In late May of 1980, having far exceeded my monthly quota and almost having achieved my yearly quota, I decided to take the afternoon off. My objective for the afternoon was a fishing trip to one of the creeks feeding into Lake Conroe for a go at some bass. At the time, Lake Conroe was one of the top bass lakes in the entire Country and, at the same time, I was on track to be the top salesman for the large computer company, quite a feat!
Having been given some brief instructions about getting to the spot, I drove up FM 149, a less than 1 hour trip, but now FM 149 is a freeway and 4 lanes all the way to Texas 105, still less than a hour. Passing through Montgomery, I continued north on 149 for 2 or 3 miles, crossed the first bridge and exited the road, but there was no launch ramp, just 2 ruts leading down into the water.
Huffing and puffing my 12, foot, aluminum boat, electric motor, battery, paddle, rod and tackle box, with wet feet, unceremoniously launched it. This is the same one that, in Georgia, I caught the 12, pound, bass out of a year earlier. See my post “[A Really Big Bass]”, August 6, 2007. Push polling with the paddle, finally paddling, I got the boat into deeper water, cranked up the electric motor, headed under the bridge and started casting. My bait of choice was a dark green, Lucky 13, a proven top water plug.
Outside of the creek channel, there were a few lily pads, along with the first growth of hydrilla, a very intrusive moss much worse than the kudsu around Atlanta, but this looked like a good place to start, so I headed toward it. Pick a spot in the moss, cast out and let the 13 sit until the rings disappeared, then twitch it and repeat if necessary. My second cast, after the rings settled, abruptly, a nice bass came out of the water and, on the way back into the water, clamped down on the Lucky 13. Having caught a lot of bass in the past, I’d never seen this before, a reverse blow-up! After several jumps, I reached down and lipped it, a nice 4, pounder. Throwing it back, I kept on casting and twitching.
Casting into another opening, letting the rings settle, twitching the plug twice, another bass, a twin of the first, exploded into the 13 and the fight was on. Landing it and throwing it back, I continued casting for the next hour, with no luck. Heading back towards the “launch ramp”, I figured that with the lake up this would remain a good spot through June or until the water level dropped.
Getting home, I told Randy about the spot and gave him better instructions about finding it. He went up there the next weekend with a friend and was using a jig around the bridge pilings and caught a spinning rod and reel. It was a nice expensive, outfit that we cleaned up and used it in salt water for the next 20 years! We did fish this spot for the next year with some success, but strangely, with the growth of the hydrilla, the bass fishing headed “south”.
Now, for the rest of the story, Lake Conroe was once considered one of the top 5 bass fishing spots in the nation, but then, to control the hydrilla,Hydrilla verticllata, the State of Texas introduced grass carp, white amur, supposedly these fish were sterile, but they weren’t! Within a year and a half the carp had eaten up our fishing spot. By 1996 the carp, without any vegetation to eat, died out, vegetation rebounded and the bass fishing improved with it. Now the State, the lake front property owners, various interested national organizations, fishing clubs and the San Jacinto River Authority are working together to control the hydrilla and other harmful plants and the fishing should improve.
And, no, I didn’t make my quest for number 1, but I came close, except for an accounting glitch, finished number 9.