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Texoma Smallmouth
Bob R. Myers - Field Editor

One of the lakes in Oklahoma that seems to always start producing bass early is Lake Texoma. part of the reason this lake can be good during the early spring months is the fact that it's located along the Oklahoma/Texas border and it has an abundance of shad. This big impoundment can also give up some big brownies at this time of the year.

As of this writing, our Oklahoma state record smallmouth still stands at 7-pounds, 8-ounces- This record brownie was caught by Carl Gayle out of Texoma on February 24, 1996.

During the early spring, I like to fish the many rocky banks found around Eisenhower State Park on the Texas side. Another area that always seems to produce good smallmouth are the rock jetties along the dam, and the shoreline on both sides of Butterfly Cove. Because smallmouth in this lake seem to roam much more than the largemouth, you have to cover several areas in a day's fishing.

Although I have caught several quality smallmouth in the above mentioned areas, don't overlook the mouth of Caney Creek, Alberta Creek, and the rock ledges in front of Willow Springs, all on the Oklahoma side of the lake.

My four basic lures this time of the year are a jerkbait, jig-n-pig, crankbait, and a tube bait. I usually start out with a 200 series Bandit crankbait in either a pearl/black back or spring crawfish/chartreuse color. If the water is stained, I go with the chartreuse color, if the water is clear my favorite is the pearl/black back. I fished the lake recently on a guide trip and the water temperature was only 53 degrees and the water all over the mid-section of the lake was stained. I started out with the Bandit in the spring crawfish in chartreuse color and although the bite was tough, we caught 12 bass and all were good keepers except for one short Kentucky. All of our fish were holding along rocks close to the bank. we had 3 good brownies, a couple of nice blacks and the rest were spotted bass.

I had two good brownies, one that weighed 6-pounds and one that weighed 4-4. During a cold, rainy day, our best 5 bass would probably have weighed close to 17 pounds, and that's not a bad stringer, considering the weather we have had.

I like a crankbait because you can cover lots of water in a day with it. I fish the crankbait around the rocks and ledges in all of the above mentioned areas, concentrating on secondary points and main-lake points- When fishing a crankbait, I like to use a Shimano Curado crankin reel spooled up with 12-pound Berkley Big Game green line on a G-Loomis Crank Bait Rod. There are several models of this new crankbalt rod available, however, my favorite is the CBR 783 which is a 6' 6" medium action rod that will handle any smallmouth that swims.

If the fish won't react to the crankbait, I switch to a lerkbalt. On this lake I like the 4-inch Rapala Husky Jerk in Tennessee shad, gold/black back, or clown colors. I have also had good results with a 4 1/2-inch Smithwick Suspending Rattlin' Pro Rogue in the gold color.

The magic water temperature this time of the year for smallmouth seems to be around SS to 60 degrees, but I have taken smallies on jerkbaits out of shallow water on Texoma when the surface temperature was less than 40 degrees.

If the fishing is really tough then I switch over to a 1/4- or 3/8-ounce jig. I think that during the early spring there are probably more trophy bass taken on a jig-and-pig, than any other lure. I like the new Terminator Pro's Top Secret Jig in either a black and blue or black and chartreuse color. If the wind isn't a problem, I use the 1/4-ounce size, if it's windy or I want to fish deeper structure, I switch over to the 3/8-ounce size. The new Terminator Jig features a super tough Mustad Ultra Point Hook, a necessity for catching big brownies, which have a tough mouth. I like to use a Zoom Super Chunk trailer on my jigs, usually either black or blue in color.

One other bait that has worked very well on this lake early in the year is a tube bait. I like to use the Garrett Salty Mega-Tube in the green pumpkin, crawfish, or black neon colors. it's important that you put a rattle in the tube bait, especially at this time of the year. The aluminum rattle made by Garrett works very well and won't fall out of the tube when your're fishing it, or catch a bass- Another important piece of equipment for the tube bait is a good hook. I prefer the 210 Ultra Point made by Mustad. Their Big-mouth series is specially designed for tube baits and is ultra sharp.

I like to fish the tube bait in the same areas as a jig, around rocky points, the backs of coves, and around boat docks.

When anglers talk of catching trophy size smallmouth bass the lakes that are most often mentioned are; Dale Hollow, Pickwick, the Tennessee River, Lake Erie, and lakes scattered throughout Canada, however Oklahoma also can also lay claim to having a trophy smallmouth fishery.

The smallmouth species have gained a big following in Oklahoma in recent years and several of our lakes are now stocked with this popular fish. Eufaula, Tenkiller, Broken How, Arbuckle, Skiatook, Murray, Lawton, Keystone, and Texoma have all produced trophy brownies in recent years, however since Texoma has yielded several consecutive state record smallmouth, including the current state record, it still reigns as king-

When you fish Texoma you may not catch many smallmouth, but the ones you catch will often run between 3 and 5 pounds, and 6-pounders are not uncommon.

There are really some excellent taxidermist out there today and they are making replicas better than ever. A replica may cost a little more, but there's a special feeling when watching a big brownie swim away, knowing that another angler may someday have the opportunity to enjoy the thrill that you have just experienced.

Remember to practice catch-and-release.


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