Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Interview: Ex-Pat Fisherman Jim Purtell

A friend of mine, Scott Miner, told me about an old fisherman who knew the area. Jim was willing to share some advice and suggestions that really helped this eager fisherman progress into a bonified journeyman of the green monster. As it turned out, Jim is a fan of the blog and we howdied. Emailing each other, I learned that this fisherman was the real deal as well as a heck of a nice guy. I thought an interview would be good as this resource can do a lot to help us new to intermediate fishermen.

WTJB: Name and Hometown

JP: Jim Purtell – Born (1946-old codger) & raised in Brownfield. Spent 17+ years in San Angelo, 21 years near Tampa, Fl, back to San Angelo 3 years, then to Sanford, NC past year (wife's home town)

WTJB: Member of any bass clubs?

JP: Just fish for fun now. Was a member of San Angelo Bass Club, Concho Bass Club and GTE Bass Club when I lived there in the 70's-mid 80's.

WTJB: Favorite local lake?

JP: Fished Twin Buttes more than any others mainly because it was close and had water. Back in the 70's-80's I fished OC Fisher (North Concho then) and Spence pretty often.

Loved Amistad back when it was new. Also came back 2-3 times a year after moving to Fl and would fish Ivie & Alan Henry with my Dad on those trips

WTJB: Favorite techniques?

#1. Soft plastics
#2. More soft plastics
#3. Bandit crank baits

WTJB: 3 favorite lures?

#1. Green pumpkin tail dipped in chart die soft plastic. Lizards in the spring worms most all the other time.
#2. Chart Blue Back 300 Bandit
#3. Black & Silver Pico Pop on Amistad.

WTJB: Advice for local fishermen?

#1. Enjoy what you have in San Angelo. Not many places you can leave work, go home get your boat and be unloading in 30 min. Back in the 70's and 80's you could be unloading at any of 3 local lakes. Sort of ruined me when I moved to Tampa area, took 30-60 min to get home depending on traffic, then 30-90 min to get to a decent lake again depending on traffic. Reason I sold my boat soon after moving.
#2. Learn to fish what you can't see. Everyone fishes the “good looking” spots. My son & I caught lots of fish day and especially at night on the humps in the south part of the main body of water on Twin Buttes. They were about 15' deep back then and far from any banks/brush.

NOW is the time to scout and mark spots on the local lakes while they are so low ---- hopefully some day they will be under water again. There is an old railroad dump (my term for it) that runs across Twin Buttes just off Middle Concho channel, you can see the old trestle on Middle in Nasworthy. It was always good when Twin Buttes was full, find it now and mark it.

WTJB: What is your opinion of the condition of the local fishing?

JP: I really enjoyed my last 3 years back in San Angelo. Water is low and I primarily fished Twin Buttes, but caught lots of quality fish---not SAL's but your large fish today is larger than what it was back in the 70's & 80's. I attribute that to the TPWD introduction of Fl strain bass---it has definitely helped the fishery.

Plus with Ivie and Amistad as close as they are, San Angelo is in the middle of some great fishing withing 1-3 hours drive.

WTJB: Favorite TRUE fishing story?

JP: Too many to list. When you get to be 60+ and have fished most of your life with family & friends you accumulate lots of memories that make nice stories.

I remember the days when Amistad was new and Dad & I would catch 100+ 3# fish a day on top water. You would see a bass come completely out of the water and catch a dragon fly in mid air, cast a black & silver Pico Pop at the spot and he would nail it.

Also will never forget couple of years ago in the early spring when I was back in San Angelo, my son who now lives in NJ came down to fish. We made it to Ivie 1 day and in a 10 min span he boated his person best ever of 5-12 and I boated mine of 9-13.

Then there is the day about 3 years ago when I was back in San Angelo I took my Dad who is now 95 and living in Iowa to Alan Henry. He managed one 3+ fish that made a nice picture for our last of many many fishing trips.

WTJB: Catch and release? If not, favorite recipe?

JP: GOOD QUESTION. I keep a few fish to eat since we really enjoy fresh fish. Since I have been in NC been keeping/catching a lot fewer----miss San Angelo fishing.

On this subject though there was an article in Bass Times based on interviews with TPWD biologist that catch & release had gotten to the point it was detrimental to many of the fisheries. Too many fish and they were tending to get stunted. Really advocated keeping more not so much trophy bass but 2#-3# eating size fish.

WTJB: Personal Hero?

JP: Probably have to be my dad. Taught me how to work, taught me how to fish, taught me to enjoy life so I have managed a very enjoyable life to 64 young years. Not quite as industrious as in my younger days or as my father who farmed until he was 85. Today I tell people I fish 3-4 days a week, golf 3-4 days a week BUT I work all my FREE days.

WTJB: In your opinion, who are the 3 best local fishermen?

