Cove Bass Club competes in Texas State Championship
By JACK JOHNSON
ZAPATA - The Texas Association of Bass Clubs (TABC) conducted the Texas State Championship Tournament on Sept. 30 through Oct. 1 on Falcon Lake in Zapata,. 28 Teams from all over the state attended the tournament for the bragging rights of being the Texas State Champions.
The teams were faced with some of the worst fishing conditions that I have ever had to experience. Northwest of Zapata and Lake Amistad they had received over seven inches of rain a day for over three consecutive days and were flooding bad in the Rio Grande River basin. Based on all that rain Lake Amistad had to release water to accommodate all the floodwater that was being forced into the lake. Needless to say, that released water had no place to go but into Falcon Lake. To add insult to injury, there were heavy rains in the Zapata area on the 24th and 25th of September which also drained into the lake. All this water mixed with the silt from the runoff to turn the upper parts of the lake into a mud bowl. That mud bowl was also filled with floating debris that came rushing down the river on the swift current. Our team floating down the river headed for the Falcon Dam saw whole trees. Logs, cane, grass, and muddy silt were all being mixed and forced down the river.
The Copperas Cove Bass Club competitors consisted of four boats and eight fishermen that were selected to represent their club based on their positions at the end of the year in 2016. The “Top 8”, as we call them, get to represent the club in the following years state championship tournament. Representing the Copperas Cove area and the Copperas Cove Bass Club were four boat teams:
Team 1: Steve Mallett, (Boater) Team Captain / Jack Johnson
Team 2: Randy Fesler, (Boater) / Bob Bingle
Team 3: Bob George, (Boater) / Ron Hitz
Team 4: Wayne McKee, (Boater) / Mike Baumann
Our team was fortunate enough to be able to plan for three days of practice prior to the tournament. During the practice the Team Captain broke the lake down into four equal parts and on Practice day 1 all of the teams explored the upper end of the lake to try to locate concentrations of fish. However due to the lake conditions and the extremely muddy water we were not able to locate many fish in the upper end.
On practice day two the team explored area further down the lake hoping to find some clearer water that would be more conducive to an active bite. Again all that was found was muddy conditions and few fish were caught.
On our final day of practice the team elected to launch at Falcon State Park near the Falcon Dam and explore areas on both the Mexican and US sides. Most of the day each of the teams searched for area with concentrations of fish that would help the team catch at least four limits of fish. Two of the teams explore the Tiger Arms while the other teams explored the Mexican side of the lower lake. Mallett and Johnson decided to start their search fishing the riprap along the dam. Within an hour after starting Jack had boated a 7.36 and a 6.53-pound bass.
Likewise, Mallett had boated four other keeper bass. By the end of the practice day, after talking with all the other teams we decided to start the tournament on the dam and remain there all day.
On day one, the team launched and moved directly to the Mexican side of the dam. We spaced out our boats to leave little area for other boats due to the 150’ space rule in place By TABC. Overnight the lake had rose over four feet in depth. This significant rise was immediately noticed by every fisherman and made the bite very difficult. However, Team 1 limited out with five fish, one of which was a 7.58 pounder caught by Mallett. Team 3 also limited out but they were all barely keeper fish. Team 2 had three fish, two of which died due to being gut hooked, and Team 4 only brought two fish to the scales. After weigh-in the Copperas Cove Bass Club Teams were in 7th Place with a total weight of 32.88 pounds.
On day two, the team elected to return to the dam area again hoping for better luck. When we arrived the lake had risen another six feet, or more, and much of the debris that had been floating down the river had now arrived at the dam. Needless to say, this significant rise in the water level and the amount of debris was a real challenge for the fishermen. We all gave it our best shot. At the end of the day we all returned to weigh in our fish at 1 p.m. Team 1 had a five-fish limit, team two had only three fish, Team 3 had three fish and team four only had one fish. We were very disappointed with our weight, 15.93 pounds, and knew it was going to hurt us in the standings.
After the weigh-in was completed, Cove ended up in 10th Place for the tourney. While we were disappointed in the finish, it was still and improvement over the previous year’s championship results.
If you are interested in bass fishing and the sport come join the Copperas Cove Bass Club and maybe in a couple of years you to may be able to compete in the Texas Association of Bass Club’s State Championship tournament. If you are interested give our president, Randy Fesler, 512-525-2847, or VP Ron Hitz, 254-383-5983 a call or come join in at one of our meetings. The meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the first and third Thursday of every month at Little Tex restaurant in Cove. You may also visit our website at www.CopperasCoveBassClub.com.