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HIGHSTAKESBASSIN.COM 2019 – A Year and Decade in Review

8 years……8 freaking years. I have spent the last several hours going all the way back to my blog days, pre- High Stakes Bassin, reminiscing. I won’t lie….a few tears were shed and a lot of laughs too. Zapata, TX has blessed my family with sooooooo much. I wish I had pictures of everyone in this town that I see on a weekly if not daily basis. From the ladies at the bank, Mike at the Valero gas station, Nacho from Zapata National, the ladies at the Subway, the folks at Tractor Supply, my wonderful neighbors and the folks who live in my neighborhood, the teachers, coaches and custodial staff at the schools, Abby from the clinic, etc, etc, etc, etc. The list goes on and on and on. I know I have said this many times over, but Zapata, TX is the most special (don’t mind my grammar) community I have ever been a part of. And of course there is all of you out there that have come to Zapata, TX to fish Falcon or Sugar Lake with me. I have no words to properly express my gratitude. My family thanks you many times over. Let’s get to the meat of this report and as the title says…..let’s put a bow on 2019 and take a look back at the year that was 2019.


January –

2019 started off with a grrrrrrrreat rattle trap bite in the creeks. All you had to do is find new growth and fence lines and it was on like Donkey Kong most days. Here are a few nice fish that fell for that pattern.

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January also saw Dave get a new personal best that nearly went 10 lbs.



February –

It was all about warm weather in February…..when we got a warming trend it was bonkers. When we didn’t? It was tough sledding. The pattern changed dramatically as well. It was all about pitching and flipping in February. This pattern would remain the go to pattern for the next couple of months as well. It wasn’t till mid April until we started to get out of the hardwoods and bushes. The best pitching bait? Berkley Havoc Pit Bosses. The key was rigging them without a peg and a 4/0 heavy gauge flipping hook. (drastically improved the hook up %) Here are a few that were caught using those tactics.


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and my girlies got into the act in February as well….

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February also marked the beginning of our house addition. What a loooooooooooong process that would begin.

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March –

As mentioned above the bite was still knee deep in the timber and as can be seen in the background of these picks hardwoods were a major player. Another big player was the terrible weather we had most of the month. Very uncharacteristic for the month of March here on Falcon. Here are a few good ones from March.


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April –

The month of April is when 2019 started to go full nuclear. I’m serious, an epic epic epic run that would last through the summer. This was probably my favorite month of 2019. The lake was fishing as big as it has in years. Did you want to pitch plastics shallow? Go ahead there was a fish in every tree. Did you want to crank out on humps and points? Grab ya a 6xd and and plow rocks for great day. April was also the only month of the year where I got into a damn good crankbait bite. For whatever reason this year I just could not get the deep crankbait bite, that Falcon is known for, going. April was the lone exception. April was also the first month that I got to see my folks. Mom and Dad came down to the border to have some quality time and to get into 80 degree weather. Here are a few good ones from April including the first DD of 2019.


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May –

Falcon continued to fish HUGE. So much dag gone fun……most trips were spent 50/50 offshore and in the hardwoods. We had an absolute blast. I did have a scare with my back which unfortunately limited my trips this month. Luckily I made a full recovery and knock on wood we’ve been in good shape the rest of 2019. May also marked my first trip to Vegas for 2019 as well. It produced one of my very favorite photos of my Mom and I.


I will have it framed no question.

Here are a few WALRUSES from May including Glenn’s new personal best.


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June –

The full on off shore bite was in full swing and it was truly magical. We were chunking BIG plastics like mag flukes, brush hogs and the biggest senkos we could find. The results? an epic walrus fest that was only beginning. Here are a few from the month of June including Lambo’s new personal best that just missed MEGA Walrus status.


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June was also a very special month for our family. We rescued a dog that was on his last leg and were prepared for heartbreak as he was not in good shape. With the help of awesome vets Benjamin made it and today you ask?

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Benji is living his best life and we are blessed to have him.


July –

The summer bite got no better than July. It was simply not believable most days. A few walruses from a hot July.

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I also went to Cleveland to watch the Tribe with my folks. My favorite pic of my Dad and I would be taken this trip. Much like my Mother’s pic in Vegas this pic of my Dad and I will be framed. I love this pic with all my heart.



August –

August 2019 will go down as the month of the personal best and arguably the best month of my entire guiding career. None bigger than my main man Clayboa’s near miss 12 pound MEGA Walrus.



Here are the other PB’s from August.

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……and the month went out in fine style with Steve’s new PB that punched his ticket to the DD club.



My last Vegas trip took place in August as well.


aaaaaaand our house addition was finally completed.

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Yes, August of 2019 was certainly one of the most memorable months of my life.