JP: Today I could not tell you since I didn't fish tournaments or hang out with people really that fished them while I was back there. Back in the 70's & 80's there were some really good fishermen I remember. Back then you had the big boaters (now bass boats) and you had the Lampro Kayak “dabblers”. From that period there was Russ & Barney Baumann, Junior Powell, Jimmy Mahaan that I recall that always could manage to catch fish. I am sure there are others but after 30 years I have forgotten many names.

A person that taught me a lot about San Angelo fishing and did a lot to support the Bass Clubs and fishing in San Angelo was Ken Wilson that had the Wilson Marine boat store on Arden Road. Ken was a little cantankerous at times, but he loved to fish. Taught me how to use a crank bait. Put on tournaments, built ramps when lakes got low, generally supported the clubs, had his monthly Big Bass jackpot. Always knew where to catch the next fish.

Big thanks for Jim taking the time to talk with me, even if it was by email. He is truly a gentleman and a great guy!

If you have any questions and want to bounce ideas off a knowledgeable guy, you can reach him at .

Have a blast with the time of year!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

SuddenLink Open Bass Tournament

The SuddenLink Open Bass Tournament was held March 6th at Ivie. Weather was a little windy with highs in the low to mid 60s. The overcast clouds and light chop favored the fishermen. Water was surprisingly warm with some parts of the lake registering 53-55 degrees compared to the 48 from a few weeks past. Well, see for yourself.

Corey Peddy took a moment to talk with us about the turnout for this year's participants.

Not long after I got there, I hooked up with Romero Galvan, the photographer for the SL tournament. He really knows his stuff. we planned to go to the dock to beg someone to take us out for some pics. Lo and behold, Dean's Marina was there with the Skeeter Texas Demo Team to save us the humiliation and took us out to get some pics.

Kenny Rooke (left) drew the short straw, but was gracious to Romero (right) and I. He even tried to help us toss our cookies on the demo ride by showing how well the new Skeeters turn. I have to admit, this is an amazing boat!

Weigh-In loomed so we heading in but not before we got a chance to get some pictures of the fishermen.

Tad Box and Shane Lemoine were working the shore over. Shane was fishing the Junior BassMaster Federation as well as the Suddenlink tourney.

Anticipation grew as the results were being tabulated.

Finally, the wait was over!

The Teen Division was announced first.

Winners were:

Shane Lemoin took 3rd. Andy Ortega squeaked 2nd. Gareth Fulks won the division.
Next, the Adult division was announced.

Bandy Watkins walked away with 10th with stringer if 14.20.

Dale Dixon snagged 9th with a stringer of 15.15.

Richard Seals came in 8th with a weight of 15.40.

Bob Ellison won 7th with 16.26. You may recognize him.

Tanner Wood came in 6th with 2 fish. Weight was 16.95.

James Vance snared 5th with a bag of 18.99.

Joshua Goode got 4th with 21.03. What a day!

Brian Bollinger cranked it to 3rd place with a weight of 22.37.

Randy Porter came in 2nd with a huge stringer of 24.50.

And the Winner was .......
(Drum roll please)

J. R. Howard of Del Rio with a winning weight of 28.19. The 2 9-pounders were great to see!

Bob Ellison had the Big Bass, just shy of being a Share Lunker, at 12.23. What a wonderful fish!

Big shout out to the folks at Sudden Link for their hard work putting this event on for the guys. The proceeds went to Hospice of San Angelo in memory of Tony Gibson. Family and friends were participating and their hard work contributed to the success of the tournament as well as spread the word of what a great man Tony was.
I want to personally thank the participants who took time to talk to me. It is because of them that I am able to do any of this.
Thanks for taking the time to check out this blog. I hope you enjoyed it!

SuddenLink Open Preview

Hi Guys!

I'm working on the write-up for the SuddenLink Open that took place yesterday, 3-6-10, on Ivie.

Here are some of the Hogs caught.

J.R. Howard caught 2 9-pounders. Wow!

Bob Ellisor caught this 12.23. Biggest fish I ever laid eyes on!

Tanner Wood caught this 11-pounder on a crank bait. He said he knew he was in trouble immediately. What a fish!

James Vance caught this monster 11.

Like you, I have kept hearing about the big fish on this lake, but MAN! It is a little different to see it in person!

I'll hopefully have the write up soon!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

SuddenLink Open

Hi Fellow Fishing Jerks!

I'm covering the tourney on Ivie March 6th. If you have great stories or just want to say "Hi", just look for the bald yo-yo in the WTJB gray shirt!

Hope I meet you and see you there!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lake Falcon Bass Biting

Pinch me, I am Dreaming... South Texas was Tropical compared to the weather around here. Saturday morning we woke up to 59 degree air temps and expected to be around 80 degrees and no wind for the 2nd Basschamps in the south division. All this turned out to be true but I still thought I was having one of those dreams of a perfect day of fishing.

Ronnie Wallace and I waited with anxious tension for our boat number to be called at take off that morning and were excited to be on one of the hottest Bass lakes in the country . Not knowing how the day would unfold is a big part of why I fish Bass tournaments and with a game plan in mind you cant wait to put it to the test.

