Kurt Luker

Kurt Luker with a 13.97-pound largemouth bass he caught while fishing a Texas Team Trail tourney at Lake Belton last weekend. The catch qualified Belton as the most recent Texas ShareLunker lake.

Courtesy of Texas Team Trail

For more than 3 decades, John Gilbert delivered news. These days, he’s delivering fish.

The former KCEN-TV anchor retired after 36 years in front of the camera, and now he’s working for Cabela’s as a fishing outfitter, focusing on guided trips on the Brazos River from Waco to the tailrace at Lake Whitney Dam, the Middle and South Bosque, Lake Waco, Stillhouse Hollow, the Guadalupe River or waters on request.

“I primarily target largemouth bass, but also shoot for other species, depending on the season,” Gilbert said.

He and his customers put some significant dents in the sand bass population during the recent white bass spawning run, and he is currently wrapping up a trip to the coast in pursuit of specs and reds.

Gilbert says he’s even flexible on the kind of trips people want to book. “For anyone just wanting to enjoy nature, I also guide eco-tours.”

A 6-hour trip with Gilbert is reasonably priced at $125, but if you have your own kayak, it’s just $100. “I have fishing kayaks and rods available if you need them,” he said.

I have known Gilbert for more than a decade, and although we’ve not yet fished together, we’ve exchanged a lot of fish stories over the years. He’s a quality angler and good, trustworthy guy.

Check out his Facebook page at Brazos Kayak Fishing. To book a trip, call 979-574-6133.

Anglers struck it rich at Lake Waco tournament

Cloudy skies and gusty winds greeted anglers at last weekend’s 46th annual Waco Bass Club Lake Waco Crappie Tournament, and after the last minnow had done its job, the grandfather/grandson team of Joe Ed Grimm and Hayden Grimm drove away with the championship.

The Grimms out-fished 33 other teams to claim the title, weighing in a sack of crappie that tipped the scales at 27.97 pounds. Finishing second were defending champs Ron Company and Jonathan Vera, whose 25-fish limit, that included the tourney’s big fish, weighed 27.37. Third place went to former champs Bobby and Stanton Salome.

Tournament organizer James Windham said there were 11 teams whose weight totals topped 20 pounds of fish.

Record setting fish caught at Lake Belton

Welcome to the club, Lake Belton.

Last weekend, angler Kurt Luker of Cleveland set a water body record for a largemouth bass at Belton Lake with a 13.97 pound fish caught during the Texas Team Trail tournament.

The fish not only set the new lake record, but also propelled Belton onto the elite list of waters that have yielded a Toyota ShareLunker bass. To qualify as a ShareLunker, a fish must weigh a minimum of 13 pounds and be caught between Oct. 1 and April 30. Fish are loaned to Texas Parks and Wildlife for data collection and spawning purposes.

Belton joins 68 other Texas public water bodies that have produced a ShareLunker, and TPWD inland fisheries district supervisor John Tibbs, whose team manages the lake’s fishery, said that although Belton is by far the best smallmouth fishery in Central Texas, it’s not typically known as a big bass lake, so it’s a little unusual to see a bass this size caught there.

Tibbs said Belton was stocked with largemouth bass fingerlings last year, but before that it hadn’t been stocked since 1995. He notes that the 2007 floods that inundated area lakes and kept them high above flood levels throughout the summer “caused good water, lots of forage, and lots of habitat; we probably had a great spawn and had a fantastic amount of prey. That bass may have gotten a really good jump-start on growth, and if that’s the case, there may be some others out there.”

If she had been caught one day earlier, the bass would have been collected and sent for spawning at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens. But starting this season, entries caught after March 31 are not taken as brood stock for spawning.

That’s good news for anglers, because Luker released the fish after it was analyzed by TPWD biologists – meaning there’s at least one 13-pounder still swimming around Lake Belton looking for its next meal.

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