There is truth in the adage that “fish are where you find them,” but on a lake as big as Texoma, it pays to have a little help in the form of a fishing guide. Lake Texoma is striped bass country — Morone Saxatillis if you can find a fish that speaks Latin — and anglers come from all over the county in search of the big ones. That is where guides come in.
“You want to get a guide, so you can catch fish,” John Blasingame of Adventure Texoma Outdoors said. “Because I fish every day, and I stay on top of the patterns the fish have. There is no substitute for that kind of experience. I know where the fish are and what kind of baits they are taking.”
Fishing with Blasingame, or the other guides, is a turnkey operation.
“You would bring yourself, a Lake Texoma fishing license if you are between ages 17 and 65, a cooler with drinks and snacks, and sunscreen,” he said. “I’ll pretty much handle everything else.”
That limit is 10 fish per day per person. At day’s end, Blasingame cleans your catch and sends you home with a nice stack of striper fillets. He also offers a recipe.
“Striper fish tacos,” he said.
Blasingame brings a lifetime of experience along for the ride, and in his case, something else.
“I’m about the only guide on the lake who fishes with artificial lures, no live bait,” Blasingame said. “The local people like that because they want to know how to catch fish without messing with live bait. They don’t want to go get bait; they want to catch fish. Just about anybody can go out with a bucket of shad, and catch fish; I teach people how to do it with artificial bait.”
The bait may be artificial, but the fish are real, so are, we suspect, the striper fish tacos.
Mike Beeson and his brother, David, have been fishing guides on Texoma for 28 years, and own Four Seasons Guide Service.
“We know where to catch fish on a consistent basis,” Mike Beeson said. “Being on the lake every day, we know where the fish are, and if they’re biting, we’ll catch fish.”
Fishing skills usually are not a factor when engaging a guide.
“We work with some of the most experienced fishermen to some people who have never fished in their lives,” Mike Beeson said. “We go for trophy blue cats on the river sometimes, but mainly we fish for stripers. Texoma is the largest fresh water lake in the world with reproducing stripers in it, so stripers are the primary game fish around here.”
As with other guides, the Beesons provide the angler with everything required for a day on the water — boat, tackle and bait. At the end of the day, they will send you home with your catch cleaned, filleted and ready for the pan or the freezer.
“By the time you get ready to leave, you’ll be almost as smart as we are,” Mike Beeson said with a chuckle.
Darrell Woodson’s Big D’s Fishing Guide Service operates out of Lighthouse Marina.
Stripers, or striped bass are native to the North American Atlantic coastal waters. They are anadromous, migrating to fresh water to spawn, like salmon. The stripers were common in early colonial fisheries, and in modern times, state game and fish commissions introduced the fish into the ecosystems of large impound reservoirs for both game fishing and to control the population of gizzard shad. The stripers in Lake Texoma are the backbone of the area’s recreational fishing business.
The striper schools migrate with the seasons.
“In spring, they’re going to go up the lake and streams to spawn; then they’ll come back into the main lake,” Woodson said. And it is as simple as that. Fish are where you find them, but having an experienced guide to show the way can be the trump card for a fisherman — veteran or novice.