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HIGHSTAKESBASSIN.COM 2018 – A Year in Review

2018 is gone and what a freaking year it was here along the border. More specifically? Falcon Lake. As most of you know most of my trips over the last three years have been on Sugar Lake Mexico. 2018 was an entirely different story as Falcon Lake was just too hot to ignore. What a fun year here in Zapata, TX. Let’s take one final look at the year that was 2018.

 

January –

January was a tough month(one of the few). I was still trying to fight the green algae bloom on Sugar and really struggling. We also saw Falcon fishing pretty tough with the bait fish trying to survive the frigid weather that we were seeing. We still managed a few good fish, but they were certainly earned.

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Check out the pic below….what do you notice? Dean was tossing a red trap…..the trap bite was ok last year, but certainly nothing compared to what we are seeing right now.

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February –

Falcon REALLLLLLY started to go crazy in February and was a sign of things to come in 2018. We were still knee deep in the bush and having a blast battling walruses in the jungle.

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February also marked Clay and Barbara’s first trip down to see me and good grief we whacked the numbers of fish.

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March –

Good grief March was insane……we started targeting offshore giants and boy did we whack em. MEGA Walruses? You bet. Including these two DD’s from Long Ron and Clayboa.

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Here a few more Walruses from March.

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We also got a shinny new Tow vehicle for the business which I have thoroughly enjoyed.

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April –

We were blessed to start the year with some great water levels. (283 and change) But with April arriving and the irrigation season kicking off we saw the plug get pulled and wow did we lose some water. With that being said the fished loved it and the drop shot bite was simply incredible. I also got to see my folks for the first time in 2018 as Mom and Dad came down to visit. Pops got him some great fish and we had a blast on the water like we have for 30 plus years.

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Here are a few more good fish from April including my Boyzzzzzz from Illinoiszzzzzzzz

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May –

May was a special month. I was able to head up North and celebrate my Dad’s 70th birthday doing what we love to do the most and that’s watching Tribe baseball.

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I also rolled out to Vegas for my first trip of 2018 as well. I met these two crazy cats out there.

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Fishing was still incredible in between my vacations…..Including my man Troy’s MEGA Walrus!

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Here are a few more beauties.

 

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June –

June saw the very best day I have ever had on Falcon Lake. Clay came down to fish a two day tournament with me and day 1 was a day I’ll never ever forget. We had the fish on to put a 50 lb bag in the boat. We saw everyone one of em….problem? Each one of those fish came unbuttoned in gut wrenching fashion. I don’t know how many 4-8 lb fish we caught that day, but it was truly special.

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June also saw a client catch back to back MEGA Walruses on back to back days. It was a couple of days Andrew won’t soon forget.

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And my favorite pic of 2018? God knows I love my girlies……time just won’t slow down unfortunately.

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July –

The water continued to leave Falcon Lake and we were launching off the banks at the State Park. The dam bite was a life saver for all of us guides as it was really the only bite that was consistently worth a dam*n. Mind you it was full blown awesome……..

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I also got a nice plug in Bassmaster Magazine.

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August – 

August marked a return to Sugar Lake and Clay and Barbara had a monster trip.

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This would be my last trip on Sugar Lake and it was like old times with two great friends. Falcon continued to cruise as well with several good trips mixed in.

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August was very busy off the water as well with another Vegas trip and a trip to PA for my Mom’s 70th. What a great time.

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September –

September marked the end of our water going down for 2018 and the start to a WONDERFUL rise that put us back on the State Park ramp. Fishing at the dam continued to be as strong as I’ve ever seen it and it continued to pump out walruses(and Mega Walruses) at a break neck clip.

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October –

We continued to get rain along the border and we continued with our levels going up and up. The fishing as a whole got very very very inconsistent to say the least. Some days were incredible while others were a complete grind. With the rapid influx of water the offshore/dam bite slowed to a crawl. Geoff and Kimbo came down to visit me and they were fortunate enough to have one of their three days go full nuclear.

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November –

November was an absolute monster for numbers of 1-3 lb. I’m serious ….problem? I didn’t catch a single picture worthy fish and that is REALLY REALLY strange. The highlight of the month was heading home to see my folks after Thanksgiving and hunting with my Dad. If I could hit the rewind button and do that trip again I would……over and over and over and over again. We spent most of our time just sitting around watching football and basketball……talking and shooting the shit. Fun freaking time.

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December –

December started there……

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and ended here……

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December of 2018 was the best December I have ever had here on Falcon Lake. The trap bite has been out of this world and 2018 went out in fine fashion with John and Jodie participating in an absolute Falcon Lake WHACKFEST.

