Texas, USA: Largemouth and Striped Bass

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Americans are obsessed with bass and fast boats…and who can blame them? Fun on the lure or the worm, on the fly largemouth and striped bass provide a fight and challenge that is addictive.

And when it comes to purpose-built lakes for bass, Texas has the market cornered. Texans take their lakes seriously, creating some enormous waterbodies in the 20th century and stocking them with a choice selection of anglers’ favourites as fingerlings. Decades on and these lakes regularly produce record-sized champion specimens.

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Striped-bass-on-the-fly
Our preferred fishing spots, Lakes Fork and Texoma, are both within two hours of Dallas, and as stocked bodies of water, there is no closed season…perfect for adding a bit of fluff-flicking (or worm-bashing) to a sporting agenda, or making a detour for recreation to a business trip.

While both of these species are big-mouthed aggressive feeders that like to hang out around structures in the water, you’d expect to find stripers in saltwater and largemouth in fresh. The size of Texoma enables the lake to defy the laws of nature and sustain a breeding population of stripers, turning them into a formidable freshwater foe. Expect a hard hitting sport fish and you won’t be disappointed.

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He-swallowed-the-fly
Compare the size of their mouths to their body and there’s no question as to the origins of the sobriquet ‘largemouth’.
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Bass-boat-SLIDER

SEASON

All year round.

Best time for the really big largemouth bass is in the early spring when they move into shallow water pre-spawning.

For striped bass the best time is during the summer when the surface feeding blitz’s can last for hours giving the opportunity to cast poppers and surface lures to hard feeding fish.

KIT & CLOTHING

Despite the belief that Texas is hot, during the winter and early spring  it can be extremely cold and good warm clothing will be required. In the summer clothing with built in SPF is recommended along with hats and polarized sunglasses.

Boots are not needed as all fishing is done from boats, please no black soles.

Rod

9ft and rated for a 7-8 wt line

Lines

Floating lines will cover most scenarios but it is useful to have sink-tip line during colder weather.

Flies

A selection of streamers such as Zonkers, Wooly-buggers, Clousers and Muddler minnows will cover most subsurface situations. For warmer weather a range of poppers, sliders and gurglers is recommended.

Fishing tackle can be supplied for those who do not want to travel with their own

GROUP SIZE

Two to six rods

AIRPORT OF ARRIVAL

Dallas Fort Worth

VISAS & LICENCES

Travelling to the USA requires a visa to be obtained prior to take off, these can be  obtained online form US Customs and Border Protection Agency.

Fishing licences will be arranged by Outside Days.

MEDICAL REQUIREMENTS

None

INSURANCE

For foreign trips we recommend that individuals take out holiday insurance.

TIPS

Tips to the fishing guides and lodge staff are expected.

CURRENCY

US dollar

TIME ZONE

GMT -6

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Large-mouth-bass-fishing-SLIDER

Impounded in 1980 and stocked with Florida-strain largemouth bass (the informed bass angler’s strain of choice), Lake Fork is 27,000 acres of big bass factory. In addition to having created the ideal habitat, littered with fishing structures, dead timber and aquatic plants, a catch and release policy that means all bass between 16 and 24 inches must be released has seen a bass boom in the population of adult fish. In a state that takes pride in its renowned bass lakes, Lake Fork has a reputation for massive fish: of the top 15 largemouth bass caught in Texas, only three were caught in another lake.

Lake Fork also wins top marks for convenience: it’s just two hours from Dallas Forth Worth airport, and thirty minutes from a number of cities. Its reputation has made it a fishing mecca, with a plethora of motels and shops springing up to cater to fishermen. Having said that, fish on a Monday and you’ll probably have the lake pretty much to yourself.  With no closed season, temperatures below freezing a rarity, night fishing available in the heat of the summer, and a plethora of coves in which to fish out of the wind, Lake Fork offers fabulous largemouth bass fishing year-round. Perfect for combining it with hogs or bobwhite quail over pointers for a multi-quarry trip.

Striped-bass-SLIDER

Straddling the border between Texas and Oklahoma (hence the creative hybrid name), Lake Texoma is 75 miles north of Dallas and 121 south of Oklahoma City. The lake was initially envisioned as a hydropower reservoir and to control flood water on the Red and Washita Rivers: the Denison Dam was completed in 1944, a collaboration between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and prisoners of war. Texans have a reputation for liking everything that little bit bigger…and at 89,000 acres with over 580 miles of bank (and this increases to 141,000 acres during a flood), Lake Texoma is pretty large. To translate Texoma to a British scale, at 3,100 acres, Rutland Water would fit into Texoma almost thirty times over!

Today, some six million visitors flock to the recreational opportunities the lake provides. The lake includes two wildlife refuges, two state parks, numerous U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-managed parks, some lavish resorts, hundreds of campgrounds and a variety of excellent golf courses. Couple this with a vast array of water-based activities, and it doesn’t take a leisure professional to tell you that Texoma’s size makes it possible to provide an outdoor adventure playground that caters to all tastes…but what Texoma is really famous for is its striped bass, stripers to the natives.

Stripers are fast-growing and long-lived, reaching 10 to 12 inches in their first year and attaining weights over 40lbs. The current Texoma caught record stands at 35lb 12oz. Stripers are voracious feeders and consume any small fish and a variety of invertebrates that cross their paths. Lake Texoma holds the adult striper’s preferred foods (gizzard and threadfin shad) in abundance.

A diversity of fishing and leisure options and convenient distance from Dallas make Lake Texoma a perfect location for combining fishing with hogs or bobwhite quail over pointers for a multi-quarry trip.