UNCERTAIN, Texas — The weather is cooler, and the fishing is hot. We found that out firsthand on a recent trip to Caddo Lake with Fishing and Fellowship guide Vince Richards.
“I love introducing people to Caddo," Richards said. "Catching fish, watching em catch fish, trying to introduce them to how to catch fish, and then I love having fellowship out here on the water.”
Fishing and fellowship, you get both with Richards. He lives his favorite Bible verse on every trip with every client.
“First Peter three-fifteen says sanctify the lord God and be ready to give defense for the hope that you have," Richards said.
Hope and peace greets us before the sunrises, and the eerie fog disappears on Caddo Lake. The only sound we hear is the hum of distant motors on other boats headed out either on sightseeing tours or fishing excursions. The ride to our first spot shows off the legendary lake’s Spanish moss and color-splashed leaves.
The fall fishing pattern is underway, and the fish are biting. Richards recommends these baits,“chatterbait, crankbait, rattletrap, something that’s a shad pattern." We stop at a bend in the Big Cypress Bayou.
But before we fish, there is fellowship. Richards leads us in a moment of prayer.
“We pray for safety, we pray just (to) have a good time and that every fish we catch father that we give you all the glory. We pray all these things in Jesus precious name, amen.”
The sun is barely above the horizon when Richards’ line is tight. We catch a bass with a harmless virus called Blotchy Bass Syndrome. We can tell because this bass has several black lesions on its body.
The U-S-G-S and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department are still working to determine what causes the spots, but they do know, the virus is not a threat to fish or people.
Speaking of people, this is Richards tenth year guiding on Caddo Lake. He did six trips his first year and 37 his second year. Now he averages 70 fishing trips a year.
He's introduced Caddo to anglers from Russia to Australia. Caddo is the only natural lake in Texas. A log jam created the created the lake and a dam was added in 1912. The lake's natural beauty reminds us fishing requires faith, eternal hope, and sometimes it means slowing down and enjoying the fight from the fish.
Richards was patient as I learned this important part of getting the fish in the boat.
“Once I figured out you could catch em on a crankbait and you figured out what we trying to do, you started getting bit," Richards said. Catching fish at Caddo is a bonus.
Just being here makes the trip worth it and Richards hopes you leave filled with fishing and fellowship. Richards had this final thought.
“I just hope they fall in love with the lake because we’ve had days where we take people fishing and we don’t catch anything. You can’t make the fish bite,” Richards said.
Winter is fast approaching. The fall color will soon fade and soon the bass and crappie bite will slow. So now is the time to take advantage of the cooler water temperatures and give Caddo Lake a try.