J.B. Webb — Earlier start might be best bet for bass

Staff Writer
Herald Democrat

After two Thursday night fishing trips I decided to see what fishing would be like if I crawled out of, not into our bed.

I set my alarm for 5 a.m. I wanted to be on the water by 6. I called Charlie and he was willing so by 6:15 we made our first stop.

It was getting light enough to turn off my running lights. It was a perfect day: it was cool, the wind was light, and we had clouds. Our first stop was a rock bank we hadn’t fished in a while.

Charlie was still separating his rods when I caught our first bass. He joined in and as we moved down the bank, he missed a fish on his Heddon Chugger Jr. They have been discontinued but can still be found on E-Bay or in collector groups. That old lure makes a very different sound compared to the new Pop R’s.

Still the newer baits get their share of bass. Being old, Charlie and I like to reminisce about the old days when we first started throwing Chuggers. Max Eggleston, a former Outdoor writer for the Sherman Democrat before it became the Herald Democrat, and whose shoes I am still trying to fill, was a Chugger Guru and his stories made you want to run out and buy one.

He wrote a book that can still be found at the Denison library and it’s an interesting read. That lure worked because it became one of Heddon Lures Million sellers. Max was stationed at Perrin Field and flew over the Lake as it was being cleared and filled

When it did open, he had an advantage. He was from Denison and like me grew up with a fishing pole in one hand and a shotgun in the other; in my case it was a 22.

Back to fishing: as it was still early, I was throwing my Black Booyah Moon Talker and as I slow-rolled it by an underwater brush pile something big hit it. I set the hook and tried to get it away from the brush but it wasn’t having any of that and buried up.

It finally got off and I still don’t know what I had on. It was my day. When Charlie missed one on his Chugger, I caught a nice fish on a Bomber 6A. The Bomber 6A is another million seller and is still being made.

I’m old-school and even though I have newer crankbaits those old 6As are hard to beat.

I had Charlie down 3-0 before he put his first fish in the boat, I believe it was a sandbass. Any fish is better than no fish.

On a rocky point my Bomber 6A got hammered. I set the hook and after some serious cranking I got an ugly Flathead Catfish, probably three pounds or more to the boat.

Now having made the mistake of pulling a big catfish in my boat once and getting a slime spot it took a year to get rid of, I unhooked this catfish while it was still in the water. I made a run longer than I usually do to go out of Little Mineral.

In years past striper fishermen would start every morning at the Dam and work their way down the bluffs chasing stripers until at Grandpappy they turned and went out into the lake. This flotilla was generally referred to as the 7th fleet.

What brought this memory back was when I came out of Little Mineral there were boats everywhere from the Tabletop north. I know where all those early morning striper boats were now.

Charlie and I fished some places we had caught fish before on the way back but nobody was home. It was starting to get warm so we called it a day. We had a good morning of bass fishing and catching fish.

We didn’t count but between what we caught and missed or lost getting to the boat would be around 13 or so. In the boat that morning the Catfish was the biggest we could claim as being caught.

Going fishing I suggest you be on the water at dawn. That’s when you see most of the guide boats. My son-in-law John Blasingame of Adventure Texoma Outdoors who strictly fishes artificials, no live bait, says the stripers still come up on top during the day even in the heat. He and other guides I’ve talked to say some mornings there are what looks like acres of the big fish surfacing.

Don’t own a boat and want to get in on this fishing? Hire one of the many guides we have working on Texoma. Get some friends and book a trip; it’s a lot cheaper in the long run than to keep up a boat. Also, you don’t have to go shop for any gear you will need as guides furnish it.

There is a lot more to life in the summer than setting under an air conditioner watching our gloom and doom news reports. Get outdoors — t’s a great world even if it does get a little warmer now as the day progresses.

The upside is the guides usually have you off the lake before God turns the heat up.