East Texas fishermen reeling in the big fish with low water levels

By Morgan Thomas - bio | email

LAKE SAM RAYBURN, TX (KTRE) – It's not hard to get hooked on fishing at Lake Sam Rayburn these days.

It may surprise East Texans that it's a great time to get out there on the lake despite several factors causing the lake levels to drop.

Roy Radcliff didn't have to travel far from his Zavalla home for this year's vacation.

"About twice a year I've got two weeks off and I'm trying to bass fish every day," said Radcliff.

It's east to see why the fishing is great on Sam Rayburn reservoir. The sounds of nature. Being out on his boat.

"It was good today. We have 19 pounds of fish probably. Caught 20 this morning," said Radcliff.

Not bad for a lake with low water levels. Nothing to worry about, says Radcliff's fishing buddy, Lynn Atkinson. It's normal for this time of year.

"The lake's about six and a half feet low," said Atkinson.

The dry conditions and the dam levels aren't helping. Atkinson says the corps of engineers is behind the main cause.

"They draw it down deal for a hurricane coming in and dropping off a lot of rain.. They don't want to be caught with a lot of water in the lake," said Atkinson.

Catching a big one is an adrenaline rush. A feeling Radcliff says you never forget.

"If you bass fish you know right away if you got something good. And when she goes around the boat two and half times with ya - you know you have a big fish. One of the best feelings in the world," said Radcliff.

It may surprise some people, but these guys aren't using live bait, like worms. Instead, they're using spinner bait. They say it makes the sport even more of a challenge.

"That's why they don't call it catching. It's fishing because it's a challenge to catch these black bass," said Atkinson.

While the shallow waters scare off many fishermen, these local anglers know better. They're the ones reeling in some of the best fishing in the state.

They aren't bringing any bass home. That's because most fishermen catch and release so the future generation can have bigger and better bass left to catch.

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