DRAGONFLY - RAYMARINE

FALCON LAKE PREVEIW

Posted by Z3 MEDIA STAFF on 03/20/2013

Story by Matt Pangrac - Photos by Dave Rush and Matt Pangrac

Zapata TX – This week marks the long-awaited return to Zapata, Texas and Falcon Lake for the Bassmaster Elite Series.  The last time the Elite Series visited the border fishery, Paul Elias set the heavyweight record with a four day total weight of 132-pounds, 8-ounces.  12 anglers broke the 100-pound mark, and the top 50 cut weight was a staggering 49-pounds, 7-ounces.   

While the weights this week are once again expected to be impressive, it’s not the same Falcon Lake that the Elites experienced five years ago.  The water level is approximately 6-feet lower than it was in 2008, and based on practice reports, the 25-pound limits that seemingly came at will during the last Elite Series stop on Falcon, are a little tougher to come across this time around. 

On Wednesday, the final day of official practice, the temperature is expected top out at 81 degrees with cloudy skies and intermittent rain showers.  It is expected to heat back up as the week progresses, with highs topping out at 103 degrees on Saturday before cooling off to the upper 80s on championship Sunday.    

The 5 Preview Facts for Falcon Lake: 
Tournament: Bassmaster Elite Series (March 21-24)
Location:  Falcon Lake – Zapata, Texas
Fishery Facts:  84,000 acre fishery along the Rio Grande River on the Texas/Mexico border.  Heavyweight record of 132-8 set in 2008 by Paul Elias.       
Field Size: 100 anglers 
Previous Winner: Paul Elias – 2008 Bassmaster Elite Series (132-8)

Paul Elias
What is the X-factor going to be this week on Falcon Lake? 
“I think that it’s going to be pulling up on the right spot at the right time.  There are some fish that are starting to act right, and I think that there are some people who are going to be surprised again at the overall weights when this tournament is over.”  

Paul Elias What conditions do you think will play the biggest role this week on Falcon Lake?  
“Wind.  It’s supposed to blow today on the final day of practice but I’m not sure if it’s supposed to blow on the first day of the tournament tomorrow.  Regardless, wind is definitely going to be a big factor this week.” 

How much of a factor is overall experience on Falcon is going to play this week? 
“I think that it’s going to be big this time.  There’s a certain pattern happening right now, and the guy who knows enough of that pattern is going to do well.  Unfortunately, I don’t know enough of it.”

Will the top finishers cull through a lot of keepers, or will the quality bites few and far between?
“I think that it’s possible that each bite could be really important.  As far as I can tell, there are not as many fish being caught as there was the last time we were here.  I don’t have any big schools located like I did last time, when you could actually pass up schools of 3- to 5-pounders that were biting on every cast.  I’m sure that there are some guys who have found something like that because there are a lot of healthy fish out there.”   

Terry Scroggins
What is the X-factor going to be this week on Falcon Lake?
“I really don’t know.  There’s a lot more fishing pressure than there was when we were here before and the fish are a lot tougher to catch. I don’t think that you’re going to see near the numbers that you saw back in 2008.  

“It’s still going to take a lot of weight to win, so I think that the X-factor is going to be getting a good boat draw because everyone is fishing the same stuff.”

Terry Scroggins What conditions do you think will play the biggest role this week on Falcon Lake?  
“Probably the wind.  There are a lot of fish getting caught offshore in the wide open, and the wind likes to blow here.  That’s probably going to be the biggest condition that could change things.”

How would you sum up your practice? 
“I can sum it up in one word: Slow.  I’m getting some big bites but just not very many of them.”

How much of a factor is overall experience on Falcon Lake going to play this week? 
“Not a whole lot because the water is about six-feet lower than it was when we were here before and it’s fishing a little bit differently.  I think that all the media exposure about how Falcon is the best bass lake in the country has taken a toll on the fishery.  There’s a lot of fishing pressure and that’s going to make it tough.” 

Will the top finishers cull through a lot of keepers, or will the quality bites few and far between? 
“I don’t think that anyone is getting a whole bunch of bites.  There are some big bites out there, so you just have to take advantage of the situation and execute when you get one of those big bites.” 

Cliff Pace
What is the X-factor going to be this week on Falcon Lake?
“It’s definitely going to be getting quality bites.  For this tournament, a guys needs to find a way to go out there and catch solid 4- to 5-pounders, and then find a way to mix in catching a big one each day.

Cliff Pace How would you sum up your practice? 
“The fishing is definitely a lot tougher than it was five or six years ago, and practice for me has been a real struggle.  It’s going to fish a lot differently and it’s going to come down to strategy.  You just can’t pull into any pocket on the lake and catch 25-pounds.” 