September –

The number off jobs fell off substantially in September. Unfortunately that’s nothing new as the fall months get a lot less play. Hunting and looming holidays play a roll in that for folks and I totally get it. This was the first month in a goooooood long time where the fishing really got spotty. Bang em one day and brutal the next. Quite frankly we’re still on that same cycle currently. Reality also began to set in that we were not going to get anything tropical to help our water levels. It’s been since 2012 that we didn’t pick up water during our rainy/tropical season. With that said our water levels are fine currently and we will be fine for the foreseeable future. Twelve months from now I hope we get blasted by Tropical Storm Tyrone. We are due to have a full lake to play in. Here are a few good ones from September including Joel’s near miss MEGA walrus personal best.


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October –

Jobs were once again at a premium. The fishing continued to be spotty at best. We were still offshore, but down sized our plastics a great deal. I also go lucky and found a wonderful school of fish off the main river channel. They were suspended in tree tops in 20 to 25 foot of water. Slow rolling spinnerbaits through the tops was the ticket. Unfortunately this school did not hold up for very long and I lost them after about 3 trips and haven’t found em since. Here are a few walruses from October.

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November – 

November started on Falcon Lake, Texas and ended in Erie, PA. The fishing took a notable turn for the worse this month and remains pretty damn tough heading into 2020. Not all days mind you, but if you fish 10 days in a row right now odds are 7 of them are going to be tough sledding. (jack pot spots need not apply) Here are a few from November.

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The girlies and I also took a family cruise to Mexico. We hit the weather jackpot and had so much fun. And selfie of the year goes to…….


Angels….pure hearted, beautiful angels. (cover me up with your finger….might take two)


December –

Sick……sickest I have been in a decade plus. You would have to go back to my teaching days to find a time where I was this sick. I hit the trifecta with the flu, common cold, and then last but not least strep throat. 25 days of feeling terrible……I just could not get right. I am happy to report that I am at 93% heading into 2020 however and trending to 100%. The unfortunate part is that I had 11 jobs on the books at one point or another and ended up only fishing 4 days………BRUTAL. No walruses were boated in December. The highlights of December were a father/son trip that saw Jay and his son Tobin break crappie records for High Stakes Bassin. Not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, but 5 crappie over 2 pounds.

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Another highlight was a Momma/Son combo of Becci and Austin. They were my last trip of 2019 and I couldn’t of asked for a better trip to wrap up my year. Those two were a guide’s dream. Even though the bite was brutally tough they never, not one time, stopped smiling and having fun. Two salt of the Earth folks…..Becci has done a remarkable job raising a terrific young man.

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Well that’s 2019 and the end of a decade. This decade started with me working in the public school system of Portsmouth, VA. I was battling more physical pain than I could handle. Dr. Mark Kerner of the Portsmouth Spine Institute gave me my life back in 2011 when he operated on my neck replacing 3 discs. I awoke from that surgery a new person and vowed to live my life every day as if it were my last. I told my superintendent and principal I was retiring from education and moving to the border to chase the dream of guiding on the best bass lake on the planet. They both laughed and probably thought I was high on pain meds. Told me to take my time and come back when I was healed up and thinking clearly. I never stepped foot in a school in VA again. Less than a month after my surgery we bought a house in Zapata, TX. My wife and I loaded up our 4 and 8 year old along with only a few possessions into a small uhaul. I hooked up my boat and in the middle of the night we headed to our new life along the border. I was still in a neck brace and could barely move my neck more than a couple inches either way. We had $230 bucks to our name in the bank and a credit card. My sister surprised us the night before and came over to wish us luck and handed us $500 dollars. We got to Zapata safely a day and a half later with no guarantees of what the future would hold. What an adventure the 2010’s were. Grab life by the ass folks…..with two damn hands. You have but one singular life to live.


To all of you still reading this…..I love ya and thanks for supporting my business all these years. See ya in 2020!!!



Family time

I have been all over the map since my last post. First up was a cruise with Jaime and the kids.

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We had a terrific time and the family quality time was a perfect 10 out of 10. The next stop was Erie, PA to visit my folks and sister and to do a lil hunting with the ole man.

Here’s a look at a small 8 point that I hope to see in the coming years.


I also got to spend a few hours with two great high school buddies as well. It’s been 24 years since we were in high school together and we still get together once a year and share some great laughs and talk about yesteryear like it was yesterday. The three of us are all married with kids and all have a lot of the same daily challenges that make life unpredictable and great. Love those fellas more every year.


