Just got back from my annual visit to Dallas, Texas. Spent a few days with my son and extended family, and had some meetings to attend as well. As my time was somewhat limited, my plan was to fish short sessions in between meetings, forcing me to find spots relatively close to where I was going. Also forced me to stay local in Dallas, so the trip was mainly going to be urban fishing in the Dallas area. Carp were going to be my target species for the trip.
Due to airline restrictions, I brought the bare minimum with me, which included a Rapala travel rod designed for bass, which breaks down into 4 sections, a couple baitrunner reels, and some end tackle. Borrowed an old 10 foot surf rod from my father in law which is no longer in use, except for when I visit.Texas allows for fishing up to 100 hooks per person, potentially allowing for 100 rods. Some areas have 2 and 3 rod restrictions, so it pays do do some research before heading out.
Got out of the airport on Thursday before noon, was closer to noon by the time I reached my destination.
After unpacking and a short break, I picked up my fishing license, a landing net and a few bags of frozen corn for bait. As a non resident, my license cost me $58, still better than paying by day which would have totalled $64. It's also valid until the end of summer if ever I make it back this year.
Hit my first spot close to 2:00 PM. Spot was just about unfishable due to low water, heavy weed cover at the bottom, tons of ducks and geese, and some kids throwing things in the water. Got fed up after about an hour, so I headed to my second spot after about an hour, hitting my favorite liquor store (Sigels) on the way. Luckily, I knew what I was looking for, with over 100 varieties of tequila and only 1 bottle allowance to bring back, it can be overwhelming unless you've done your homework. Picked up some nice cold imported beer as well, only to find out later on that most spots I fished had laws against drinking in public.
Hit my second post close to 3:30 PM. Set up my rods, didn't take long for sunfish and turtles to start eating off my bait. I would have been a lot better off with boilies there, but didn't take the time to make any before I left.
I eventually hooked a very small carp, ended up spitting my hook. Hooked another one later which took me straight into a tree and snagged my line. That was it for the day, headed out before 6:00 PM, as I had to meet my son.
A cold front blew in the next morning, temperature was about -2 wind chill when I got up. Not too good for fishing, as that's about as cold as it gets in Dallas. Did try a short 1 hour session between 2 meetings, no bites. With another spare hour in the afternoon, I decided to try Bachman lake, which is less than 5 minutes drive from where I was staying. My original plan was to night fish Bachman lake, but after doing some research, I was advised to avoid it even in the day, let alone at night, as it's located in prime gangland. With the cold front, I was quite confident that there wouldn't be any gang activity there during the day, so we headed out for a quick session. Sure enough, we had the entire lake to ourselves, but fish weren't biting.
That was it for the weekend, next chance to fish was on Sunday. Temperature had warmed up to a nice 22 degrees, so Ari and I planned to spend a good 6-7 hours on the water. Last May, Ari found a spot full of carp near a Marina on Lake Lewisville. Having been skunked a number of times at Lake Lewisville back when I lived in Dallas about 15 years ago, I was very skeptical. When we finally got to the area, we found "no fishing" signs everywhere, so had to fish further away. Nothing doing for about 2 hours, I had enough and decided to hit our next spot.
Dallas was many flood control creeks and ponds throughout the city, and most are stocked with bass and catfish by Texas parks and wildlife dept. In addition, many connect to each other as well as the Trinity River, so many other species including carp inhabit them. I had never fished this area before, so wasn't too sure what to expect. Got started just before 2:00 PM. Cast out a couple rods for carp, using corn as bait. Ari brought along a bass rod to throw some lures with while waiting for the carp to start feeding. Sure enough, he had his first bass of the season within 20 minutes or so, a nice 2.5 lbs Largemouth bass.
The carp didn't take much longer to get going. Within 10 minutes to Ari catching his bass, I got my first run. Landed this 11 lbs carp within a couple minutes, my first carp of 2013.
Didn't take 10 minutes, and Ari landed 2 back to back carp, 7 and 8 lbs. After slowing down a bit for an hour, my bass rod went off. The carp dropped it, only to come back with 20 seconds or so. Had the 14 pounder in the net shortly after, really nice fight in the light rod I was using.
we finshged the day with Ari catching another 14 lbs, followed by a 13 pounder.
Monday was my "day off". I had planned it a while back, idea was to head to world famous Lake Fork. Though Lake Fork is famous for the size of it's bass (18 lb lake record), the first carp and buffalo tournament there in 2012 was quite a success, with carp up to 35 lbs and smallmouth buffalo (buffs as the locals call them) up to 65 lbs landed. Not knowing where to start or end on that lake, and due to the potential size of the trophies, I decided to hire a guide. I opted to hire Richard Sommerville, who currently holds the lake record for buffs at 67 lbs. Originally from the UK, Richard has fished Texas for over 10 years, and is one of the pioneer carpers in that state.
Unfortunately, Richard is participating in the 2nd annual carp tournament, which is being held at Lake Fork next week. This meant that he wasn't allowed to fish any of the pegs for 2 weeks in advance, which forced us onto a different part of the lake. Though the conditions looked very promising, all we managed to land for the days were 3 channel cats, biggest one about 8 lbs.
Despite the lousy fishing, we had a good time. I learned a lot from him during the course of the day, and being the the first class guy that he is, he invited out to fish with him next time I visit.
It felt great to fish open water again, and even better to experience some nice screaming carp run in the dead of winter. I even got to wear a t shirt for the first time in 4-5 months. Now that I'm back, I will likely head out on ice another coupe times before the hardwater season ends.