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Falcon Lake Report - Texas

Fishing Report - November 5, 2003

Falcon Lake is approximately 24 feet low, and should be leveling off after the recent rise.  The water clarity is extremely clear in places, and a little off color in places.   Water temperatures range in the mid 70's.

Bass fishing has been good, with lots of fish being caught, mostly small.   Best areas include newly flooded bushes mixed in with hardwoods.  Best baits include Texas rigged plastics in watermelon/red and blue fleck.  There are also fish being caught on spinner baits, plastic jerk baits, and crank baits.   

Catfishing has been good on stink bait, shrimp, and cut bait.  There have been no reports on crappie or white bass because they don't exist in the lake in large enough numbers (if at all) to be caught.  Striper fishing is good on jigging spoons. 

Falcon being an international lake, on the border with Mexico, requires a Mexican fishing license and boat permit, when fishing in Mexican waters.  They are available locally.  The Zapata County Ramp is open, as is the big ramp at Falcon State Park.

Fishing is still real good for little ones, but again this week the bigger fish are harder to come by.  Senkos, Flukes, and Texas rigged plastics seem to be the ticket, with the best depths being around 10 feet.  I'm not saying that you won't catch them shallower or deeper, but around 10 foot seems to be the best.

Color doesn't seem to be a big factor as this past week, we caught fish on almost every color of plastic that we had in the boat.  I would use a weightless rigged Senko or Fluke if the wind wasn't too bad, and move on to a Texas rig when the wind picked up.

There were a few fish still being caught on crankbaits and spinnerbaits, but in my opinion, this bite has slowed considerably.  Best crankbait colors have been something shad and watermelon red.  Best spinnerbait colors have been white with double willow leafs and the blade color didn't seem to matter near as much as using a small bait.

If last week the fish seemed to move out of some of the creeks due to the water souring, this week they seemed to move back in some of the creeks.  I didn't seem to notice the bad smell associated with souring vegetation in any creeks that I went into.

In many places I noticed that a bunch of shad were present with little bass chasing them and usually if you pitch a Senko in immediately after the splash, you will have a taker.  It seems that the bigger splashes are too far back into the brush to get a bait to, and I hope this is the case because the bigger ones are spawning. 

A lot of the old timers down here claim that immediately after a big rise in the lake level that the fish will start spawning, and I believe it.  Usually every year during the OPEC Tournament, there are fish weighed in that appear to have been spawning.  I have also noticed some kind of fry hanging around the tops of some semi-submerged bushes.

Beacon Lodge is still the place to stay if you plan on fishing the upper end of the lake or just want to stay in Zapata to be near the restaurants.  Speedy Collett has taken over the day-to-day operations, and is there every morning and evening.  Speedy is a world-class fisherman that was raised on Falcon and is full of good information.  Their phone number is (956) 765-4616.

If you are going to be fishing the lower end of the lake, then Falcon Heights Motel is the place to stay.  They are located close to the entrance of Falcon State Park, and Carlos Olivarez (owner) is a guide on the lake and always has some good information.  Carlos also runs some whitewing trips into Mexico, and if you would like more information, give Carlos a call at (956) 848-5229.

The dates for the annual Tommy Gray Memorial Tournament have been set for February 14 and 15, 2004, which is the weekend before the first Bass Champs tournament.  The tournament brochures should be out in the next 10 days or so.  For more information, contact Julie Ivey at the Zapata County Chamber of Commerce at 1 (800) 292-LAKE.

Larry Bridgeman of Falcon Lake Tackle purchased my weigh in trailer, and I really appreciate it.  Larry has indicated that he will rent the trailer to organizations that are having a tournament on Falcon and want to have a stage with a PA system, scales, etc.  My old weigh in crew is also available for hire.

While I'm on the subject, Larry is always adding new stuff to the store, both hunting and fishing.  I know that sometimes I might sound repetitive, but for a sure enough addict of fishing tackle like myself, it is absolute heaven. 

Larry's number is (956) 765-4866 and his website is www.tackleandrods.com.  They are located on Hwy 83 South in Zapata, right across the street from the turnoff to the county ramp.  I heard he was going to start selling the Kershaw pocket knives like I carry, and I guarantee you that these are the best knives you can have if you fish with braided line.

