Guest Blogger Fishing Report: Welch Lake

This story was originally published by Michael Banks of “Friends of the Neches River“, an organization formed to preserve, protect and restore the wild and scenic Neches River to provide outdoor opportunity and enjoyment of this natural and cultural resource for present and future generations.

Welch Lake was not a slam dunk as I expected; several of you requested a report anyway so here goes.

I waited out the rain and put in at 10:00 am at the only public boat ramp which is on the west side of the lake off FM 1735. From the pictures attached you can see the fog coming off the water as Welch is a warm water lake. From the picture also you can see my rig for transport of my kayak. I have a “Y” rack with rollers which fits into my trailer hook up. In the front I have a saddle carrier with straps, so I can tie it down in the front and back. This rig carries my yak very well. I had rather not have to lift it that high but the rollers work well once it is up there. Also, if you look close in the pic you can see the wind is pretty strong coming straight into the launch. This presented a fishing problem for awhile. I would have to paddle into the wind to be able to drift for casting OR go across the lake to find a protected cove. After struggling with it for a while I chose the latter.

When you fish a new lake it is an experiment. You have to find where the fish are and what they are biting. One guy told me they were up close to the bank and hitting top water plugs. I tried and nothing happened so I don’t think he was an angel – probably the opposite – a jealous, fishing devil.

I finally hooked up about fifteen yards from the bank in 8-10 ft. of depth using a green, power worm with a light weight Texas rig (1/8 oz.).

I caught three good bass and lost three others with one of which could have been a hog. I never saw it but it sure felt big.

I took out at 4:00 pm and a guy was taking out his $30,000 bass boat and he said he had been fishing since 6 am and only caught 3, not as big as my catch.

Overall it was a great day; not the slam dunk I expected, but a winner – I paddled about 4 miles, caught some fish and made it home. I can’t ask for more.

I tried to take one pic of me, the yak, and the water – sort a dorky.

Till we put in again,
Michael Banks, DDS
Friends of the Neches River

Lake Athens Angel

This story was originally published by Michael Banks of “Friends of the Neches River“, an organization formed to preserve, protect and restore the wild and scenic Neches River to provide outdoor opportunity and enjoyment of this natural and cultural resource for present and future generations. Thanks for sharing this short story with us Michael…great cause, great story and great catch!

Have you ever seen an angel? No, I mean talked to an angel and then later realized it really was an angel. That happened to me today.

Michael's Share Lunker Big Bass at 13.6 LBs! Picture by Larry Hodge, TPWD

I stopped in the parking lot at the Lake Athens Marina and was checking the launching situation when this guy pulled up in an old pickup and stopped beside me, not in a parking space, just up besides me. He said, “You goin’ fishin’?” (I thought, duh, here’s your sign!) But I only said yes. He said, “Well we really caught ‘em yesterday on Cedar Creek, but I burned up my battery on my boat and can’t go today.” I said, “That’s too bad”, picking up he was looking for conversation and I wasn’t. He said, “I fish this lake a bunch and really like it.” Seeking information, I asked, “What were you using yesterday and where do you fish here?  I have only fished here a couple of times.” He said, “We were using them wacky worms without any sinkers. You see them boat houses over there?” I said “Yea.” He said, “Not them, those over there with the brown tops.” I said, “Yea.” He said, “You fish out in front of them if the grass ain’t too high. If they ain’t there, then you fish up at that point. And you see that bank over there? Go right up next to that. See that pipe over there? If they ain’t down there, they will be over there.”

I was getting anxious to launch so I thanked him and told him I hoped he got his boat fixed so he could go fishing. I then got in my truck and drove over to the other side of the boat launch. I do not know if he drove off, parked or puff – vanished. I usually can recognize folks after talking to them but later I realized I could not remember what he even looked like.

But I did use a power bait worm with no weight and I did hook up with fish at the places he mentioned. That’s when I realized the old man was an angel.

I caught ten bass between 1:30 pm and 4:30 pm; I had 5 strikes (bites) I did not catch; it did not rain while I was on the water; temperature was 75 degrees.

The obsession is not about the trophies. Obsession is with the experiences.

Michael Banks, DDS
Friends of the Neches River