Had a chance to discuss Texas bass fishing with Chris Powell. Chris is a great guy with a great perspective on bass fishing. Keep reading to learn more about Chris Powell.
What is your earliest fishing memory?
My earliest fishing memory is probably fishing in my papa’s pond. It was just a small pond that my brothers and cousin would walk to. We mostly caught bluegill, catfish, and a few bass.
I really got hooked in to bass fishing when my step dad and my uncle started taking my brothers and I camping. We would mostly fish the murky backwaters of Lake Palestine, setting out trotlines and jug lines hoping to catch a few Giant catfish.
I still remember the day that I got bit by the bug. It was first time I ever came across schooling bass. My Uncle Danny told me to wade out near the creek channel and throw a chrome black backed Pop R in to the schooling bass. I must of caught 20 bass in about 15 minutes! They were biting every cast!
I had never seen bass act like that or catch that many bass back to back. Since then it was hard to fish for anything else but bass. All I wanted to do was get back to the brackish waters of Lake Palestine and try and figure out a pattern.
What is your personal best largemouth?
My personal best bass is 8 pounds and 4 ounces. I had just gotten a used bass boat. Before then all I had ever fished from was little 12 to 14 feet jon boats. It was in the Middle of August right dead in the dog days of summer. My wife and I were dating at the time and we decided to beat the heat and go night fishing.
We pulled up to the Lake Athens boat ramp. It was a clear muggy night with a big full moon. We idled out to a main lake point that had a creek channel that runs right beside it. Stef and I were both throwing a 12 inch black with blue flake power worm. Texas rigged with a little 1/4 ounce bullet weight. I was casting it up to the grass line in about 8 feet of water and just felt weight.
I did a halfhearted hook set on what I thought was grass. It felt like I was dragging an old wet tee shirt through the water; guess she didn’t know she was hooked. I got it up next to the boat and flipped the spot light on to get a look, and then the battle began.
It started pulling drag like I had never seen. Luckily that halfhearted hook set was just enough to keep her stuck. After she got done making her runs I was able to lip her and get here in the boat! I was ecstatic for the rest of the night.
My wife was able to stick a 4 pounder later that night. Those were the only two fish we caught that night. Since that night Stef and I have caught about a half a dozen 7’s and 8’s but have yet to break my personal best bass. Stef came super close with another 8 pound 4 ounce bass on the dot. We also caught that fish while night fishing. Lake Athens is just a bass factory loaded with a numerous amount of cookie cutter bass in that 7 and 8 pound range!
Everyone’s got a one-that-got-away story. What is yours?
I was once again night fishing during the Dog days of summer. I pull up on a main Lake point that has Deep Creek Channel running right up beside. Of course I was throwing my 12 inch power worm. I ended setting the hook into a few good ones around the 4 pound range.
I made my way around the point. I pulled out just a little deeper. and I made my cast to the grass line. I never felt it hit bottom. I reeled up my slack, set the hook into what felt like a large steer! For those that don’t know me, I’m all about big rods, heavy line, and stout hooks. All I could do was just hang on for the ride.
It made a b-line straight for deep water. I pulled even harder and ended up opening up an 7/0 EWG hook. Most folks tell me that it may have been a large catfish. But we will never know. Since then I have been throwing a 7/0 Trokar TK130 Straight Shank Flipping hook on the 12 inch power worms. Most folks tell me it’s overkill. But I refuse to be burnt again like that.
What are your favorite Texas waters to fish for largemouth bass?
First on the list would have to be Lake Palestine. This lake has everything from docks, offshore roadbeds, sunken bridges rock piles brush piles, rocky banks and creek/river channels bends and so much more! It even has some good grass fishing if you know where to look.
What makes this lake so special is that it really has something for everyone no matter what your strengths are. It’s not uncommon for locals to catch a 25 pound plus bag in the springtime.
Second would definitely be Lake Athens. What makes this lake so special is the abundance of grass. A couple of years ago you could find healthy crunchy grass as deep as 16 to 18 feet in a few places. Along with the grass you have access to steep sloping banks, lots of deep brush piles and much more! Not to mention the number of bass one angler can catch when they are really fired up.
