BassWestUSA - November/December, 2009, Page 67

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Hunting, a big draw for the area is allowed in five des- ignated areas of Amistad National Recreation Area during specified seasons. The hunting opportunities adjacent to the Amistad NRA are abundant. Visitors can count on chances for big Texas whitetail, turkey, dove and quail. Many outfitters offer hunting and fishing combos during season as well. There are also many private ranches that offer more exciting and exotic species as well within a short drive of Del Rio. Hunting at Amis- tad NRA is ARCHERY ONLY except a shotgun with birdshot may be used for dove, quail, duck, and rabbit. The use of rifles, hand- guns and crossbows is not permitted. JC Gwynne, ‘ The Amistad Man’ as he’s called, a very popu- lar guide, has been on the lake since the late 1960’s. Gwynne suggested chasing stripers from November through early Febru- ary, which is when the largemouth bass season really gets go- ing. “Top water action for stripers and whites can be fast paced as the bait gets balled up in the fall and winter here,” reported Gwynne. Stripers here average 7-10 pounds with a handful in the teens. “There are larger striper’s here but rarely do they come to the top over the deep clear water channels,” added Gwynne. For Gwynne and other guides, it’s the black bass that keep the customers coming back. Early in the season he suggests starting up the Rio Grande arm and as the season progress- es he likes fishing

Castle Canyon and the mouth of Devils River. The clarity of the water here allows customers to become fascinated sight fish- ing its depths. Favorite baits for Gwynne include California Swim Baits Big E and the Mission Fish are atop the list. Former Bassmaster Elite Series Pro and guide Kurt Dove has some excellent and exciting opportunities for Amistad visi- tors. Obvious is the fishing, but many visitors enjoy the boat-in access to Seminole Canyon and most of the best rock paintings that North America has to offer, again, accessible only by boat. With a personal best here of 9.2 pounds on a certified scale and several others not far behind, caught while just “fun” fishing, Dove concentrates on three favorite baits on this crystal clear impoundment. 10” Berkley Power Worms, Optimum BLT Swim- bait and a Jewel Football Jig in brown/purple flash. The sum- mer pattern for Dove is best found in the mid-lake reaches of Lake Amistad. He really likes the Box Canyon area up towards Live Oak Creek. In the fall, Dove likes Devil’s River and the Rio Grande Basin. Grass is the key for numbers here according to Dove. “Look for the Hydrilla and you’ll find the numbers,” he added. The sub- tle differences in grass locations are what make good locations great. “Those special areas have a combination of hydrilla with wood below for monster bass to hide. This is a proven pattern that can’t be beat for the larger fish here,” according to Dove. Byron Velvick, Bassmaster Elite Se- ries pro, former host of ESPN2’s Bass- center, and the current host of the same network’s Going Coastal, has found Amis- tad to be the perfect match for the west- ern rooted angler. Velvick cut his teeth fishing in the West with a particular fondness for simi- lar high desert lakes. Two of his biggest fishing successes, US Open victories on Lake Mead in 1991 and again in 1996, were in such a climate. While water clar- ity and surroundings are similar, Amistad is perfect for this swimbait guru who con-

Photo by Matt Pang

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November/December 2009


Photo by Matt

Pangrac / BA S