ZAPATA, Texas -- I expect three things to happen anytime I go south on a working fishing trip.
1. An unseasonably brutal cold front
3. Fishing success that falls well short of expectations.
Check. Check. Check.
“I hope you brought more clothes than that,” said Californian Skeet Reese who stood bundled in a quilted jacket outside the Holiday Inn early one morning last week.
“Everything I brought with me – right here,” I answered, waving a hand across my body as I dropped camera gear into his boat. “What happened to the 105-degree weather this place had last week?”
“You showed up,” Reese said with a grin.
Less than a mile from where we stood lay Falcon Lake, an 80,000-acre reservoir shared by Texas and Mexico. Often touted as the nation’s best bass lake, Falcon hosted a Bassmaster Elite tournament a few days prior.
I was there as a guest of Lucky Craft Lures, lure sponsors of Reese and fellow pro Kelly Jordon, who stayed after the tournament ended to be our fishing guides for the day.
Both are top-notch pro bass fishermen who did well in the tournament, but emphasized how tough fishing had been.
“You’re not going to catch a lot of fish, but chances of catching 8- to 10-pounders are as good here as they are anywhere,” said Jordon.
The morning spent with Reese indicated it was a lot tougher than that. I never had a bite; he caught three small ones.
Jordon and the Lucky Craft folks had a better morning. They caught four, including 6- and 4-pounders.
We switched boats at noon when Jordon wanted to investigate an area he saw on his graph. It was a rocky, offshore ledge that dumped into a creek channel.
“They have to be there,” he said.
One was. Jordon lost a giant on a crankbait after I pummeled the ledge with a jig.
“We’ll come back later,” the Texan said. “That spot is too good to not hold fish.”
We fished a little more that afternoon but spent most of time doing interviews and photos I was gathering for magazine stories. When we reconnected with Reese and the others, Skeet described a flurry of six bass between 4 and 8 pounds caught in 20 minutes. They came on a new Lucky Craft SKT 110 Mag MR, a 4½-inch, 2-ounce, square-billed crankbait that was the size of a young muskrat.