Fifty fish days are not uncommon. Even a “bad” day of fishing on Lake Athens is still better than most lakes. Lake Athens is really more of a numbers lake. Although, it is common to stick a couple six to seven pounders with a jig or deep diving crank bait while weeding out the little ones.
What do you consider your overall strengths as an angler?
My overall strengths as an angler is being able go to highly pressured reservoirs and still be able to dial in a pattern and catch a quality bag. The lakes that I fish have multiple weekly tournaments that start up about the end of January or first of February and don’t stop until nearly November.
I’m only able to fish and film on Mondays due to my busy work schedule. So by the time Monday rolls around the bass have been pounded on since Friday by multiple anglers and seen hundreds of lures. They’ve heard thousands of boats zoom right by their environment. It definitely makes fishing tough but I m always up for a good challenge.
Next season, I am only letting you throw two baits for your favorite bass waters for all of next year. What two baits are you throwing?
Oh that’s easy…I would be flipping a jig and working a jerkbait. These two baits are what I like to call year around lures. They work in the coldest months of the year and the hottest months of the year; from one extreme climate to the next.
The rod I like to fish that on is the Dobyns Fury Flip Stick, Lews Speed Spool, with 50lb braid. Most of the time I will fish straight braid unless it has been one of those weekends where the bass have been hammered on by hundreds of anglers. I will tie on a fluorocarbon leader to be a little more stealthy.
The secret to fishing a jig is just fish it SLOW; methodically picking apart everything that you are fishing. It could be grass lines, creek channel bends, shell beds, stumps, brush piles, ditches, lay downs, grass mats, main lake, secondary points, or even bluff banks. Just pick it apart and look for the high percentage areas or what I like to call the irregular’s. REALLY focus on the irregulars. All of these places that I mentioned above will have some type of high percentage area or “irregular” and those spots reload with bass quite often! You just have to put your time in and pay attention and look for them.
Let’s move onto the jerkbait. The rod I use was given to me. It is super old and they don’t make it anymore. But it is a 7ft medium Kistler fiberglass rod, my reel selection is a Lews Speed Spool. I run 30lb Braid to a 12lb mono leader. The jerkbait is super versatile and can draw fish from a long distance in clear water.
The biggest thing to remember about a jerk bait is to fish it with slack in the line. With plenty of slack and a glass rod that’s got a good tip you can make that lure dance and do all kinds of tricks all while keeping it in the strike zone. In the warmer months I will fish it pretty aggressively with a jerk, jerk, jerk, pause, jerk, cadence. All the while targeting and methodically picking apart those “irregulars” and high percentage areas.
In the colder months I like to dead stick the suspending or slow sink models. The colder it is the longer I will let it sit. This will give those bass plenty of time to study the bait.
Some folks won’t fish a jerkbait in dirty water but I will! I have had many good days fishing the murky backwaters of Lake Palestine with a jerkbait. In dirty water I will fish a bright white, or a neon clown color and loud rattles are MUST! My retrieve is definitely slower in dirty water. I make sure that my cast are right up against the cover or structure that the bass are relating to. It just gives those fish a better chance to look at it.
You obviously love fishing with your wife. What makes her an excellent fishing partner?
What makes Stefanie a great fishing partner is just her view on things. She fishes by her natural instinct. She really keeps the atmosphere very lively. Plus it’s awesome to see her flip a jig down a stretch of bank and stick a six or seven pound pig! She can honestly fish better than most men, and I wouldn’t want anyone else as a co-angler in my boat. It really means the world to me that she gets the same enjoyment out of this sport that I do. I consider myself very blessed!
What should we expect from the YouTube channel next year?
Right now I am pumping out as many videos as I can and will continue to do so. I do want to mention that this is just a hobby for me right now, although we do have high hopes, and are prayerful of it becoming more than that.
I help lead worship at my church every Sunday, and I work a full time job, putting in almost 50 hours a week. My plan is to film as much as I can even with all of that going on! Definitely going to be fishing some new lakes this year. I’m also hoping to learn lots of new techniques. Planning to film some camping vlogs for the lakes that are further away. My goals for the channel are simple, to put as much quality content out as I can and enjoy my time on the water!
Thank you Chris. I have already subscribed to Chris Powell Fishing TV and will definitely be watching over at YouTube @ChrisPowellFishingTV.