In 2010, Bobby Gonzalez was a vacationer casting a line from a rented kayak at Port Aransas. A scant two years later with a near 11-pounder and a string of other chunks to his name, he was celebrating the 2012 KayakBassFishing.com series championship. At the time it was arguably the most prestigious freshwater title in the world.
"I got into bass fishing the season I bought my kayak. I caught a nice 8-pounder, and a five and six. I got that adrenaline rush," he says.
The achievement was as much a testament to the early, Wild West days of the competitive kayak bass fishing scene as it was his talent and intense focus. And his home turf, don't discount that. Gonzalez lives in Laredo, a dusty town huddled against the U.S.-Mexico border. That same border is the Rio Grande River. An hour's drive from Gonzalez's Laredo home, the river's waters settle into the vast Falcon International Reservoir: 83,000 surface acres of all-season big bass habitat.
"People have figured out Texas has good bass. Falcon is on the map. If you're looking for a personal best, you come here," Gonzalez says.
The lake's productivity is one reason Gonzalez has won three kayaks, a couple of paddles, some depth finders, a life vest, and a bunch of gift cards in KBF competition. Over a midday meal of mesquite grilled beef barbacoa—Gonzalez doesn't usually stop for such a tasty and elaborate shore lunch, but he's as generous with his hospitality as he is his hard-won fishing knowledge—he broke the giant lake down for fellow 'yak anglers looking for that fat ten-spot.
That big 'ol rock damn is a great place to start. "It's good for kayaks, there's so much structure down to 40 feet. A lot of big bass hang at the damn. When the gates are open, it activates the bass. They'll want to eat," he says. Don't overlook the nearby trees and cover. There are bass there too.
To get away from buzzing bass boats, try an out of the way launch.
Los Tigres Island and Old Falcon Lake Road don't get so many boats. After May, when the fish are off the beds, they'll hang on structure. Try old houses and the trees in 8- to 9-feet of water.
If you're flipping plastics into the trees off Zapata, bring a brush clamp. You'll need the leverage to have any chance. A double-digit bass will easily bust 30-pound braid. "It's heart-breaking. Those hurt," Gonzalez says. Stakeout poles don't work so well—too many roots and rocks.
The first time on any lake, make scouting your priority. Evaluate the cover. Are there a lot of cattails or brush with nearby deep water? "That's the first place I hit," Gonzalez says. Look for birds and bait. If the wind is blowing the shad up against the shore, try lipless cranks in 6- to 10-feet of water. Slowly stich spinnerbaits or Texas-rigged plastics across likely flats.
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