Lake Falcon did not dissapoint as Ronnie and I pulled up to our 1st spot in the mouth of Solado Creek, a big creek arm on the Mexico side of the lake. A fat 5 lber crunched a DD-22 crankbait I worked near a dropoff then soon after that we headed to the shallow water for some spinnerbait and flipping action. Working my spiner through some small green willow bushes I saw a 7.5 lber inhale my bait near the boat and lit the water up with a thrashing you could hear all over the lake. After Ronnie netted the fish we noticed a very bloody tail and that told us we had made the right decision to move up and stay shallow.

We moved a few miles up the Rio Grande and started working some small pockets off the main river channel that were loaded with log jams that were remnance of the flood that had filled the lake a few years ago. Ronnie picked up a spinnerbait and fired it across the logjam only to see a bass rollup on the bait but not taking it. Instinct told him to drop the bait quickly after the fish missed it and he let it flutter down only to have the fish inhale it and set the hook. This fished weighed around 7 lbs. and after a quick release into the livewell he tossed his spinnerbug back into the same spot only to quickly set the hook on another 7 lber. After a short fight the fish wedged in a fork of a laydown and got free.

After the shock of losing the fish I flipped my trusted Ragetail SpaceMonkey into the very same spot and lost another fish around 6 lbs.

Now we were not happy about loosing those fish, but we were pumped because we had a workable pattern that we could duplicate in several areas on this same bank. Going into another pocket that looked simular to the last Ronnie flipped up another 7 plus lber on a Brushhog then shortly after that I got the bite we needed. Using the same Green Pumpkin SpaceMonkey, I flipped over several big logs in about 3 ft. of water.I hopped the bait one time and I felt the familiar "thunk"that I know is going to be the big one. After setting the hook the rod bent heavily as I pulled hard with very little give at the end of the line. "Big One"I grunted as Ronnie went for the net and I wrestled the chunky 9 lber over several logs in a worried state and into the boat.

We caught alot of nice fish and had a few missed opertunitys but the 35.70 lbs of fish we weighed that day was one day I will never forget. These kinda of days don't happen all the time and to do it with a no practice and working a gameplan that came together was truly special.

In all the excitment we did not take any pictures and believe me Jay let me hear about it but I do have a couple of pics from the following day when Ronnie and I stopped at Choke Canyon on the way home. A fat 7 lber fell prey to my Gold RattleTrap in about 5 ft of water Then we saw another critter in the cove we were fishing that was truly a better hunter than we were. Ronnie snapped this picture then asked me to get out on the bank next to him to give the picture some scale.... I didn't think so!!! .... See Ya on the Water.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Early Valentine present on O.H. Ivie

Feb. 13th on Ivie was a welcome relief from some frustrating days of fishing on Lake Belton the last couple of weeks.
My long time fishing partner, Ronnie Wallace, and I headed for the lake around 8 a.m. with our sites set on big bass and enjoying some decent weekend weather for a change.
Ronnie and and another talented fisherman, Chris Nock (Lubbock), are just coming off a big win on Lake Brownwood in the Media Team West Circuit where they braved the elements to catch over 13 lbs and a big bass of 8.05 adding $2000.00 to there wallets.
We launched at Concho Park and roared across the calm waters to the Leday area of the lake and alternated beween here and the cemetary area. Ronnie picked up 3- 3 lbers on a RED/BLACKBACK DD-22 crankbait in about 12 to 18ft of water near drop and steep ledges. I left my carry-on tackle bag in the pickup so I sifted through Ronnies arsenal and tied on a 3/8th oz. green pumkin jig with Rage craw trailer. I lost a fish in a deep tree then caught a decent fish in about 12ft. deep.
After about an hour, the wind showed its ugly face at about 20 to 25 mph so we decided to head up the Colorado. Once up there, we decided the runoff that had come down had the water too stained to fish so we headed to some mid-lake pockets that had some deeper water in them and that's where we hit pay dirt.
Pitching the same jig as before along a rocky bluff bank in 4 to 10ft of water my bait was inhaled by a fat 8-lber.
Then 10 minutes later, another fish that could have been his twin sucked down the jig and was not happy to see the boat. What a fight and we took another picture and a quick release.
Ronnie quickly joined in on the action with a fat 5-lb plus fish that munched on his jig and we knew the pattern was going to work well.
We started hopping around in these pockets and though we caught one or 2 fish in each one, none would compare to the first pocket we fished.
These fish were hitting the jig as it fell on the 1st drop and every one of then sucked the jig down in the mouth. It was around 2 PM when we really found the pattern. Water temp was 48 degrees and warming along the rocky bank with a wind blowing into them seemed to be the trick.
We had around 15 bass this day with our best 5 around 34 lbs.
I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as Ronnie and I enjoyed catching them. Boy, we needed a day like this to get the blood going again!!! Headed to Lake Falcon this weekend for some Hawg catching (Hopefully) for the 2nd Basschamps event in the south division. See Ya on the Water.