Association headed by Jim Murray has started to gather names of people who want to help save Falcon and support SFLA's efforts to bring political pressure to impact the TPW and force some changes. The goal is to have about 25,000 members from the Laredo area signup. Please help SFLA by signing up now on Jim's website at www.falconlake.com. (That is about everyone in Laredo and Nuevo Laredo who catches, eats or sells fish and their family members) so we need you to join. Membership is free.
Until next time, quit wishing and go fishing.
May 31, 2003 - Falcon - Submitted by Larry Bridgeman - May Flash Fishing Report - Falcon Lake Zapata Texas- May 31..Falcon benefited a little from the rains of last week and we saw a rise in lake level from 254.82 ft on the 27th to 255 .10 ft as of the last report on the 30th or a .28 ft rise. The fishing has been fair to good depending on whom you talk to and when. May's last Media Tournament at Falcon saw Mike Hawkes and Trent Huckaby weigh 30.44 lbs. for a five-fish Heavy Stringer and 7.85 lb for Big Bass honors taking home $3,000. Second and third place came in South of 20 lbs. It took only 18 lbs. To win last weekend's Atascosa Bass Club Tournament, but Tinker Pfullman's big bass weighed 9.1 lbs. It came off a hardwood in about eight foot of water and the plastic WM Red fluke was the bait that worked the best for most anglers. However, for the past two weeks of May, crankbaits, plastics and spinnerbaits have all been producing strikes.
The large crawdads are still being caught in the lake and below the Dam (see picture). Rumor is they make a tasty crawfish when boiled and seasoned. Stripers have been caught up to 15 lbs and the average size is about 7 lbs. They are being caught in the Dam and Tigers area on spinnerbaits as well as slabs/knockers. Catfishing has been very good with the Rio running from both the Rain and Amistad releases.
May 18..The lake draw down has continued, reaching 255.71 as of May 16. The 2003 lake high level was recorded March 14 at 268.77. That is a total drop of 13.06 ft. In fact, the drought conditions combined with excessive withdrawals by Mexico (with no replacement of water from Mexico's reservoirs) are wreaking havoc with the balance of Falcon's spawn. The lake level is below the weed cover line and predation has now become a severe problem for the new fry. Anglers have reported seeing large schools of fry in forks of hardwood trees, about the only cover available. Some of Mexico's reservoirs are at over 80% capacity (Ex. El Cuchillo 81.78% 5-09-03), but the only water being released and coming into Falcon from Amistad is U.S. owned water. Once again, Falcon's spawn is being sacrificed on the alter of agricultural interests. The aforementioned release from Amistad (about five ft so far) has produced muddy/stained conditions from Zapata all the way down to the Tigers area. Anglers have reported some good success as the lake has concentrated the fish in about 13% of the water that the lake holds at full conservation pool. However, look for more rapid drops down to the mid 245 ft levels as releases from Amistad are about to be halted, due to the Watermaster's concern over lack of water flowing into Amistad from the Rio Grande. The Rio has stopped running at Big Bend for the first time in 50 years and it was reported this week that the brazen Mexico farmers have constructed several dirt Dams across the barely flowing Rio to diver the water to their farms in Mexico.
During the pre-fishing for Media's final 2003 tournament at Falcon, two of the fish caught by one angler weighed an unconfirmed total of 25 pounds. The fishing success has varied from limits to zip, but Carolina-rigged plastics and crankbaits have produced the biggest and most fish. Bass have been found in 5-to-15 ft off rocks and ledges using watermelon, watermelon red and grasshopper colored baits. Crankbait colors have varied from crawdad to chartreuse and everything in between. The difference in catching fish seems to be more technique-oriented then color-based.
Catfishing has been good to excellent on shrimp and worms
and some stripers have been caught off rocks and trees using
spinnerbaits and crankbaits. A number of anglers the past few
weeks have reported seeing and catching giant crawdads. They
will grab baits and feel much like a strike, but if you set the
hook, it will appear to be a missed fish. Some anglers have been
using red plastic brush hogs to attract the giants and pull them
slowly to the boat. These are excellent eating boiled much like
May 6, 2003 - Merideth and MacKenzie
- My son and I drove from Boulder, Colorado to fish
Lake Merideth this last week. NO WATER. They are telling folks
to take their boats off the lake. We ended up going to MacKenzie
Lake. It was GREAT, we caught 90 fish in 3 days, Largemouth Bass,
and many, many Strippers. Looked like the Largemouths are just
getting ready to spawn. If you have some time and don't mind
a smaller lake try MacKenzie, it was terrific. I have fished
almost every state in the U.S. the past 8 years and this lake
ranks up there with the best of them. Don't be fooled by the
flat land around you as you get within 30 miles of the Lake.
