Some of our local tournament fishermen who fished the Bud Light Trail Sherman Division opener February 1 already have a tournament under their belt. For the much larger group of recreational and occasional tournament fishermen waiting for milder times, I’ve got a few suggestions to help you pass this cold time.

Some of our local tournament fishermen who fished the Bud Light Trail Sherman Division opener February 1 already have a tournament under their belt. For the much larger group of recreational and occasional tournament fishermen waiting for milder times, I’ve got a few suggestions to help you pass this cold time.


Now I’m going to plead guilty to the main point of this article: despite taking my own advice I’m still not where I need to be.


Let me take some of my fishing readers back aways. Long ago I had, and still have, two friends. In the time period I’m going to talk these two were two of the most consistent tournament fishermen on Texoma.


One of them still fishing today, Johnny Thompson, is in my opinion one the top five local anglers fishing Texoma. The other friend, Jeff Smart, for some reason sold all his tackle, sold me his boat and took up golf and Harley riding.


Johnny and Jeff were hard to beat as anyone who fished a tournament they were in will testify to. Now here is where the story gets tied together. Today look in my or other tournament or just non-competitive Bass fisherman’s boat and you will see nothing but tackle boxes and more lures than some tackle stores have on their shelf.


When I picked up Jeff’s boat we were unloading it and he only had four clear storage boxes. We got to talking and he said basically of all the tournaments they won, they did it with five baits — jigs with Uncle Josh Pork Frogs, Crank baits, Spinner Baits, Top waters, and Plastic worms in a limited number of colors.


Today most of us carry way to much tackle with us. But if we get honest we probably do 90 percent of our fishing with 20 baits or less. Now, like everyone else, as new lures and fishing techniques come out like the Drop shot, Shaky head, the multi arm A Rigs, and new Deep Diving and shallow crank baits that will hit bottom in 20-30 foot of water on light line or shallow square bills run 1-3 feet deep, we just have to have one. Soon our boat is fuller than it was.


It takes a lot of will power to do what I am going to suggest, I weaken every time and don’t do what I set out to completely. Carry all of the tackle in your boat in where it’s warm. Then start sorting it out. You know what lures you use most and what colors work best for you. Start dividing them up.


Jeff and Johnny’s secret was they only carried a limited number of colors and baits A tackle rep once said to me all lures are made in colors to catch fish but an even larger number of fishermen. You might want to get a stout drink or a six pack cause this isn’t as easy as you think it’s gonna be and will take awhile depending on how much stuff you own.


Pick out baits that match the bait in the lake you are going to fish and ones you use most often. After sorting out your selection, put the rest up in boxes in your shop or house.


Then give those baits you selected a good look over; some might need new hooks or other improvements, and some maybe have a crack that can be sealed or sprayed with clear coat to save what paint might be left on them.


You know what works on Texoma for you. If you are going to another lake asking questions on Texas Fishing Forum will let you find out what colors are best on the lake and depth you need to start at. Then you go in and get some empty boxes and load them up with the lures you might not have in the ones you carry in your boat.


Getting this extra weight out of the boat will let you save gas and run faster. By not having to move the boat store looking for something can save you fishing time.


Bass fishing on Texoma is slow but if you find them catches are heavy. The Bud Light Tournament out of Highport last Saturday had 51 boats entered. They only managed to catch 71 fish with five limits — 27 teams zeroed, and seven had one fish per boat.


Now when a fish was caught they were nice ones. The 71 fish weighed 240 pounds and averaged 3.39 pounds each. Some hogs came to the scales — Kelly Langhorne and Jason Ramage had an 8.36-pounder for big bass.


First place was Luke and Tammy Palmer with 24.46 pounds, second was Johnny Thompson with 21.15 pounds, third was Shone Nix and James Rigdon totaled 17.22 pounds, fourth was Mike and Rob Burns with 16.56 pounds and fifth was Larry Bench and Ron Sauceman with 15.24 pounds.


There were some seven, six and five-pound bass also caught. For fish caught per hours, fished it was still at best a fair tournament fish wise.


Another Lone Star Share Lunker, number 554, was caught in a Media Bass Tournament on Lake Palestine February 1.


The fish weighed 13.22 pounds and it replaced Lunker Number 545 caught in 2013 in the same lake — a 13.14-pounder on the same day in another Media event. The fish came on a Speed Craw out of the Kickapoo arm in 10-12 feet of water.