I have fished a handful of days in between and around all of my trips. The common theme has been terrifically warm weather and a very inconsistent bite. We’ve had a 27 fish day down to a 9 fish day. We have not boated a fish North of 4 pounds either and really don’t believe we’ve had a big bite. Normally this time of year we are targeting the spawn. (both pre and spawning fish) This year has been much like December of 2012 and 2013…..the offshore bite is still the only way to consistently get bit. Will that change in the coming weeks? I doubt it….I think the offshore bite will remain king until February. Two major factors have lead to this…..#1 we didn’t pick up a lot of water during our late summer early fall tropical season. When we pick up 5-15 foot of water it pushes the fish shallow into the flooded new growth. It also kicks off the spawn. (mother nature knows how to take advantage of the “new lake effect”) #2 our air temps for the most part have remained above average for this time of year. (lows in the 60’s highs in the 80’s) With all that said are there some big bass being caught here on Falcon? Absolutely……as always Falcon has “jackpot” spots out there. Problem is they are VERY VERY few and far between currently. I have several jobs coming up between now and the end of the year and looking forward to each one.


I hope everyone reading this has a terrific Holiday Season with friends and family.



Bass, Crappie, Walruses oh my!


We aren’t in Kansas and we certainly aren’t in the Summer anymore either. October was a mixed bag for me and November is starting out the same way. My best days out here on Falcon have been the worst weather days and the really nice upper 80’s days have been tough. VERY strange to say the very least. Another oddity is the morning bite on the really cold days has been fantastic…..flip the switch to a beautiful warm morning? It’s tough to blow em out with dynamite and in many instances you are waiting until after lunch before you start running into active fish. We have been catching fish all over the lake and in every sort of depth and structure that you can name from the North to the South. The best tactic of late has been taking big spinnerbaits and slow rolling them through trees, rocks and bushes. Big flukes and senkos continue to dominate the scene as well. The biggest fish we’ve boated since I last wrote were an 8 and a 9 courtesy of my man Geoff. That freaking guy comes down and just simply whacks on fish every single October.

Move over Reggie……you’ve never whacked on Falcon Lake Walruses.

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Here are some more Walruses and JR Walruses.

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What about the crappie you ask? It’s the best I have ever seen……Never thought I would see such an incredible crappie boom and man are they fun to catch. Just ask my main man Elmo “ACTION” Jaxson. (screen name….all rights reserved)


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We are in the fast lane to 2020 with only one more month on the calendar left for the year that was 2019. That’s tough to write. Been another terrific year here along the border for my family and I. Ya’ll play a massive roll in that and it’s certainly appreciated.


Take care and come see me before 2020!



Fall comes in as Falcon Lake goes up.

Officially Fall is here. With that said we haven’t seen so much as a whiff of a cold front. Since I last wrote we nearly got a game changing water event here along the border, but of course she got to 70 miles of us and completely fell apart. Did we get some rain and pick up some water? Sure……game changing amounts? No…..roughly 14 inches + or -. As the lake has crept up the short term fishing has certainly suffered unfortunately. More specifically the big fish bite. My numbers most days have still been 40-60 fish a day with the following being a typical fish being caught.




We did catch a few walruses……and I use the word “we” loosely…lol. Here are two from Joel.

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and then Joel followed those two up with a new person best of 9.32 lbs at the last stop on his final day.




I also spent a bazillion and one hours detailing both boats……love a freshly waxed boat.




Cya on the water and bring a cold front with ya!


A truly remarkable summer on Falcon Lake, TX, Schedule for 2020, Vegas and the family.

The calendar has turned to September and the “summer” is officially (or unofficially) over. I have seen some incredible summers here along the border, both here on Falcon and on Sugar Lake. This summer will certainly go down into the history books as one of the very best stretches we’ve ever had. Here are a handful of pics from the last few trips including Steve’s personal best of 10.39.



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I sure don’t want 2019 to end, but I have recently gotten bookings for 2020. One booking for the spawn…..




……..and one already with their eyes on next summer (and I certainly can’t blame them)….



I just got back from another trip out to the desert and man I miss the days where I used to go out and bring them to their knees….lol. In 2015 and 2016 I won some SERIOUS money over the span of 7 trips. Not life changing money, but SERIOUS money. The second half of 2017, 2018, 2019 Vegas has gotten their revenge. I went out this last trip with the idea of getting into the Circa Million contest and the Superbook contest. Weeeeeeellllllll that didn’t happen. On my last full day I decided to sit down at a blackjack table and win my entry fees. (1k for Circa and 1.5k for the Superbook along with $550 in Proxy fees) Two hours into my BJ session and I am ROLLING. I have my buy ins and much much more. After my 11th shot of Jack Daniels and 7th Budweiser I make an executive decision to push and go for the throat of Cosmo. For those that have enjoyed the thrill of the hunt in Vegas…..I believe ya’ll have read this book and chapter before. I punished myself for not getting up off that table by not getting into the contests. The only bummer of the trip. (as it was the main excuse I gave the Mrs as to why I had to go….lol….oops) Here was the best slot hit I had.



and here’s the view from my suite at Cosmo over looking the Belagio fountains.