Some of the websites for the products that I highly endorse are www.soblures.com for the best spinnerbaits and other stuff that money can buy.  Kistler Rods can be found at www.kistlerrods.com, and I honestly don't believe that there is a better rod out there.  Tuf-Line can be ordered at www.ronstackle.com, and Ron Totten who is the owner, is a very knowledgeable fisherman himself, and can give you some good advice concerning our South Texas Lakes.  Waypoint Marine has a nice site at www.waypointmarine.com, and I highly recommend them as your South and Central Texas boat dealers.

We have started an organization called the Save Falcon Lake Association (SFLA), and it will be free to join.  This organization will be political in nature and will direct our elected officials to legislate some action to be taken by Texas Parks and Wildlife to help Falcon Lake get some facilities, enforcement, and management.  You can join by sending me e-mail at murrayleather@cs.com. 

Update on the rumor about Zapata County charging Texas Parks and Wildlife for the storage of confiscated Mexican commercial fishing boats.  Now I've heard that it wasn't the sheriff but the County Judge who wants to charge TPWD for storing the boats, and at a much higher rate.

Speedy Collett of Beacon Lodge is working on preventing this from happening, and hopefully he will succeed, as TPWD cannot afford to pay these fees, and if they can't pay them, then they will have to stop confiscating the boats that are found operating in Texas waters.  Right now, this is a great deterrent to keep the Mexican netters out of our side of the lake, and if the game wardens lose this weapon, there won't be any deterrents.  I will keep you posted. 

If you need some information concerning the Falcon Lake area, you can call the Zapata County Chamber of Commerce at 1 (800) 292-LAKE or give me e-mail at murrayleather@cs.com.  Until next report, Good Fishing!!

Most weeks I will get calls from people that are coming to Falcon that are inquiring about places to stay, eat, shop, etc., so this week I decided to start listing some of the places that I recommend.  I will add and delete places from time to time.


Tackle: 

Falcon Lake Tackle.  Located on Hwy 83 South in Zapata, right at the County Ramp turnoff.  They have the largest selection of "good tackle" that you will ever lay your eyes on.  Mexican fishing licenses and boat permits.  Their website is www.tackleandrods.com, and their phone number is (956) 765-4866.

83 Grocery in Falcon Heights:  Nice people with a limited supply of tackle, but they usually have a pretty good selection of Norman crankbaits, and catfishing stuff.  They open at 6 AM.           

S & R Boat Sales and Tackle:  Located on Hwy 83 on the North side of Roma.  Pretty good selection of baits that are used locally.  Closest place to get something quick if you are fishing out of Falcon State Park.  They do some boat and motor repair.  Friendly people, but they don't speak much English. 

Restaurants:

Tina's Restaurant:  Located on Hwy 83 in Zapata, just South of the Veleno bridge.  Good food, especially the chicken friend steak and the Mexican food.

Jalcalitos:  Located a few block off of Hwy 83, down past the Zapata County Court House.  They have good steaks at a very reasonable price.  I personally think they have the best "Pico" and chips in the area.  Good "Gagamole" also.

Holiday Restaurant:  Good selection of good food.  Located on Hwy 83 in Zapata across from the Chamber of Commerce.  These people support all of the tournaments that come to town.

Fiesta Fried Chicken:  Best Breakfast TACOS in the World.  Period.  The only thing wrong with them is that they don't open early enough to buy them if you have to be on the lake real early, but worth the wait if you can.

Motels and Lodges:

Beacon Lodge and Falcon Heights Motel:  I always mention these places in my report.  They have always sponsored the tournaments, are fishermen their selves, and are great handy places to stay.  Beacon will have use of their ramp when nobody else in Zapata does, and Falcon Heights is the closest motel to Falcon State Park.  Both places are liable to fire up the Bar-B-Q pit at any time, which is always a treat, if you happen to be there when they do.

Best Western in Zapata:  One of the nicest motels in the area, and they usually sponsor the tournaments (especially the Tommy Gray Memorial).  Located just south of the Veleno Bridge.  If there is a disadvantage of staying there, it would be boat parking in some of the rooms, but this problem can be eliminated if you tell them you are bringing a boat.

Oso Blanco in Zapata:  BASS Federation sponsor.  They have some big nice rooms with plenty of parking.  Located south of the Veleno Bridge.

If you need some information concerning the Falcon Lake area, you can call the Zapata County Chamber of Commerce at 1 (800) 292-LAKE or give me e-mail at murrayleather@cs.com .  Until next report, Good Fishing!!


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