You WILL be surprised at the canyons.
April 19, 2003 - Falcon - Submitted by Larry Bridgeman - A couple of the fishermen who live at Tiger Island reported having the best fishing day of their lives on the 16th and the worst day of their lives on the 17th. Other reports continue to indicate fish are in about 5 ft of water still positioned on hardwood and brush. A few sows and a lot of buck bass are being reported on grasshopper colored plastics.
We still have not received any reports of any great number of fish being caught on the rocks or points. Catfishing has picked up some and fairly consistent reports of 2 to 4 lb fish being caughtfrom the bank and boats are coming in. Shrimp and live worms have been the best baits.
Fishing in the river has fluctuated with the additional water being released. Nothing seems to be apparent as a pattern. They are just there on some days and not on others.
We have written letters this week to State and Federal Legislators, the Governor and President, Secretary of State and Watermaster about the Texas Shaft being stuck up Falcon Lake. Hope it gets somone's attention!
April 15 -As I write this report the lake is in a rapid drop mode because of Mexico's drawdown of Falcon which has been taking place for four weeks and has now reached a level of 6800 Acre Feet per day. We dropped to a level of 266.34 ft on 4-18-03, which is down 2.43 ft from the high of 268.77 ft on March 14. This is killing millons of fry that were ready to hatch and it is going to have a serious negative affect on the balance of the spawn. I believe this drop is eventually going to move the fish out off the areas where they have been positioned. The Watermaster has indicated he will be moving some water from Amistad in order to keep the level up over the 257' elevation through the end of May, which is what we requested as a minimum and hoped for better. If he is able to do so, the fry that have hatched will still have some weed cover through that date. After May, the lake level will gradually go back to the 248' levels we saw last summer.
For the last two weeks of March and the first two weeks of April, fishermen and women have repeatedly ask why are the spawned out bass not moving to the points and feeding like in a normal year when they have finished the spawn? Instead, the fish being caught still seem for the most part to be shallow and brush/hardwood oriented off deep creek channels. The plastic bite has remained dominant with a few spinnerbait bites and an occasional lipless crankbait.
Based on reports received and some conclusions by myself and others, I would offer or suggest as a possibility the following scenario:
We have had some fairly warm water although it has fluctuated sporadically since October around the time of OPEC. We know that a partial spawn has been in progress since that time, and since we are still getting reports as recently as April of an 8.2# bass caught shallow and oozing eggs, I have a strong belief that the spawn has not yet concluded for all fish. Further, they have seen a stable lake level of 268' or above for the first time in years. This, together with the abundance of shallow baitfish, may have influenced them to stay in shallow water rather then move out to feed on points and rock piles. However, they are definitely going to be moving deeper (since their old homes are dry) and if it is like last year, some fish will still be dropping some eggs through late May. They may, however, give up on the shallow water pattern or worse, not spawn out at all.
For the past few weeks, one or two fish are being caught per boat with a few good fish and some greater success by better and more persistent fishermen and women and we have also seen some less experienced fishermen with less results. Overall, slow-fair has characterized the bite and the wind, which has averaged over 25 mph to 35 mph daily, has not helped attitudes or success rates.
Going forward, I would look for the bite deeper than during the past few weeks and perhaps a shift to Carolina rigged baits and crankbaits over the next few weeks to the end of May and traditional summer patterns beyond that time.
March 7, 2003 - Falcon - Submitted by Larry Bridgeman - - Reports received yesterday and today clearly indicate the bite to be coming on big time. We have an air temperature of 85 plus degrees, a water temperature of over 70 degrees and the fish have moved into the shallows accompanied by a moderate warming SE winds of 21 mph. One boat reported catching 50 or so fish in the river north of Zapata on a combination of blue glimmer super flukes and Yamosenkos yesterday. Pete and his friend caught 15 fish yesterday and a few more than that today and his assessment is that fishing is fixing to break open. They have landed some 6 pound plus sows in the last few days and if you can take a couple of days off, the signs appear good for a strong bite the next few days.
Pete and his partner stocked up on gourd green lizards and they are going back out tomorrow at safe light. The catfishing has not seen any significant improvement the last few days but our bet is the weekend will bring a change change to those reports.
