Details on Oldham’s Falcon Pattern

February 21, 2012 | By | Reply More
Here's Oldham's/Norman's new Falcon Flash color.

Here’s Oldham’s/Norman’s new Falcon Flash color.

Jan. 14, 2012 wasn’t a magical day on Texas’ Lake Falcon. To hear Terry Oldham tell it, the conditions weren’t the greatest. Still, he and partner Jamie Buitron weighed 5 fish for 45.52 pounds to win the Bass Champs team tourney there.

A crazy huge weight, but was it unusual? Not for that tournament. Theirs was one of four bags over 40, and another almost 30 teams weighed more than 30. Do some simple division to get to per-fish weights and your head starts to spin.

Anyhow, while the Bass Champs website is excellent as far as regional trails go, it’s doesn’t have super-detailed pattern info. So BassGold’s Jay Kumar chased down Terry to get some more information about that awesome tournament day.

Falcon Background

“That place is just phenomenal – it’s off the charts,” Terry said. “I think it’s mostly the fertilization of the water. The Rio Grande River runs all the way from New Mexico, and farmers and ranchers fertilize their land…but it’s just something about the the makeup of the land.

“The land down there people think is worthless, but you put cows or deer or anything on it and they get big. That’s like the makeup of the lake – the fish just get enormous. Plus they grow year round because it’s a more or less tropical climate down there.

“So it’s just a combination of all that – tropical conditions, good nutrients in the water, everything. Also, that lake was down like 65′ low [around the mid-’90s], and right before it filled up [around 2000, in part thanks to a tropical storm] Parks and Wildlife restocked it.

“It was like a brand new lake – it went crazy, and it’s still going crazy. The fish got to 10 pounds real quick. There’s probably more 10-pounders in that lake than any lake in the world, for darn sure in the U.S.

Derby Day Conditions

Terry said Mexico has been pulling water for some time, to help with irrigation: Falcon is owned by the U.S. and Mexico. “It felt like the lake probably dropped about 4′ from Thanksgiving until that tournament,” he said.

“For whatever reason, that’s when the fishing gets good – when the water’s falling. It doesn’t have to come up but 1/4” and they’ll quite biting. You can still catch a 35-lb sack, but when the water’s falling you can catch four or five 35-lb sacks.

“When the water’s falling you can wreck ’em, but [on the tournament day] it’d been falling for so long – like 3-4″ a day – the fish were moving. You’d find ’em here and the next day they’d be gone.”

Part of the conditions making the fish do that, he felt, was fishing pressure. The word has definitely been out on Falcon, and “a lot of honey holes, people camp on them and just rape them so you have to find something no one else has found and hope the fish stay there.

“Then you have to fish a little bit different to catch the bigger fish,” Terry added. “There are places you can pull up and catch a dozen 7-pounders but not an 8-pounder.”

Some Pattern Deets

Here’s what the Bass Champs website said about Terry and Jamie’s pattern:

“We started out on the side of the river at a gravel bank.” Using H2O crank baits, they landed three fish ranging from 7 to 9 pounds. When the bite slowed, they headed to deeper water. “We started using one of my 1 1/4-oz Oldham jigs in a new color – tilapia.” Hitting depths up to 25’, they finished their limit.

Terry refined that a bit for BassGold.

“During that tournament they were scattered from the bank out to 30′. We caught some on the bank, one in 20′, one in 35’…but we had enough holes that we ran from one to the other.

“When we got to 45 pounds we didn’t want to go any further down the lake in case we broke down.”

Interesting info, but the real keys, according to Terry, were the bait colors.

Bait #1: The Crankbait

Terry and Jamie used two very specific baits – both unusual colors – to win that derby. One was a crankbait in chartreuse, but not just any chartreuse. Here’s how Terry tells it.

“A long time ago when the lake was real, real low – kind of the same conditions going on as [Jan. 14] – I was down there fishing with my friend Tim Reneau. His company, Power Tackle, makes the Lateral Perch.

“We’d bought a bunch of Cordell Spots in a bargain bin somewhere, chrome/blue and chrome/black. He painted some chartreuse, like a clear chartreuse over the chrome, and he was pounding me with that bait pretty bad. I had every color chartreuse but they wouldn’t bite.

“So with the water falling, I said I have to make some of those baits [for the Jan. 14 Bass Champs derby]. I went to Academy – all they had was their H2O brand in chrome, so I bought a couple of them, brought them home and painted them.

“We caught three of the fish we weighed on that bait, but caught four on it that probably weighed 35 pounds.

“It’s a badass color and it’s hard to find. Everyone makes chartreuse, but no one puts chartreuse over chrome. There something to it, that chartreuse flash.”

[Terry called Norman Lures and convinced them to put that chartreuse-over-chrome color on the market. They’re calling it Falcon Flash and it’ll be available in the DD22 and DD14. That’s photo is of one of the prototypes.]

Bait #2: Tilapia Jig, Blue Cats

Oldham Jig's new tilapia color.

Oldham Jig’s new tilapia color.

After cranking up a decent limit, out came one of Terry’s jigs for the truly giant bass that won them the tourney. One key, other than the spots they fished, was the color – in this case, a new Oldham Jigs color: tilapia.

“That’s a new color we came out with because that lake has so many tilapia – in Amistad and Choke Canyon too. The big fish at Falcon feed on tilapia a lot – plus, in my opinion they feed on little blue catfish a lot.”

Hold on a sec. Blue cats? Really?

He said he’s seen big fish floating dead on Falcon with big blue catfish in their mouths. And he’s also fished deeper ledges when water’s being pulled, has felt little bites and pecks and has caught little blue cats there – “and usually when you get into little blue cats, you start catching really big bass…10s, 11s and bigger.

“I think when they’re pulling that water, those little blue cats school up on points and stuff.”

To cover the catfish base, the new tilapia color has some blue strands in there, he said.


From Terry:

> “The big ones weren’t biting [in the Jan. 14 derby]. It would’ve been over 50 [to win] if they’d been been biting, maybe more.”

> “The whole key to Falcon is finding the rock. The bigger, badder and gnarlier the dropoffs, the better.”

> “In May [on Falcon], watch for the fish to move to the bank, maybe chasing groceries….”

> Is there a lake that’s better than Falcon? “Sugar Lake is even better” But…it’s in Mexico, and that part of Mexico isn’t exactly known for being safe.

> Why do Oldham’s Eye-Max Jigs use a 5/0 Siwash Salmon Hook? “We mostly use that jig for grass fishing, but we also use it Falcon all the time because it has such a badass hook. It’s a special hook Gamakatsu made for commercial salmon fishing, and I use it at Falcon because I know it won’t straighten out: We fish for 10-11 pounders in trees with 80-lb braid. It has a real long needle point – it’s the sharpest hook I’ve ever used, and a good barb too.”

The pattern info for this tournament and many other Bass Champs tournaments is in searchable form in Sign up for BassGold here.

Category: Bass Champs, Pattern Details, TX

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