When it comes to the weather in Texas, the old saying goes: “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.”
While the originator of that statement isn’t fully known – some think it came from Harold Taft, a late, great weatherman for a Dallas/Fort Worth television station – it often seems to be about as true as anything about the Lone Star State’s weather can be.
That’s especially so in the springtime when frequent cold fronts push into Texas and allow the cold dry air of the Rocky Mountains and the northern Great Plains to collide with warm moist air surging north out of the Gulf of Mexico.
When that happens, there’s often fireworks in the sky as big Texas thunderstorms roll in.
And with a little luck – as in the timing of a cold frontal passage today – perhaps there will be some fireworks on the water too as Shotgun Round 1 action kicks off for the second group of anglers competing near Nacogdoches in the first round of the MLF General Tire World Championship.
With storms in the forecast, all early morning angler eyes were to the sky as the MLF boats prepared to back down into the timber and grass filled water of Lake Naconiche, a 692-acre water body known for its recent big bass catches.
Mark Davis, the Mount Ida, Ark., legendary pro with six career victories under his belt, is hopeful that the big bass potential will be on full display here today in the Pineywoods region.
“Well, these are (usually) good fishing days,” said Davis, a three-time B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year (1995, 1998, and 2001) and the 1995 Bassmaster Classic champion.
“I would prefer to have the front coming in right at the end of the day instead of at the beginning of the day (like forecasters were prognosticating in the early morning hours).
“They are still good fishing days, but that time before the front gets here, that’s usually the best.”
Speaking of the best, Davis and the other MLF pros are in for a treat today as they ply the dark waters of Naconiche, a small water body choked with standing timber and grass that has been carefully managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as one of the region’s top spots to go and catch a trophy sized bass.
Want proof of that statement?
Well, consider that for starters, just days before this event began, Texas angler Larry Mosby caught a 13.06 pound ShareLunker largemouth bass, the first such fish from the lake to be submitted to TPWD’s vaunted trophy bass spawning program.
Caught on February 28, 2017, the fish was the 567th ShareLunker bass donated to the TPWD program, which accepts bass that weigh 13-pounds or better.
But that bass is only part of Naconiche’s big bass story, especially in light of the current lake record catch last summer, a July 2016 fish that weighed in at 14.12-pounds.
Add in stockings since 2009 that have included some 380,000 Florida-strain bass; some 100,000 ShareLunker offspring fingerlings; and 700-plus retired hatchery brood fish ranging from 3 to 7-pounds and it’s easy to see why the Naconiche bass catching action might be lights out this week.
Finally, when coupled with a strict 16-inch maximum length limit (for harvest) and the so-called “new lake effect” of the fledgling reservoir filling up in recent years, and well, the MLF pros couldn’t be hitting Naconiche at a better time.
“Lake Naconiche was impounded in 2009, and since then we’ve used every tool in our toolbox to maximize the trophy potential in that reservoir,” said Todd Driscoll, a TPWD Inland Fisheries biologist, in an agency news release.
“The ‘new lake effect’ results in very productive conditions in the reservoir — high forage abundance, ample aquatic vegetation, timber and good habitat — which promotes increased reproduction of fish and fast growth rates,” he also added.
With such big fish catching potential – and with a weather change coming early today that could put the bass into an active feeding mode – expect Davis and the other MLF pros to light up the SCORETRACKER LIVE! leaderboard.
“It’s going to be a good fishing day,” agreed Davis. “Today is going to be the kind of day that you’re going to be able to go out there and fish wide open and pretty much do what you want to do.
“I think there will be fish caught on a lot of different (things),” he added. “You’re not going to have to fish slow to catch them. I think you can catch them on moving baits (today) or you can also fish slow (if you want) and catch them.
“But you’re going to have to catch them, that’s all I know. You had better be putting fish in the boat today or you’re going to find yourself in a big time hole.”
Given the past history of MLF events, expect there to be plenty of smaller fish also caught today.
But then again, given the big fish potential of the lakes here in East Texas – and most especially the big fish potential of Naconiche, which MLF pro Kelly Jordon rates as his favorite lake in the entire state of Texas – Davis thinks quality will play a key role, too.
“You’re definitely going to have to catch (some) larger fish,” Davis said. “That would be my guess.”
But an angler who goes out and wants to only target big fish will likely be in trouble quickly.
“The numbers, they are going to have to be there as well,” Davis said. “You can’t just go out there and only fish for big fish. You’re going to have to catch numbers and mix in a few big ones as well, that would be my guess.”
With a cold front coming and potential thunderstorms stirring up the pot, the action should be electric on the water.
For Davis, while he knows that he can’t win the World Championship event today, he can put himself in a big hole that he might not be able to climb out of.
And since he hopes to add this week’s MLF World Championship to his Hall of Fame resume, he’s hoping for a red-hot start.
“It would mean everything to win,” said Davis, one of the sport’s true gentlemen as well as one of its quietest yet fiercest competitors. “This is a huge event, this is the inaugural (World Championship) event, the first one.
“It would mean a lot to win this thing and it is critical to get off to a good start.