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Jodie also brought in 2019 with a MEGA WALRUS!!!!!

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That freaking tilapia was the thickest I’ve ever seen…….you could of fed a family of 4 for two days with those filets. I am looking forward 2019 here along the border and hope to see all you soon. Happy New Year!!

 

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Falcon Lake, Pennsylvania, and one last Vegas trip for 2018

First off……. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! I hope everyone reading this has a happy and safe Holiday Season.

Falcon is going out like it came in for 2018. In a word? Simply amazing. Well that’s two words I guess, but certainly appropriate. I have seen a lot of rattle trap bites in my day from all over this great country. Epic days from the likes of: Lake Erie, Okeechobee, Stick Marsh Farm 13, Chowan River, James River, and many others. The Trap bite I am seeing right now here on Falcon Lake is the very best I have ever seen. Heck I went out and bought two brand new outfits specifically designed to throw em.

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Here is a look at a few fish from the last handful of days on the water.

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If ripping traps through flooded growth sounds like a damn fun time…..give me a ring. I am VERY confident you will not be disappointed. The end of November and the beginning of December also included some vacation time for me. I flew home to see my folks and hunt with my Dad. I absolutely live to spend time with them and this trip to see em was really needed on many levels. How was the hunting you ask? HAHAHAHA……not as good as the Falcon Lake rattle trap bite.

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This was the only buck I saw and I let this monster walk……lol. Mom and I also snuck off to the Erie casino one night as well.

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And speaking of casinos….I took a detour after leaving Erie and headed out to my home away from home for a few days as well.

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I will have a year in review post up within the week. Always fun looking back at the year that was.

 

See ya soon.

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving from Team High Stakes Bassin

I had the opportunity to take out Chris from Arkansas today. He told me that he has read my report and knew the cold front was gonna kill the bite, but he still wanted to go and give em heck. I certainly appreciated the positive thoughts and the fish must of felt Chris’s positive vibes today as well. We zeroed the first two hours as once again I went for the 8-10 foot creek channel bite. Our last 6 hours you ask? Chris caught nearly 50 fish on his own. It got silly a few different times. The only bummer and please don’t take this as I am complaining because I’m not. The size of every single fish was between 1-3 lbs. We could not get the bigger bite going. We caught fish on a variety of baits, but once again the trap dominated. Chris even broke out the BIG OLE 1 oz traps and the fish smoked em. A perfect day on the water with a great client the day before Thanksgiving. It just doesn’t get much better.

 

Thanks High Stakes Bassin family and friends.

Been on the water a BUNCH and………..

…….wow is the fishing tough. I’m serious. I have seen tough fishing on Falcon over the years…..yes it happens even on this world class fishery. These last 10 days or so have ranked right up there as the worst I have ever seen. Right now my Mother has my number half dialed to tell me to put a positive spin on this. My positive spin? I have not had a lot of jobs and people in my boat. I guess that’s not positive either…..lol, but I am not a fan of disappointing folks that step in my boat and right now Falcon is just not fishing worth a damn and I’m glad it’s just me out there most days.

 

Today I wasn’t by myself however. Paul was back on Falcon and in my boat again. He was down about 12 days ago or so and didn’t boat a fish. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised when he called me this week to take him out again. Today was MUCH better and was soooooo happy we caught plenty of fish. The size? A big bag of MEH, but was just damn awful happy Paul came down and was able to whack on em a bit. The hot bait today was without question a chrome and blue lipless crankbait. We also caught a couple offshore on a Texas rig fluke. Those fish were our smallest of the day surprisingly. Our creek fish were all small keepers. I am taking the rest of the week off as we have a nasty cold front looming Friday. I am actually looking forward to it…….lol. CAN’T HURT!!

 

I will be back at em next week……Walruses be damned.

 

 

 

Falcon Lake Fall Edition

As we head to November this week, fall is here. I’ve been on the water a lot the last couple of weeks. Mostly scouting and trying to find consistent fish that will cooperate day in and day out. At one point 10 or so days ago I had 4 areas that I could straight up set my watch to. Ten days later we are down to one VERY small productive area. The fishing has been terrific one day and absolutely BRUTAL the next. This time of year is a tremendous time to be at the border…..especially if you are in to big game hunting. BUT and it’s a BIG BUT……going after MEGA walruses from November to March comes with a gamble and that gamble is the weather. Nothing and I mean nothing will screw up a Florida Strain bite quicker than a cold front and 20+ mph North winds. Right now the bite is a shallow bite in around creek channels, drains, fences, road beds, etc. Blades and swim lizards have been king……yes, swim lizards. We had a 60 fish day last week and every single fish was caught in less than 4 foot of water with most coming in 2 foot. The temps never hit 60 and barely hit 50 with ridiculous rain all day. We would of caught more had I not spent most of of the morning that day in 8-10 foot of water. They just weren’t there. Here are a few pics from the week that was, including Kimbo’s 8.45 lb Falcon Lake Walrus.

