Memoirs of a bass fisherman - 2CoolFishing
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:38 AM   #1
Sunbeam
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Memoirs of a bass fisherman

There have been several post regarding Black Bass (LMB) fishing in Lake Livingston. Seeing them brought back memories of my bass fishing addiction from years ago.
When I first moved back to Houston from that cold foreign land call Amarillo in 1965 I spent the first summer fishing the piers, dike and jetties in the Galveston area.
One day there was announcement about a seminar/meeting at a local auditorium sponsored by a group calling themselves B.A.S.S. A neighbor asked me to go with him so it happened that I became a charter member of the group. Not a bass fisherman but a novice about to start on a journey into the unknown.
The neighbor only fished fresh water and fancied himself a bass fisherman. Most of my fresh water fishing had been in West Texas rivers and stock tanks as a kid.
I knew my brother, the Texoma pro, had a boat and motor he left at a camp on the upper Louisiana side of Toledo Bend. So I arranged a three day weekend trip up there to try out some of those fantastic fishing tips I received for my BASS dues.
Now for most of you who do not remember or even saw Toledo Bend in the Mid to late sixties. It was a huge, weak coffee colored, green tree covered paradise. The area around Converse on the Louisiana side was a literal jungle of bass fishing heaven.
There were only three baits required. A chrome Cordell Red Fin, A perch colored Smithwick Devil Horse and a purple worm.
There were thousands of 14 to 18 inch bass, dinner plate bream and some of the meanest grinnell that would hit any of the three on a 24/7 basis.
I drove up there every Friday and returned every late Sunday for nearly a year. I bought and traded off three bass boats in that time. I went from a ugly pointed green Skeeter to a bigger Skeeter to a 17 foot Falcon Tiger Grande w/ a 85 Merc. The best and fastest available in the BASS world.
I joined a bass club in west Houston. Mostly lawyers, doctors and other professionals. We fished some where every week end and had a club tourney once a month. We were ate up with bass fishing.
And we were snobs. Live bait really was two four letter words. There was a couple of cafes south of Rayburn were we would stop on a Sunday evening after a tournament. We quit using one because there got to be a bunch of peasants pulling those ugly little green jon boats parked outside. Nothing worse than trying to eat and talk real fishing with a bunch of perch jerkers laughing and talking about minnows and slip corks.
That desire to fish led to me exploring Polk county, buying land where the lake was to be and eventually getting into the marina business. I was still a diehard bass fisherman but soon learned that the other fish were to ones that paid the bills. There was a lot more profit in selling 500 pounds on minnows than a handful of top waters on a week end. Catching and selling several hundred pounds of catfish below the dam bought a lot of groceries.
Alligator gar were money in the bank.
Eventually after selling my share of the marina to an unsuspecting retire teacher from Minnesota I got the once in a life time chance to be a big time bass fisherman.
In 1972 a friend and I had taken a busmans holiday to an unknown lake about 200 miles south of Brownsville. It was called Guerrero. At that time it was unknown to the gringo fishermen. No facilities or decent access to it.
We shot about five miles of 16mm color movie film of some of the most fantastic bass fishing in the world. My friend Bob edited it to a 45 minute film he used to promote a new tackle manufacturing company he had founded.
A fellow who was the sale VP of a large oilfield supply company saw the film. He contacted me to offer me $2500.00 a month, two new bass boats and full expenses to move to Ciudad Victoria and set up a base for him to fly clients down to fish. I thought about it for a millisecond and signed on the dotted line.
So began a thirteen month saga that started as a bass fishing dream and ended in a nightmare. I fished from 3 to 5 days a week depending on the availability of the company jet to bring me clients.
I had the local GWs son running the second boat. To catch 60 bass per boat a day was the norm. Never anything over seven pounds but very few under three.
Top waters early and jigging cheap wobble spoon in the flooded tree tops during the day.
At first it was fun, then it became a job and finally it was drudgery. I did not have to clean fish. We seldom kept fish except for the motel to hold a fish fry on Saturday for my people. I had a Mexican fellow to clean and guard the boats and my other driver hauled the gas. Nothing for me to do but meet the plane, get the guys in their rooms and take them fishing. It became boring. Some days all I did was make a few cast to insure the fish were there and then just sit and watch. My people always caught fish but I can say that after the first few months it just was not that much fun.
I learned a lot about the largemouth bass. He can be very stupid, unpredictable and is not that great fighter on proper fishing gear. But the thing you will begin to notice after handling a few thousand thousand they sort of stink. Those Mexican bass were musky and did not taste that good.
By the time the Federales finally threw me out of Mexico for taking jobs a Mexican would not do I was more than ready to leave.
I can actually say that the only LMB I have caught after that odyssey were by accident. I get one on a crappie rig or on a live perch fishing for cats every now and then.
Ray Scott, Bob Cobb, Roland Martin and the pros from the Bass Master group have made a lot of money bass fishing. But I can say that the money I spent on the sport could have been better used on something like wine women and song.

Last edited by Sunbeam; 02-15-2012 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:55 AM   #2
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Where is the rest of the story? Sunbeam History what can be better than that!
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:56 AM   #3
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Great story
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Old 02-15-2012, 12:13 PM   #4
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Great story. I hate that you got burned out on Bass fishing. I love any fishing but have a real passion for Bass. I guess to me they are more of a challenge than anything else. I have fished many tournaments on Conroe and there are some Bass fishermen that think they are to good to talk to you and I just don't understand this. The one thing I like just as much as fishing is talking about it.
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Old 02-15-2012, 06:29 PM   #5
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Great story Sunbeam. Some magazine editor ought to pick that up and post it in one of their publications. I've never understood the "snob" factor with tournament fishermen either. Now when I see them on the water, I'm generally not as friendly as I would be to a weekend fisherman or a "normal" person. Guess I've gotten burned a time or two from their attitudes as well.
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:12 PM   #6
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Enjoyed the bass memoirs, Sunbeam. What a journey!
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Old 02-16-2012, 12:31 AM   #7
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Really interesting story, especially about Guerrero.

I've done a lot of studying the habits of bass in ponds...and you are exactly right, IMO, when you wrote, "He can be very stupid, unpredictable and is not that great fighter on proper fishing gear. "

To me, the key to enjoying bass fishing is to downsize on the equipment, go to fly rods...and then the bass can be a worthy fighter. Heavy lines, heavy rods, etc. for bass just isn't fun for me either, but I really enjoy fishing for bass on light tackle in ponds.
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Old 02-16-2012, 03:18 AM   #8
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Great story! I have always said I couldn't be a pro fisherman for fear I'd turn my passion into a job!
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Old 02-16-2012, 05:36 AM   #9
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Great story.Thanks!
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Old 02-16-2012, 05:47 AM   #10
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Great story on a rainy day, Sunbeam. I think its ironic that your job was replaced after you established it. Looks like the same thing is happening here in the USA, now.
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