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On the Lake with Allen Ballard

ON THE LAKE WITH
ALLEN BALLARD

An article by
Raymond Mobley,
Honey Hole Magazine


H
ow would you like to be bass fishing a small lake with moderate boat traffic, stocked in 1983 with Florida bass? How about one that gave up 23 bass over 10 pounds in just two-and-a-half months?   One of the big fish was recorded as the new lake record and weighed in excess of 14 pounds. And keep in mind, the 23 bass we're talking about were the only ones weighed and documented, it doesn't count those simply released without benefit of being weighed. Taking the question a step farther, how would you like to be bass fishing that lake with the angler who caught eight of the 23 bass? Beginning in the spring1997, you can do just that.The lake is Pat Mayse, located in northern Lamar County off Highway 271. The angler is Allen Ballard, long-time resident of Paris. He'll be guiding part-time on Pat Mayse, Crockett, and Coffee Mill. Ballard is an employee of the Campbell Soup Company in Paris. He's a member of the Family Bassmasters bass Club which is headquartered in Paris. Ballard has taken the Angler of the Year title and won the club classic, and has won many open tournaments held in this area.
As I interviewed him for this story, I looked at the 10 Lunker Release awards from TP&W. One includes a water body record at Pat Mayse for a nine-pound, four-ounce bass caught in March of 1991.
When given this assignment, I jumped in with both feet. I had fished around and against Allen a number of times and knew of his prowess when it came to big fish. I was now going to get an opportunity to go bass fishing in the same boat with him. It was too tempting to resist, knowing that it was going to gime me a ringside seat to pick his brain about his system of fishing. Since we had only cold weather to deal with, our best option was a power plant lake. We opted for Welsh for some Freshwater Fishing since he'd been there recently and caught some nice fish. As we drove up to the ramp before daylight we realized there were a number of factors against us. Boats were everywhere, and we knew we'd be sharing the water with a good-sized tournament. To top it off, the wind was blowing about 20 to 25 miles an hour out of the south, and had been for two days. The lake was three-and-a-half feet high and extremely clear.
We found an area with a line of reeds in about four feet of water. From experience, we knew fish were in the post-spawn, and spawning patterns depending on which portion of the lake we chose. We ruled ot bedding fish because of water clarity and wind.   In clear water, fish tend to spawn in much deeper water and it would have been almost impossible to present a bait in the wind we had, much less for long enough to get a pickup or hit. Due to a major cold front that was headed our way after lunch, our time was limited so we ruled out the pre-spawn, or staging, fish on the north end of the lake. This left us with post-spawn fish closer to the hot water outlet. At least some of the fish should have been back on the feed and would chase a bait.
The majority of the day we used long casts. Most of the time we actually threw our baits up on the shoreline and pulled them off into the water to keet from spooking fish. Our pattern held through the morning and the front came through right after lunch.   We managed to catch and release 14 bass. The keepers came on spinnerbaits and the smaller fish were taken with watermelon seed lizards and buzzbaits. We also managed to do some visiting about his big bass system.  "My primary baits are jigs, lizards, and spinnerbaits. Occasionally I'll throw a twitch-type bait such as a Slug-Go or Long A," he said.   You can't argue with success. Allen has filmed an episode of Honey Hole T.V. Magazine with Jerry Dean. They were bass fishing Pat Mayse Lake.
  I'd just like to say thanks for a good day freshwater fishing on the lake, Allen.
By the way, Allen can be reached a (903) 517-5207 for guide trip information. If you want to experience his trophy bass system firsthand, give him a call.
Allen has also been featured in several other MAGAZINE ARTICLES such as Honey Hole, Texas Outdoors Journal. You can read about Pat Mayse in the Texas Outdoors Journal magazine articles, starting with the Oct. issue.

 

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