Fishing Lake Mineral Wells Under a Comanche Moon
For you non-Texans and young whippersnappers, a Comanche moon is a full moon on a bright, clear night. At 3:30 this morning the moon was so bright that it cast shadows like daylight. The term originated in the 1800's when the Comanche Indians would raid and pillage when the moon was full and bright. They had a regular route through South Texas to Mexico and back. The Comanche moon struck terror in the hearts of the early Texas settlers.
This morning I loaded the pickup under the bright moon and arrived at Lake Mineral Wells State Park just as the automatic gate opened at 6:03 AM. The gate out of the park opens on time at 6:00. But the gate into the park is 3 minutes late.
Lake Mineral Wells has a number of fishing piers. All of them but one require a long hike over rough terrain. The one exception is the lighted, handicap-access pier at the marina. For those of us with mobility problems that pier is outstanding. It is built in a deep-water cove so it is actually possible to catch fish, and it is wheelchair access. Four mercury vapor lights make it as light as day.
This morning I had the pier to myself until one other fisherman arrived. I put on a jig in the Electric Chicken pattern on a 1/32-oz. pink jig head. I cast into the edge of the light and slowly retrieved the jig. It only went a foot or two when a feisty 11-inch black bass grabbed it. I took a photo and sent him back to grow up.
Two casts later I caught a slightly bigger bass. What is going on? Don't those bass know I am fishing for panfish? A short time later the big brother of the first two grabbed my lure and headed out into the main lake. With 6 pound test line on an ultra-light rig I watched helplessly as the fish stripped line and broke the light line. I backed way off on the drag (ever hear about the farmer who built a secure barn after the horse was stolen?).
The crappie were obviously not in the cove after the cold front. I tried a while longer then took the lure off and tied on a #8 hook baited with a worm. My signature rig is a slip bobber over a small hook and sinker just off the bottom. However, after my experiences at Fairfield and Bluegill Lakes I knew that I would catch fewer but bigger fish without the bobber and slowly retrieving the hook and sinker across the bottom. I cast out and slowly brought the hook back to the pier over the bottom. A 7-inch Bluegill took issue and nailed the worm.
Now a 7-inch bluegill is not very impressive after the 10-inch fish at Bluegill Lakes last week, but it is about as big as they get at Lake Mineral Wells. I continued to catch small Bluegill for the next two hours. Along the way I caught a 13-inch catfish.
The sunfish were small but very healthy and in beautiful colors. I released them all, knowing they were not going to get much bigger in that lake. The lake record is 7.13 inches and several of mine were almost that long. I keep trying for an 8-9 inch fish.
My limited stamina gave out, and I headed for home.