Kyle Sarratt Lake Sam Rayburn“Hey, your phone’s ringing,” my guide says to me.  I quickly grab it; my buddy who is fishing in another boat has text me.  “Did u catch 1 yet?” I text back, “No, u?”  He texts back, “Got one 10 pder, she 8 a red lip- ckbait!  I text him back, “u dog, I gotta catch me 1of those big pigs!”
Only one reservoir in the heart of East Texas offers anglers an opportunity to catch so many big bass year round.  Sam Rayburn Reservoir covers over 114,000 acres with 750 miles of shoreline is a fishermen’s paradise.  The big reservoir has 13 Corp of Engineer recreational areas along with numerous private campgrounds and amenities.  (To contact the COE Office call (409) 384-5716 Monday through Friday 8 a.m-5 p.m. except holidays).  Fishing licenses can be purchased by phone at (800) 895-4248 Monday through Friday or online at  An annual freshwater yearly license cost $55 for a non-resident and expirers on August 31.  A map of lake is available from Fishing Hot Spots Maps at with over 90 fishing points of interest marked. 
The reservoir was created in 1965 when the Angelina River was dammed.  Although, numerous trees were removed before damming, large areas of uncut timber still remain today creating a navigational hazard.  Other navigational hazards include submerged roadbeds, sandbars and long sloping points.  While hazards for boaters, it’s an oasis for the numerous Florida Strain Largemouth the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department stock in the lake every year.  Bass also enjoy the submerged aquatic vegetation and flooded terrestrial vegetation.  Native plants include coontail and pondweed; however, Hydrilla is the predominant plant in the lake.  The quantity of aquatic vegetation is determined accordingly to the lake level that fluctuates yearly and according to the season.  Nevertheless, these plants provide excellent habitat for the largemouth.
Professional bass angler Bill Rogers from Jasper, Texas gave this insight into fishing Sam Rayburn, “Spring is a great time for catching big bass on Sam Rayburn; anglers can fish either a Senko type bait or small crankbait in firetiger patterns just over the top of the grass to catch them or topwater baits are also very effective way of catching bass during this time,” explained Rogers.  “The most productive area on the lake will be from the canyons down towards the dam area,” Rogers added.  For a current fishing report call Rogers at (409) 381-8300. 
Anglers interested in hooking up with a guide service should get in touch with Bill Fondren, owner of Tejas Guide Service (409)-698-3491.  Fondren has over 20 years of guiding experience and guides for both bass and crappie.

Besides having big bass, Sam Rayburn also has The Stump Restaurant.  It is one of the most famous eating establishments in Texas.  The walls are lined with over 25 tournament fishing jerseys past and current BASS and FLW professional anglers including: Edwin Ever, Mark Tucker, Tommy Martin, Woo Davis, Todd Fair Cloth, Paul Elias, Lonnie Stanley, Larry Nixon, Bud Pruitt, Pete Ponds, Chris McCall and Rick Clunn.  Angers refer to the shirts on the wall were they eat and wish their shirt was there.  However, it’s the mount of the lake record, 16.8-pounds caught by Tommy Shelton that provides you an incentive to get back out fishing; after you get done eating of course.
After a break for lunch at The Stump it’s back to rippin’ grass with a lipless crankbait.  I am looking for that one big bite.  The hard rocking, thumping rhythm of AC/DC ring tone of my cell phone comes screaming out from under my jacket; it breaks my rhythm of casting, hitting grass, hanging up, and rippin’ the lure free, “Hey, your phones ringing, again,” my guide informs me.  I reach and grab it out of my pocket; it’s my buddy who has text me again…. “+ toad, 11 pds,  email you pics!”  Quickly, I text him back, “u dog, cul8r at the Stump, mbe they will put ur shirt on the wall!”