Fishing & Boating News

Never Say Always

by: Michael Banks, DDS, Friends of the Neches River

Photo by Michael Banks, DDS
Photo by Michael Banks, DDS
(Mar. 15, 2013 - Jacksonville, TX)

Well, it didn't happen - you know, catching another trophy fish. I followed my plan to put in and fish Lake Athens in the morning and then Purtis Creek State Park Lake in the afternoon. The two lakes are separated in distance by about 12 miles. I put in Athens at 8 am and got home at 6 pm. I paddled over six miles and made so many cast I thought I had unscrewed my shoulder. I was exhausted but you deserve a report.

The two lakes had many contrasts. The most obvious was the number of fishers. At the peak of the day, the parking lot of Athens was full and over flowing with boat trailers- over 40; Purtis had two vehicles in the parking lot. On Athens I never got out of view of a bass boat and they zipped all over the place. On Purtis there is a ?no wake? policy for motored boats.

Lake Athens is a water source for the city of Athens with free access; Purtis is a Texas State Park with an admission fee of $4.00 per adult.

The regulations on Athens for largemouth bass is a length limit of a 14-21" slot. Bass 14 inches and less or 21 inches or greater in length may be retained. Only one largemouth bass 21 inches or greater may be retained each day. The daily bag limit of bass is five. So you could keep 4 bass under 14 inches in length and one over 21 inches per day. Purtis Creek Lake is catch and release only for all bass. Who keeps bass anymore?

On to a fishing report - the weather could not have been better for what you think of as being good for fishing. It was cloudy with a slight breeze to make ripples and the temperature was pleasant; a day I would ask for to fish.

With fishing Athens yesterday, I learned never to say ?always?; earlier I said I liked Athens because I ?always? catch fish there. Well, I didn't catch a fish. I did miss three and on the second one, as I was reeling in, I was thinking about what a neat picture it would make and the line went limp. Ops! Yesterday I needed the Lake Athens ?Angel? who helped me there last year. Remember?

On Purtis Creek I caught two bass, only because I have fished there before and knew where to go when the catching gets tough. And the kayak helped. I went up the creek feeding the lake as far as you can go; where a bass boat couldn't go. I caught the two on consecutive casts in shallow, narrow water. Not what you would expect doing lake fishing. There are beaver dams up the creek right after where I caught the fish.

When you fish a location where you know the habitat has produced a trophy fish, you become very focused in your fishing.

Last year I criticized the fish management of Purtis Creek Lake because of the excessive number of carp that have stripped the lake of its vegetation. Then I put in on Purtis and caught fish and issued an apology of my criticism. Well, I retract my apology. I think now, with time, the lack of vegetation, because of the carp, has affected fishing, thus the empty parking lot.

For you birders out there you should make this trip. There were honking Canada geese on both lakes and all kinds of other water fowl. A large osprey made a fly over on Athens. There is a rookery (pic below) of over 20 nesting herons on Lake Athens - something to see. Several times in the past I have seen an American Bald Eagle on Purtis.

God's Creation, which He gave to us, is so magnificently created.

A day fishing is a better day than a day doing most other things I do and I've heard a day fishing does not count against your total number of days given you in this life.

I have three publishers interested in my writings but for now...

Till we put in again,

Note: To contact Dr. Banks, about the Neches River projects. Michael Banks, D.D.S.
Friends of the Neches River
606 Brookside Drive
Jacksonville, TX 75766
Photo by Michael Banks, DDS
Photo by Michael Banks, DDS