What conditions do you think will play the biggest role this week on Falcon Lake?  
“I haven’t really seen the forecast for the next four days, but one of the things that can really crush you on this lake is wind.  Especially with the water being as low as it is there’s not a lot of stuff that’s tucked away where you can hide from the wind.  The wind can make it hard to fish, stain up your areas, and cause a lot of problems.” 

How much of a factor is overall experience on Falcon Lake going to play this week? 
“Experience never hurts you on a lake because you’re only as good as what you know.  I wish that I had more experience on Falcon right now because I don’t have any experience here other than the one tournament that we fished here before.” 

Will the top finishers cull through a lot of keepers, or will the quality bites few and far between? 
“I think that you’ll see a mixture of both.  If a guy can find some offshore fish, the potential is there to cull through a lot of numbers and put together a quality limit.  I don’t know how many of those offshore schools exist right now, though.  Some of the guys who are committed to big bites will probably fish for six or seven good bites each day.”  

Ott DeFoe
What is the X-factor going to be this week on Falcon Lake?
“It’s Falcon, so the X-factor would have to be the multiple giants that are possible at any point in time.  You just never know what to expect here, and from what I’ve seen, you can catch giants any way that you want to catch them. Any cast could be a giant.” 

What conditions do you think will play the biggest role this week on Falcon Lake?  
“I think that sunny and light winds will be really important.  If it would just warm up a little bit from the cool and balmy 102 degrees that it was on Monday during practice, I think that would really help things – I’m kidding about that, of course.”

How much of a factor is overall experience on Falcon Lake going to play this week? 
“It definitely doesn’t hurt when it comes to knowing how the lake fishes.  That being said, I don’t know how often the lake is at this exact water level.  If you’ve been here a lot this time of the year when the lake is at this level, you’re probably going to have an advantage.” 

Will this tournament be won out of a single area or will the winner have to run and gun this week on Falcon?  
“I think that you’ll have to have a small group of areas or places.  I don’t think that you can catch them out of one hole this week, but I’ve been wrong before.” 

David Walker
What is the X-factor going to be this week on Falcon Lake?
“That’s a good question.  This is going to come down to who can figure out the most random fishery that we’ve been to in a while.  It just seems to be all over the place right now.  I guess that the X-factor could be the fact that the fish could either make a push towards the bank or completely pull off of the bank during the next few days.  It all comes down to what they’ll be doing during the tournament that they’re not doing right now.”  

What conditions do you think will play the biggest role this week on Falcon Lake?  
“One thing that’s not going to change is the water.  We aren’t going to get any massive rains or sudden snow storms, so I’m not really worried about the water changing.”

How much of a factor is overall experience on Falcon Lake going to play this week? 
“During this time of the year, there’s always the potential that knowing a lot about the lake can actually hurt you and be a disadvantage because you’re fishing on history.  This week though, it seems like history could actually help if you know a lot of spots where you can run and catch a fish or two.”

Will this tournament be won out of a single area or will the winner have to run and gun this week on Falcon? 
“I thought for sure that this would be a one spot deal and a guy would sit on a spot and win the tournament.  I haven’t seen anything even close to that during practice, and it’s hard to even catch two fish out of one spot, let along four days worth of fish.   

Will the top finishers cull through a lot of keepers, or are the quality bites few and far between? 
"The winner is going to have to be culling.  I think that you can catch five and have a big stringer, but you have to get lucky to do that.  If you can figure out how to get 15 bites a day, then I think that you’ll have a big stringer.  It’s actually tough to go out and catch a couple smaller limits here without coming across a big one.”

James Niggemeyer
What is the X-factor going to be this week on Falcon Lake?
“I really feel like there’s going to be a guy who figures out how to catch them differently than just about everybody else.  Obviously there’s the deep bite and the shallow bite, but I kind of feel like there’s a midrange bite that may be developing as these fish are transitioning.  Those fish are a little harder to pinpoint, but there’s something that’s going to develop as the tournament progresses.” 

WJames Niggemeyer hat conditions do you think will play the biggest role this week on Falcon Lake?  
“Undoubtedly, it will be the wind and how hard it’s going to blow and the direction that it’s going to blow from.  That’s going to be the biggest factor in how well we all are going to catch them.  It will dictate where we will be able to position our boats and where we will be able to fish.” 

How much of a factor is overall experience on Falcon Lake going to play this week?
“I think that prior experience could play huge here.  At the same time, it’s a different Falcon and some of the areas that have been really good in the past just don’t seem to be holding the same type of fish.  Staying current is going to be the biggest deal this week.” 

Will the top finishers cull through a lot of keepers, or are the quality bites few and far between? 
“Falcon has definitely changed over the last few years, so I think that it’s a deal where if you’re getting 15 to 20 bites you’re having a great day.  I think that 10 to 12 bites will end up being a good day.”