February 20, 2003 - Falcon - Submitted by Larry Bridgeman - Air Temperatures today started out at 64 degrees, climbed some and then, before evening dropped to 58 degrees. We had a little shower and most of the fishermen loaded up and left the water early. The lake level has risen to 268.67 ft, up .36 ft since the 3rd of February and is now about 32.53 ft low. The combined affect of rising water & cooling water temperatures (about 60 degrees today) has resulted in a slow bite and for some, the term "slow" has to be an exaggeration.
Jim Raulsten and a couple of his friends found a few fish on "Jo Baby Spinnerbaits", which he and Jim Edwards now own. A few other boats had no bites at all and a single fish was the top prize for another boat. Today's north wind never got severe gusting to only about 18 mph, but it was too much for some of our visitors. A group here fishing from Oklahoma City pulled out today and several other vacationers split also with very little to show for their trip except a bottle of Mexican Vanilla and a logo hat both of which were purchased here at Falcon Lake Tackle.
The Oklahoma group that left today demonstrated their contempt for Falcon by filleting two seven-pound fish caught in the back of Salinilias. This was witnessed by the Preacher and it is going to be difficult to welcome this group back next year or give them any help trying to find the fish. However, based on their lack of success for the last two years, this may not prove to be an issue. Now before you decide this is a negative report and switch to another channel, let me say that the same day he witnessed this assassination, the Preacher had caught and released two good fish (sows) weighing 4 Lbs and three additional buck bass. They were in water about knee-deep to mid-thigh high way in the back of creek channels. All the fish went for the 4-inch gourd green lizards dipped in Smelly Jelly. Lee the caretaker from Wolf's Camp was also in today and he claims to be doing well on bass in the mid-lake area. I have to conclude, based on a careful analysis of last weekend's tournament results and current reports that not everyone is getting shut out.
So, here is the bottomline as I see it. The fish have some bite left even if it is slow and whenever we do finally catch a sustained period of seventy to eighty-degree days and warm nights, the water temperature will again elevate to the seventies. I believe the fish are then going to step up to the plate and lay a major spawn on us. This is exactly what happened last year except it happened in late March and April and again in May while they were drawing down the lake. Most of the Winter Texan fishermen had already left following a discouraging winter so they missed some of the best fishing of the year. Thirty-pound day fife fish limits and thirty-fish plus catches were both being reported routinely. The bass clubs that were here early missed the big bite and for many of the dismal weigh-ins, big bass and heavy stringer were the same fish. Do not give up on Falcon as a fishery. She is capable of some heavy stringers and even that once in a lifetime trophy. The more bass we can leave in the lake, especially the big spawners, the better our future fishery will be for everyone.
One couple fishing up the river today for catfish had two 10 Lb and one 5 Lb blue cats. There have been no reports on stripers since the weekend.
Catfishing has been fair according to reports received the
last two days. Stinkbait and shrimp have been working, but so
has live worms and chicken livers.
The main activity at the tackle store for the last few days
has been issuance of Mexican fishing licenses and boat permits
for Amistad tournament fishermen and women. Since the departure
of the previous game warden, procedures for obtaining licenses
have changed as has enforcement over Mexican boat permit regulations.
We have faced this regulation (boat permits) here on Falcon for
some years now, but it is a new imposition for Amistad and fishermen
are understandably upset. I know that the Chamber of Commerce
and B.A.S.S. Federation officials are working to get a waiver
for tournaments, but as yet no success has been reported. Stay
Although we had another front hit us last night, we recorded lows of only 54 degrees so far. The winds gusted to 37 mph and are at 17 mph right now out of the North. There will probably not be a lot of fishing activity for a few days, but since yesterday's Flash Fishing report painted such a bleak picture, I wanted to let all of you contemplating trips to Falcon that warming water can dramatically change the picture as far as bass fishing is concerned.
Hopefully some of you will use this time off-the-water to
write letters to the legislators and TPWD regarding funding of
two additional full-time Lake Wardens positions to put some meaningful
enforcement in place over rampant illegal netting. Also, we need
to blanket Mario Jorge (DOT) with letters demanding a stop light
(not a blinking light) at the entrance to HWY 83 South at County
Road. It was pitiful during last weekend's Media Tournament to
see the string of boats several miles long trying to get out
onto the highway. You also need to flood the County Judge and
Commissioners demanding action on grants to fund low level launching
facilities and dredge access channels from the Rio Grande back
into the Veleno. Also, do not forget to ask them about the movable
pier they have promised for well over a year and the $95,000
grant that is setting in Austin awaiting their action.
