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There’s no better place on the planet to chase trophy bass than Texas. Oh sure, you may find bigger fish in places like Florida and California, but when it comes to the variety of fishable waters and shear numbers of fish, there’s no competing with the virtually unlimited opportunities available in the Lone Star State.

And our readers confirmed as much last summer.

Home to some of the best bass fishing lakes in the country, including Lake Fork and Toledo Bend, Texas consistently produces both quantity and quality bass. It has a distinct edge over everyone else considering its sheer size and abundance of fishable waters, but programs like ShareLunker and Operation World Record are really starting to improve on the already stellar quality of Texas largemouths; five, six and seven-pound fish are becoming more and more common.

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From world-class lakes and rivers right down to the humble ranch tank, this is as good as it gets for bass fishing, and we’re going to break down exactly where, when and how you should be fishing for bass in Texas.

WHERE TO FISH

One of the great things about bass fishing is you can do it anywhere. Park ponds, golf course water hazards, creeks; if it’s a perennial body of water, it probably holds bass. So don’t ever let a lack of lake access keep you from fishing; one of the best bass I ever hooked came out of a stock tank on a friend’s ranch.

But Texas is definitely well-known for having several world-class lakes. Within driving distance of every major metro in the state, there are at least half a dozen incredible bass fisheries: Squaw Creek Reservoir (Fort Worth), Lake Fork (Dallas), Sam Rayburn (Houston), Lake Travis (Austin), Canyon Lake (San Antonio). Not to mention more remote locations like Amistad and Falcon Reservoirs on the U.S.-Mexico border.

But don’t just confine yourself to the big water. The Brazos near Waco, the Colorado near Austin and the Devil’s in far west Texas are fantastic rivers lousy with big largemouth and smallmouth year round, and white bass in the spring. And if you’re looking for a truly unique experience, head to the Guadalupe River in the hill country, the only place on earth where you can catch Guadalupe bass, the state fish of Texas.

Tip: Don’t pack up the rods when winter hits. Head for Squaw Creek Reservoir near Granbury, where the water temperature stays fairly consistent throughout the year, creating a unique ecosystem for fish. Instead of shutting down for the winter like most fish in normal waters, power plant lake fish like bass (and the baitfish they munch on) will actually spawn during the coldest months of the year, which can lead to some epic fishing in shallow water.

WHEN TO FISH

Most people don’t even start thinking about fishing till the summer, but the reality is that’s far from the best time of year for bass angling.

Catching fish is a year round affair in Texas, but the dog days of summer can be a challenge given bass are holding in deep water trying to escape the scorching heat of July and August. But when the air turns cold, the fishing heats up again.Texas Bass Fishing

Beginning in late September, bass start moving into shallower, warmer water to feed like crazy before winter hits. The wind kicks up again and blows baitfish into coves and around points, where the big girls are soon to follow. Bass adopt almost spawn-like behavior this time of year, but without the stubbornness of bed-sitting; they’re on the move again from deep cover to shallow shorelines and grass patches looking for a solid meal. This pattern usually continues well into December.

And then there’s the annual spawn, which starts around March (pre-spawn) and runs through early May (post-spawn). As the water warms and the days get longer, bass move from their deep winter homes into shallow backwaters to build nests, lay eggs and create the next generation of ShareLunkers. They feed heavily during pre and post-spawn days, holding near points and coves just outside of the actual nesting grounds, where they key in on baitfish and crawfish. This is the best time of year to catch the biggest fish in the lake!

Tip: Every serious fisherman needs to become an amateur weatherman. Check the 10-day forecast on your phone periodically in January and February, and start looking for warming trends. Bass will be the most active in the spring when the average low temperature starts rise, indicating a rise in water temperature and the start of pre-spawn.

HOW TO FISH

Bass are notoriously opportunistic predators. Grubs, leaches, lizards, frogs, crawfish, bluegill, mice, birds, snakes; if it’s in the water, it’s fair game for a bass. They’re not at all timid about hitting creatures more than half their size, either, and will readily choke themselves looking for that next big meal. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be a little picky from time to time.

Weather and water temperate play a big roll in a bass’ diet, but so does the current, cover and water clarity. All these factors vary by the hour in most lakes and rivers, so your best bet when bass fishing is get a general idea of what the fish are keying in on at the time (shad in fall, frogs in the summer, crawfish in the spring, etc.), and try a lot of different patterns with different actions until you find something they want. Look for cover like submerged timber, grass flats and rock formations and fish in and around them as close as you can without getting hung up.

When all else fails, throw a Texas-rigged Berkley Power Worm in green pumpkin and bounce it off the bottom. Nothing catches size and numbers like a curly tailed worm falling through the water column, and green pumpkin is a color that fits just about every condition. Depending on the size of the worm and how you fish it, this pattern can look like a lot of different things to a bass, and the weedless nature of a Texas rig will allow you to put it right on top of the cover where fish are hiding. Next best thing: Zoom Brush Hog.

Tip: Sure, you can spend all day effortlessly yanking fish out of the water on bait casting rigs, but if you want to have some real fun, pick up a fly rod and catch your next bass on a feather tied to 1/0 hook.

Robert Jones
About the Author

Robert handles Gunn&Hook's content marketing and is an avid bass angler and fly fisherman. He typically works remotely from the river bank.