 

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If throwing a blade or a swim lizard sounds fun, give me a holler. I would love to have ya.

 

Jay

Something about Mary, Flip Master Phil, and my friends from East Texas

What a fun week……..ya’ll remember Something about Mary from the Spring right?

 

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Her and Phillip came down and just straight up caught a billion fish. We had a terrific time. This trip saw some much tougher fishing, but once again Mary was the star of the show. Her blade was HOT HOT HOT.

 

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I also got the chance to take Jerry and Bob out for a three day trip. Love sharing a boat with these men. Wish they lived closer!  The highlight of their trip was Bob’s Brick Shit House Walrus. I have NEVER seen a fish so massive and thick.

 

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Jerry caught em a good one too, but it was certainly work finding that big bite this trip.

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See ya on the water!

 

Jay

 

A summer to remember

People ask me all the time…..”Jay when is the best time to fish Falcon?”. My response is and always will be…….come when it fits your schedule the best. This lake is and can be amazing on any day 12 months out of the year. Just check these summer time fish out. Including not one, but two over 10.

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Where else in the country or any country can you go during the heat of the summer and catch monsters like that with any sort of regularity? Summer time bassin here along the border is simply as good as it gets. As we shift our eyes to the fall I can tell you it is looking mighty mighty good.

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We have been blessed once again with quite a bit of rain over the last week to 10 days. Are we going to fill up like in 2010? No……..at least for the immediate time being. We still have a solid 4 to 6 weeks of hurricane season ahead of us and wow the Pacific, Gulf, and Atlantic are heating up. Fingers remain crossed for a nice tropical depression to sit on us for a few days. Here is a look at the water graph…….we are back on the boat launch at the State Park. For now……

 

 

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The summer to remember also included my Dad’s 70th and most recently my Mom’s 70th in August. I flew up to PA to celebrate her birthday. I had a terrific time with her and my Dad like we always do. My sister made it this time as well and it’s always good to see her as it doesn’t happen often.

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Of course there was some gambling mixed in……she’s such a bad influence on me.

 

And speaking of gambling I also flew out to Vegas in August as well. Yeah….this summer has been a blur.

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That’s the view from my terrace at the Cosmo. As many of you know Vegas is my home away from home and has been for nearly 20 years. Soooooooo many memories.

 

And speaking of memories……I also celebrated 16 years of bliss this August with this lovely lil thing.

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Looking forward to catching fish in the green flooded growth and away from the damn dam for a much needed change of scenery. Give me a holler if you have a special spinnerbait ya wanna try out. It’s gonna be on this Fall in a major way.

 

Jay

“What was the one thing you weren’t prepared for when you became a guide?”

I get that question a lot….probably more than any other question next to “Is Falcon safe?” and that answer has never changed….yes as safe as any place on this planet. As far as the question in the title goes?

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The answer? Friendships……never in my wildest of wild dreams did I imagine just how many clients I would have, over the nearly 7 years of guiding, turn into such great friends. Those pics above I got out the blue a couple weeks back from one of my longest tenured clients, Roy. Him and his brother Troy were one of the very first to go out on that limb and give a no name former teacher a shot. To this day they still come down to fish with me and between outings we still keep track of each other throughout the year. As you can see Roy and his girlies had a terrific vacation up North to the incredibly popular Mille Lacs Lake in Minnesota. Thanks for staying in touch Roy! Hope you and Troy have a kick ass hunting season.

 

….and speaking of a client that turned terrific friend.

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My man…….my man Danny Silva. A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to team Silva. They are expecting their first child in February.

And keeping up up with the theme……my man Clayboa and his bride Barbara “da Fish Whacking” Barbarian came to the border to visit me and celebrate Clay’s birthday week. These two cats could go anywhere in the world for vacations and year after year vacation after vacation they come down to see me. That right there means the world to me.

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Those two caught 147 fish over their 4 day trip with most of them going over 4 lbs. Yes a good time was certainly had. If this is their last trip to the border in 2018 it was one hell of way to end a truly remarkable year along the border for Clay and Barbara. Many, Many, MANY thanks over.

