By Paul Lebowitz
Texas. There’s no better place in America for trophy bass. Not Florida, source of the boss big-bass strain. Not California, where vitamin-T blows a few of them up to blimp size. Texas.
“We have a lot of heat,” explains Central Texas hot-stick Tye Blackshear, who has multiple double-digit bass to his credit, most from the kayak. “Huge reservoirs and a long growing season produce big bass,” he says.
That helps to explain how five of the top 15 in KayakBassFishing.com’s 2012 Angler of the Year ratings hail from the Austin area alone, says Ryan McDermid, a Native Watercraft pro staffer and one of that elite five.
Kayak bass fishing is so big in Texas, the state is home to one of the longest running tournament series anywhere. The Kayak Angler Tournament Series (KATS) kicked off in 2007. It’s still going strong, with more tour stops than ever.
Kayak Fish rounded up a quartet of leading Texas kayak bassers and got them to share some of their big-bass tricks. These tips will work anywhere. No guarantees on the size of your local fish.
|THE NIGHT STALKER. RYAN MCDERMID
Monsters lurk in dark waters. Nocturnal bass hunters chase them under the light of the stars. That’s when Ryan McDermid, a father of two, is free to follow his obsession—“When the kids are in bed,” he says with enthusiasm. At night, McDermid and the lunkers have Town Lake nearly to themselves. + more
|THE BORDER BASSER. BOBBY GONZALEZ
In 2010, Bobby Gonzalez was a vacationer casting a line from a rented kayak at Port Aransas. A scant two years later with a near 11-pounder and a string of other chunks to his name, he was celebrating the 2012 KayakBassFishing.com series championship. At the time it was arguably the most prestigious freshwater title in the world. + more
|THE CONFIDENT MAN. TYE BLACKSHEAR
“It was early in the morning in 2010. One of my last little Senkos. I snagged up a big one in Choke Canyon, an 11-7,” Tye Blackshear says, the excitement of that day evident in his voice. It was his first double-digit bass, but it wouldn’t be his last. + more
|The Secretive River Runner. Shane Davies
Davies breaks out unconventional techniques to lasso trophy bass on skinny Texas rivers. + more