Ryan, assistant manager at ACK San Marcos, headed out for a day of bass fishing with Grant on the San Marcos River. Little did he know it would turn into a personal best!
Grant and I started things off planning our trip based on the forecast. We typically like to be on the water at or before sunrise but this time decided to launch at 8:30. The reason being was that it was supposed to be partly cloudy until about 10 am, when the wind was supposed to shift to the North East and the sun was supposed to come out. The sun was the key. Leading up to the trip, it had been very cold, very windy and cloudy. After not seeing the sun for days I knew those river bass would be hungry!
Statistically in Texas all of the biggest bass are caught in the month of January and I knew this beforehand so we decided to forego the fly rods and bring out the conventional tackle. We were targeting river bass of all species but it seemed like all of the Lunker Large Mouths were in a feeding frenzy. Less than ten minutes after launching I landed the first fish, a 13 inch large mouth. I had a feeling it was going to be a good day.
About a half mile downstream I hooked into something good and she took off. I fought her for about two minutes before going airborne and spitting my lure right back in my face. She was easily a four pound largemouth that I had lost! I was already kicking myself at losing my one opportunity at a big river bass. It seemed to be a reoccurring theme for my trips. Little did I know this was not going to be my only opportunity… not by a long shot.
I was still beating myself up after losing the last fish as we were approaching the first section of water that is shallow and swift moving. I casted to a spot behind a rock that was in less than three feet of water and in a nice sunny spot and it was no more than 12 feet away from my boat. I tried to move my bait and thought I was hung on the rock so I paddled a little bit closer. As I did so the so called “rock” I had hooked took off with blazing speed. Instinctively I ripped my rod back at the right angle and set the hook. Seconds later the biggest bass I have ever laid eyes on in person surfaced and jumped almost completely out of the water trying to throw my hook and she was less than three feet from my kayak! I knew this fish would be a new personal best for me so I HAD to land it! Normally when I hook into a fish of this caliber and I know I have a good hook set I just sit back and hold on. Some people refer to this as a sleigh ride but I like to put my own twist on it and call it a Central Texas Sleigh Ride.
Where I hooked up with this Lunker was going to take much more finesse than just holding on. I hooked her in moving water, in a large Eddy that was about 10 feet long by 10 feet wide, just big enough to fit my Moken 10. The rock she was hiding behind and another rock approximately 7 feet down river formed this Eddy and immediately after the farther rock the river gets real shallow, I am talking 8 inches at most. So I knew if I did not keep her in the Eddy that she would get so beat up on the rocks going down river she might not make it. Over half the battle was keeping her in the eddy, when she would try to break out I would use my weight and the weight of the boat to keep her inside. During the whole fight we did not move more than six feet from where I hooked up because every time I brought her back into the Eddy she would hit that Eddy line and we would go in a circle. It seemed like she spun me around 10 times or so but in reality it was probably closer to 3 or 4 times. Finally landed her and let out a yell of triumph! Needless to say Grant and I were in awe of this Behemoth of a River Large Mouth! She was 7 pounds on the nose and just under 25 inches in length. We took lots of pictures and released her safely to keep those Big Bass genes in the River.
After that I felt like I was done for the day and we were not even a 1/3 of the way through our trip! Pretty hard to top your personal best! Feeling rather accomplished with my feat I began to fish much more lazily and was trying to put Grant on a nice fish because I fish the San Marcos much more than he does. Just over an hour after catching my personal best I hooked into another nice one.
I yelled over to Grant, “Got a good one on, it’s at least 4 pounds.” Just as I finished my sentence she jumped and I saw a gaping mouth wide open facing me. I remember saying “Well, Grant its way bigger than four,” to which his responded, “You have got to be kidding me!” I hooked this one in open water so she towed me around 40 yards or so and then I landed her! 6 pounds on the nose after quickly measuring with my Boga Grips! Two of the three biggest river bass I have ever caught in one day! I remember asking Grant over and over “was that real?” “Did I really just catch a 7 pound bass out of the river….and then an hour later catch a 6 pounder?” I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming! At the very end of the trip I hooked up with a 5 pounder but lost it after short fight but I could not complain!
After it was all said and done I had caught over 20 pounds of bass by myself including three different species: Large mouth, Small Mouth, and Guadalupe. It was the best day I have had on the River yet!