 

Sticking with the theme yet again…..Charlie and the Fish Factory also made an appearance. It sure was good to see Charlie as we kinda lost touch the past couple of years. We had a terrific trip whacking on fish and catching up. Time flies.

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I am also happy to report we had some new faces come on down to the border recently as well and Ron is already angling on a return trip in October I believe.

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Bryan and Sean were in town yesterday. The fishing was pretty good….especially if you ask Bryan. lol…..

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………and I caught a couple of walruses myself over the past two weeks and one that dang near made MEGA walrus status.

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If you are coming down to fish the border…….bring lots of cranks and creature baits for soft plastics.(brush hogs, lizards, craws, etc)

 

It’s been a magical 2018 and looking forward to what is in store for the last 5 months.

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Jay

 

Wind wind wind and Bassmaster magazine with a nice High Stakes Bassin plug

The summer of 2018 will be remembered (at least by me) as the windiest period of time that I have seen since becoming a guide nearly 7 years ago. Every single day we are seeing gusts of 20+ and at times 30+. I have been able to launch here on the North end and run the lake just 2 times in the last six weeks. Both times I have been able to do that we have whacked the tar out of em and one day in particular saw 60+ fish find their way into the boat. Most days however are stuck in front of the damn dam while launching off the bank down South. Speaking of launching of the bank…….

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Don’t hit that dag gone rock……I have launched in and around that damn thing for years and guess who hit the mother@#%@er this week. Just plane stupid…….I knew I cut the trailer too close, but instead of pulling forward I ran right into the side of it. I have looked my trailer over and for the life of me I can’t find where I made contact. Here is another pic…..that rock that’s in the water lines up with the rock that’s on the bank. Be CAREFUL! When in doubt, pull out!

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Ok ok …..back to the fishing. I know I mentioned a 60 plus fish day above. That is certainly NOT the norm. Good grief the fishing has been tough as freaking nails of late more often than not. I had a recent trip where a client caught 1 fish by 2 o’clock……yeah 7 hours of fishing and he had 1 bite for 1 fish.

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Mind you…..if you are going to get one bite? That fish right there is certainly the one bite you wanna get!

Here are a few more nice Falcon Lake fish…..look at those smiles from last week. Few things in life are better.

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I got a pleasant surprise a couple weeks back with my phone and email blowing up about a plug in Bassmaster Magazine.

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I had several folks send a pic of the plug…..I’m sorry, but don’t know who’s pic I used above. I think it was Dr. Jack’s pic, but don’t hold me to that. lol, Every little bit helps and I have had multiple calls from folks that read that little piece. Pretty cool and very much appreciated.

Then there is my boy Ranger…..look at him.

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He thinks that he is hidden and I can’t see him. He’s been getting ear infections and he hates the ear solution that I have to put into his ears. Poor guy…….but he is doing much, much, much better.

Love ya’ll and hope to see everyone here on the border in the very near future.

Jay

Man I love summer in South Texas.

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To say I have been enjoying my summer would be the understatement of the century. Summer months mean family time and man do I cherish these moments. We had a terrific time at the coast last week and my new favorite restaurant?

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The Meatball Cafe in South Padre Island……..good grief. What. An. Experience. Deeeeeeeee freaking licious. We also juuuuuust missed some game changing rain last week as well. The valley as we were driving through was under water.

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The good news is that they should not be needing Falcon’s water now……well at least for a few days. You ask how’s the fishing? Well it continues to be a mixed bag for my boat. I go out some trips and feel that I can do no wrong…..the very next day I can’t buy a break or string consecutive productive areas. A lot of folks are reporting 60-100 fish days. Me? Most days I’m lucky to hit 30. I wish I could say I am targeting “the big bite”…..but hell that would be a bold faced lie. I’m out there trying to get bites, any freaking bites. That’s enough of beating myself up for now. Let’s focus on the positive because I’ve certainly had some trips here recently that were nothing short of epic. My man Guy came down and brought his friend Andrew with him. Let me tell you……Andrew had two days here on Falcon Lake that he will never ever forget.

Day 1: Welcome to the club

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Day 2: Personal best doesn’t last 24 hours

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And my man Guy?

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Bless his heart………he tries hard.

 

I also got into the walrus parade……

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The last two full moons (May and June) have produced monster spawns here on Falcon Lake. I have seen more fry the last two days than I have seen all year. Check out what the white bass are spitting up…..

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That lil guy was part of May’s spawn…….at this water level the survival rate isn’t good. We simply just don’t have the cover in the water.

 

Looking forward to a busy rest of my summer…..both from a fishing standpoint and a vacation standpoint. Tis the season.

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Jay

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