Throughout the history of the Bassmaster Classic, revered as “the” bass fishing tournament, more than 29 bodies of waters have been lucky enough to host it. Now you can add Lake Travis to the list because the city of Jonestown will host the 2018 Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament.
Although this legendary fishing competition has been held in Texas — it’s been at Sam Rayburn Reservoir in East Texas 31 times — this is the first professional-level bass tournament to reach the shores of Lake Travis.
Wondering why our beautiful lake got chosen for the first time in 50 years?
The answer is simple — rain.
Remember all of the rain hubbub in May 2015? Why of course you do!
Our sad “drought” status that we were lamenting in May 2015 became a thing of the past when our lake levels began to rise. Sure, the rain put a damper on outside recreation for a few weeks, but you didn’t care. That glorious rain did the trick and Lake Travis was full in time for summer fun. We didn’t even need to ship in an iceberg to make it happen.
Anyway, those big rains in 2015 are part of the reason Lake Travis will be showcased for this elite tourney in 2018. Think of the new water that came pouring into our lakes years ago as an underwater home renovation for our bass population.
All of those exposed logs, rock ledges and vegetation that was roasting in the sun for years (like Sometimes Island), was once again submerged. Our aquatic friends and predators had the protective cover and flourished.
Stock on a rise
That’s when Texas Parks and Wildlife Department relied on an old adage to make fishing magic happen, “stock on a rise, and advertise.”
In June 2015, inland fisheries crews stocked more than 7.5 million fish in freshwater fish hatcheries in Texas — 3.4 million Florida-strain largemouth bass, 2.2 million striped bass and 1.4 million striped/white bass hybrids, 40,000 bluegills and about 117,000 Guadalupe bass.
TPWD continued working hard to replenish the lakes, knowing this would bless Lake Travis with a “new lake effect.” And it did. Fast-forward to today and Lake Travis is once again a top destination for fishing.
So now you know how Lake Travis snagged the honor of hosting the $1 million elite series of Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest.
What’s in store for these fishermen?
According to B.A.S.S., the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, many of the elite anglers who will be competing have probably never fished Lake Travis before. This means anglers and their fans are in for some excitement.
Lake Travis is fickle, even for experienced anglers. Prize fish bite one day, but not the next. Bass in Texas are famous for suspending over points and along drop-offs.
What will elite anglers use to bring them to the top? Topwater, jerkbaits or spinnerbaits? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
The Bassmaster Elite Series kicks off on May 19 with a fan appreciation day and numerous activities. The tournament itself will take place at the 32-acre Jones Brothers Park with 2,100 feet of shoreline. The tournament benefits Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
We know we’ve got readers who are experienced fisherman themselves. What’s your advice for anglers on a quest at Lake Travis? Let us know in the comments section on our Facebook page.
I had to scuba dive around my dock to locate dock line. At about 19 ft, visibility was pretty poor so I turned on my light. Two large mouth bass started following me right over my shoulder as I crisscrossed my way long the drop off. At first I thought I must be near their nest because there were some barrel anchors around. But they continued to follow me as I cut back and forth on my search grid. They were a good size, about 3 to 5 lbs. I’ve never been followed by bass before. It could have been that my light looked like a shiny fish. I have had tarpon follow my light on night dives in the Caribbean to locate prey but never bass in Lake Travis. I think this speaks to the health of the population. And you are correct about their preferences. They were right at drop off of the rock ledge in my cove.