Changing Baits

Houston was hot, hot and more hotter, humidity and all, when Richard Foster called me one evening and said we should go out to Lake Houston, rent us a boat and try and catch some bass. A little background, the next week, the summer of 1958, I would be going to ROTC summer camp and the week after that, Richard, a newly commissioned 2/Lt. would be reporting to a basic training company at Ft. Hood.

In Richard’s jeep, the next morning, before the sun was up, we pulled into the parking lot of the main bait camp at the lake. For $2.00, a princely sum then, we rented a 14-foot boat, then attached my 5-horse motor, loaded our gear and were off. Just as the sun was coming up, our first stop was at a likely looking point and dragging our artificials, we were using Bomber baits, the first bait that under the water would crawl down a slope.

Richard connected first, a 2 pounder that jumped twice and it wasn’t long until I duplicated his feat. Lake Houston, at the time a 5, year old impoundment on the San Jacinto River, northeast of Houston, was the city’s primary water supply, now this has been supplanted by Lake Livingston. Lake Houston was about 15 miles, as the crow flies, from San Jacinto Battleground, where Sam Houston and his small band of Texians whipped Santa Anna. More casts and no luck, so we moved along to another likely looking place.

This one was along a bank that we could drift down, we hadn’t thought about a trolling motor back then and changing baits to a Pico Perch, an under water bait that you could vary the retrieve and it would change depths. We were using a medium retrieve that would run the bait at about 2-3 feet and we hit the fish here. Connecting first, I landed an estimated 3 pounder and on to my stringer it went, then Richard nailed another 2 pounder. Several fish later, the action stopped.

The sun was well up, probably around 8:30, so we switched baits to yellow, Piggy Boats, this spinner bait has been around since I started bass fishing in 1950. The company was bought out by H & H Company, but is now owned by Academy, a regional sporting goods company. This change of baits worked well for us and we picked up 4 more bass.

It was getting steamy so we motored on in, cleaned the fish and headed back home toward southwest Houston. Back then, we didn’t have fish finders, trolling motors, live wells to keep the fish in, fancy baits that would run at certain depths, but we still caught fish. In fact, TV was still in its infancy, no PC’s, no cell phones, no internet, no freeways, but we still made do!