I talked to some folks from El Tigre Camp who are considered good fishermen and they have caught no fish for the last four days on the lake. Similar stories have been received from other fishermen out this weekend. One boat reported they caught three stripers to 7 lbs on rattle traps. They never had a black bass bite.
Catfishing has leveled off and can best be described as fair based on reports we have received. The catfish are biting very light right now and are harder to catch than in prior months. Ten-fish a day is about an average catch , but some nice fish are reported being caught up to 7 lbs.
January 26, 2003 - Falcon - Submitted by Larry Bridgeman - The weather has been non-conducive to substantiative fishing reports as well as to successful catches. Yesterday was the official prefish day for Media and it was wet and cold. Moisture ranged from a light mist to a steady saturation and temperatures peaked at 49 degrees. Winds reached a high of 12 mph out of the North and everyone that fished had nearly the same story. Success was measured by number of bites and the few who caught fish seemed reconciled o the fact that Sunday was going to be a slow bite. Plastics and a few spinnerbaits found fish and one fisherman admitted to boating an 8 lber while another lost a similar fish at the boat. As dim as the outlook is someone usually manages to find fish. Check our tournament report this evening for results and pics.
January 22 - Maybelina Update - Well its official..Based on my conversation today with Biologist David Campbell who heads up the TPWD Share-A-Lunker program, the reported 14.05 lb fish weighed in at an actual 11.31lbs. She measured an 18 1/4" girth and was 23 1/2" long. It looks like she had spawned and was sporting some serious damage (blood spots and bruising) on her sides probably from the buck bass courtship. David felt the fish might have gone 13 lbs prespawn. She has been given some antibiotics and is resting in the bottom of the tank. If she survives the ordeal(she is not out of the woods yet), she will be kept on display at one of the hatchery aquariums, but she may or may not be used in the breeding program. David mentioned that two 13lb fish have been received into the Share-A-Lunker program so far this year, one each from Ray Roberts and one from Lake Fork. Maybelina was a beautiful fish no matter what she weighed and we wish her well.
January 22 - Flash Fishing Update - We had a drop dead beautiful day yesterday with almost no fish caught to show for it. Today the front hit and even though it was not severe as Northerns go (temps dropped 20 degrees and North Winds gusted to 16 mph), it made fishing more of a challenge. We had some improved reports by folks who were talking, but the lake goes off limits tomorrow for two days prior to Saturday, the official prefish day, so its anybody's guess whether fishing continues to improve or not.
January 21.. Lake Level 268.27 Temperature high 84 degrees low 54 degrees wind gusting to 12 mph Lake Water Temperature 58 degrees- One of those average 2 to 3 mph windless days and you would have thought the fish would have been turned on. Not so, at least for a number of fishermen reporting that the bite went South. The most fish anyone found was three, based on reports received at Falcon Lake Tackle. This was out of maybe six reports most of which were zero or one reported bites. Plastics still were dominant, but the nice weather did nothing to help the bass start feeding.
January 2, 2003 - Falcon - Submitted
by Larry Bridgeman - Lake Level 268.27 (32.93 Low 12/31
last report) - Temps today reached a high of 63 degrees and this
morning's low temp was 47 degrees-Wind was severe reaching 47mph
in the afternoon. Lake Water Temperature was around 62 degrees.
The local weather guru, Heatwave Berler really did not have a good explanation as to why the Zapata area is seeing twice the velocity of winds that the surrounding area is experiencing. It must be attributable to some gulf anomaly or rising currential vortex activity. Yeah right! Anyway, he feels like the weather for the weekend tournament should be much improved with tolerable winds and nice weather.
The most fish we have heard of anyone catching in the last few days is one or two. Of course, it is pretty difficult to even feel a good bite in a 47 mph wind and the way the fish have been acting recently (light sniff vs. hard hit) it is amazing that any fish have been caught. Look for the water to be in the mid-sixties and color stained for the next few days from all the silt stirred up by the North winds. The same patterns will be in play as the last few weeks and the fish caught have been as shallow as 1 1/2 ft so any where from 1 1/2 ft to 6 ft should be prime territory on hardwoods with adjacent vegetation.
Catfishing has been fair-to-good, a striper bite has not been reported and a large concentration of geese is now reported as having arrived and roosting over in Mexcio.
Source: Texas Anglers like you. Send us a report.
Kansas Angler Online Sponsor
Copyright 1999-2004 by The Kansas Angler - Phone 316-265-5551
Questions or problems with this website should be directed to webmaster.
This page last updated on date shown at top.