<
>

Del Rio whoppers

12/29/2006

Hook up your boat, get in your truck, and head to Del Rio, Texas, because all you have heard about Amistad is true. If you love bass fishing you owe it to yourself to make a trip down here.

In addition to the friendly, clean, and convenient little community of Del Rio, the fishing is something to write home about.

It took 37 pounds to make the Top 50 cut. For those that are mathematically challenged, that's 18.5 pounds per day. It's taking 27 pounds a day to be in the lead. I'm out there catching my measly little 3 pounders like they are going out of style, knowing that I need to be catching 4's and 5's.

It's just sick. Sick bass fishing. I have never weighed in so many fish and done so poorly in a tournament.

Amistad is absolutely full of fish. There are places here you can pull into and cast in any direction and get a bite; and that is not an exaggeration. The trick — that I obviously didn't pick up on — is figuring out how to catch 4's and 5's or get an 8-pound bite every day. I caught several 7's and 8's in practice, but never had a big bite during derby days.

You can also catch fish on just about any bait or technique that you want to use. I caught fish this week on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, hard jerkbaits, dragging a Carolina rig, Texas rig, and soft jerkbaits. The only thing I didn't get bit on was a topwater bait, but I am sure there is a part of the lake where there is a topwater bite. Right now, there are pre-spawn, spawning, and post-spawn fish to be caught — and any phase of the spawn has enough numbers and size to win the tournament!

On many of the lakes we visit during the course of the Elite Series season, there will be one or two techniques and one phase of the spawn that will be the most productive. Not this week on Amistad. This place fishes wide open and fish can be caught however you like to catch them.

You can also catch fish in any part of the lake you want to visit. I didn't go anywhere on the lake in five days that I didn't get some bites. They may have been just keepers, but they are swimming everywhere.

Bottom line — grab a bag of Bass Pro Shops Stick-O's and head to South Texas. Don't buy the little bag either because you will need not ten-count bags, but hundreds. At the end of the day, you will have a small graveyard of soft plastics in the bottom of your boat. Man what a beautiful sight — all those dead rubber worms.

Amistad impressions

Mesquite and some other type of tree down here are not very wrap friendly. In fact, I think it is their mission in life to chew up wrapped boats, as witnessed by the some of the torn vinyl this week on Amistad.

We have never had crowds of people at registration. There have been a few die-hard fans that would show up at some of the events, but not like we had Wednesday night in Del Rio. Could it be that the media machine of ESPN is getting the word out or is this town just crazy about bass fishing? Probably a little of both.

Imagine standing in your boat in the middle of crystal clear water looking at cactus. The stark difference in environments on Amistad is amazing. The land surrounding the lake is arid, rocky, scrubby, and dotted with cactus. I keep expecting to see Clint Eastwood ride over the top of one of the surrounding low hills with his poncho over his shoulder — definitely in the West of Hollywood. The dry landscape goes right down to the pristine waters with visibility down to 25 feet. What a contrast.

Del Rio has thrown out the red carpet for us this week. We have never visited a community that made such a big deal of a bunch of guys chasing fish around a pond. What a great community a nice group of people.

Will BASS come back to Amistad? There will be a mob of unhappy anglers if we don't. Someone said earlier in the week that we need to just have all the tournaments here. Another angler threatened to stir up a lynch mob and hang Trip Weldon if we didn't start here next year. I can't imagine that this won't be a regular stop for a few years.