A strong front the day before had dropped morning air temperatures back into the 40's and as the song says "The stars at night, are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas." Sitting in my boat in the darkness as anglers were launching, the stars just twinkled like little flashing lights, and of course after sunrise you have that famous bluebird sky.
After the prayer and National Anthem, my boat #45 was off and running! With the aid of my Humminbird electronics and Navionics chip, I stayed out of harm's way by running the Rio Grande channel passing lapping water barely covering white humped islands, glistening in the morning sunrise 75 yards away. This can be a scary ride for sure. Since I would be needing my Yamaha and did not want to knock off a lower unit, I navigated very carefully.
I started casting a Strike King Sexy Dog and missed several bass as they would blow up on the bait but not take it. Its just about top water time but the high pressure had me thinking I should throw a Strike King Red Eye Shad. Within 30 minutes I had boated my limit of keepers. Now it was time to start throwing plastics to improve my weight. I pulled out the Carolina rig and started what I call "drifting and dragging." 45 minutes later I had thrown all of my first limit back and had a new limit in the live well. My newly-installed Cull Keeper came in so handy!
Around 10:00 am I had a competitor idling within 50 yards of my boat and watching me. Just then my rod loaded up with another bite. The observer looked like he might be following the "bent pole pattern" so I just let the fish swim around in 25 ft. of water. I swear I do this in practice when boats are close but I never had in a tournament. As soon as I saw the back of their life jackets and heard the engine rev up, I set the hook and the fish was still there! She came up and jumped and I said out loud "Oh my God its a smallie!" I got her in the boat and much to my surprise, after all that swimming around under my boat she was hooked in the side of the mouth and had not swallowed the hook.
My setup included a Strike King Tour Grade Tungsten Carolina Rig Weight combined with a Caffeine Shad. Lake Amistad has never been considered a smallmouth lake and the last time I caught one was a non-keeper back in 2004. Amistad Guide and Elite Angler Kurt Dove as well as Amistad Guide Olin Jensen both agreed that more and more smallmouths are being caught and the drought and low water has pushed them out to the deeper ledges now.