A third bass in the two to three pound class chose to spend seventy-five percent of the tug of war on the surface before earning it’s freedom with a final leap at the boat.Only two casts later it was game on again as a much larger fish opted to flex her muscle and bury up in the scattered grass.

I eventually lifted her and a moss covered Trap over the side of Preston Cary’s boat.Without bothering to take the time to weigh her, I guessed her weight to be five to six pounds and eased her back into the water.

“You were right about these fish holding in this off-colored water,” I said before making another cast.“I wouldn’t know,” barked P.C., “I can’t tie my Trap on in all of this wind.My line keeps missing that little hole and I’ve dropped it three times!”

“It’s not the wind,” I teased, “Those seventy-four year old eyes and no glasses make it tough. You want me to tie it on for you?”His expected reply was not suitable for print.

He had called two weeks earlier after catching two bass over nine pounds in the same week, but I was spending more time at the ball park than fishing at that time.“There is a color change about half way back in the creek and the bass are stacked up in that first fifty feet.They aren’t all big, but they are all solid fish and a lot of fun.”

My refusal to drive up and fish with him was unacceptable.“After that game in Jasper, instead of driving home come over here and spend the night with us.We can fish and you can go back to the night gametomorrow.”Not accepting that offer would require an outright lie so I threw some extra clothes and a rod in the backseat of the truck.

I have never fished Rayburn nearly as much as Toledo Bend, but they do fish much differently.P.C. was raised in the shadows of Rayburn and has fished there his entire life.He has seen both the good and the bad over the years and says the catching has never been better than it has for the last five years.

“The folks that are claiming that T-Bend is the best bass lake in America obviously haven’t fished over here very much,” says Cary.“I don’t leave the house hoping that I’ll catch fish anymore,” he bragged, “I expect to catch fish every trip and big fish at that!”

We never caught a bass over six pounds, but we caught quality fish non-stop until P.C.’s cell phone rang with an offer for lunch.When his wife, Connie, calls with an invite to eat I never pass it up. Our decision to join her was rewarded with chicken fried back strap, biscuits, black-eyed peas and peach cobbler. I usually make do with Vienna sausage and a bottle of water when fishing.

P.C. may very well be right in his assessment of the bass fishing on Rayburn.The spawn invariable seems to light off a little earlier than it does on T-Bend and in spite of the fishing pressure, the older lake continues to kick out crazy numbers of magnum bass.Aside from the angler commitment to catch and release, I think it’s the number of different patterns that work at the same time that produces so many quality fish.

You need look no further than last week’s Bass Champs tournament on Rayburn.Of the 322 teams that fished, 153 of them weighed in ten pound stringers or better and 23 of them topped the 20 pound mark. Those are incredible numbers when you add to them the number of bass that were culled and never made it to the weigh-in!

And, while on that topic, hats off to several Orange County teams that finished well and cashed nice checks for their efforts.Five of those teams finished in the top 23. Kevin Wolford and Shane Dorsey took home third place money finishing only two pounds behind the Bennet’s winning catch of 35.23-pound stringer and .07 of a pound out of second!

Jack Tindel and Dalton Soliz earned a check for their fifth place catch of 29.90 pounds and also weighed in one of the six nine pound bass caught in the tournament.Cory Rambo and Rusty Clark finished ninth, Donnie Pickard and Alan Ashby finished sixteenth and Melvin Dunn and Keith Hawkins cashed a check for their 23^rd place finish.