I live to see that view…….


Our house addition is finally done and the girlies couldn’t be happier.

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aaaaand speaking of Girlies….Jaime and I now have a Sophomore and 7th grader.

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Love ya Highstakesbassin fam and hope to see everyone soon.





Schedule update:

August 14th through the 17th have been booked.



August 12th through the 18th are……

……open. I rarely if ever give out an all call. But here it is. If you have the time and the means and you want an EPIC walrus whacking good time on Falcon Lake…..come on down.

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As you can see …..Shannan and Dean had a straight up monstrous trip this week. Then my man Robby rolled into town and followed them up with two walruses of his own today that included a 9.03 lb personal best.

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Fire me an email, text or call and we will make it happen.



Personal best after personal best after personal best on Falcon Lake, Texas

People ask me these two questions all the time. They are similar questions, but with different answers.

(1.) “When is the BEST time to come down and fish Falcon Lake.”

Answer: When it fits your schedule the best. I will never ever change my answer to that question. Falcon is simply an amazing fishery 12 months out of the year. Come on down when you need to get away and have a terrific worry free, world class fishing experience.


(2.) “What month is your favorite on Falcon Lake.”

Answer: Summer. June, July, and August are simply amazing down here. I have said it over and over and over again. I get that the heat scares folks away and it truly is unfortunate because truth is, the heat most days is a total non factor here on Falcon. On the water and whacking em by 6:30….off the water by 2 and in the AC celebrating with an ice cold margarita at The Steakhouse. It simply gets no better, in my humble opinion, than Falcon Lake, Texas in the Summer.


Check out these Summertime Walruses and Junior Walruses from the past few trips.

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As the title says… are the personal bests for Guy, Grady, and David.

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…..and the biggest personal best went to my man Clay. I’ve been blessed beyond words to have been a part of Clay and Barbara’s personal bests many, many, many, many times over. Here’s Clay’s latest and greatest PB that came in at 11.12 lbs.



For those that continue, trip after trip after trip, to come down and spend your hard earned money supporting my family and business………


Thank you,




Falcon Lake and the Tribe

I have had an incredibly busy stretch that looks like it will continue into August. I’m not just talking about fishing Falcon Lake either, but that’s where we will start. Falcon of late has had moments of pure awesomeness, but I’ve also had my share of head scratching trips as well. If it sounds like fishing it’s because it is. The best bite going has been the MAGNUM crappie. I’ve seen two the last month or so that would of pushed 4 lbs. I’m talking area 51 aliens shit. The common size is that 10-14 in. crappie with multiples in the 2-2.5 lb range. We have also caught some dam nice bass as well. (pun intended)

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and here is one of those 2 lb crappie




I juuuuuuust got back from a terrific trip up North to watch the Tribe with my folks. Unfortunately we only won 1 out of 3. Mom and I also hit the Jack casino multiple times over and Mom actually went home a winner… Don’t ask.



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…..and the second pic in 2019 that I will have framed.



Goodness I love that pic…..Mom is not known for her picture taking abilities by any stretch, but she nailed that one. I will be on the water a bunch coming up and there is a return trip to the desert on the horizon as well.


Can’t wait.

Summer is here and so are the Walruses. A dog named Benji.



127 degrees……..mind you it did cool off to 114 once we got on the road for a few minutes.


Truth be told the temps are great till 1 pm and by that time our days are done or damn close to being done. I try to have the first fish in the boat by 7 and the last one by 2. Then it’s air conditioning time. How’s the fishing in the heat of the summer you ask? I hear a picture is worth a bunch of words……so lets show you 11 and we will start with my man Lambo’s new personal best that came in at 9.57 lbs.



….and the rest of the walrus party that includes Troy and Bill’s most epic trip.

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Those pics are the good news. We are whacking big fish let there be no two ways around that. The bad news? My numbers suck. Seriously suck……we have had a 7 fish day up to a 37 fish day with most days settling into the upper teens lower 20’s. For this time of year that’s simply not very good. Before my back injury I had spots that you could sit on and literally catch 50 fish and that’s spots as in plural, more than one.



Our water levels the last month or so have been on a free fall and those jackpot spots I had pumping out fish after fish after fish have simply dried up. Where did the numbers move to? Man I’m trying to find em every day and I have been very fortunate to have found a few really really REALLY small spots holding really big fish……just not many, but enough to make trips VERY memorable.


and speaking of memorable……




My girlies found a little dog that was nearly on his last day. We’ve nursed him back to health with the help of our vet.



As you can see he’s doing well and the other dog’s absolutely love him. We are glad to have em as well.




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