McNew catches bass

Robinson native Andy McNew caught a 9.03-pound largemouth bass at Tradinghouse last week. McNew was fishing along a rip-rap bank using a shakey-head worm, and caught it in about 5 feet of water. For scale, it’s worth noting that McNew is 6 feet, 4 inches tall, so the fish is larger than it appears. The lake record largemouth at Tradinghouse is 11.15 pounds, and was caught by Jared Talbert nearly 3 years ago.

Central Texans are fortunate to live in a place where, with the exception of a handful of severe weather days each year, we can enjoy our outdoor pursuits – whether fishing, hunting, golfing, hiking or biking, camping, or just cooking out on the patio.

With most hunting seasons closed (quail and snipe seasons are still going on), most outdoor sportsmen are tuning up their fishing tackle, and there’s plenty of fishing action going on in our area.

I’ve seen and heard reports of some quality-sized catfish being caught in the past week. Increasing numbers of white bass are staging or moving upstream for their annual spawning run. Decent numbers of crappie are being caught deep in streams. Striped bass are terrorizing big schools of shad in lakes, and some quality largemouth bass are being caught along lake shorelines. This weekend’s fish focus, though, was rainbow trout.

Two big trout-fishing events took place on Saturday – Travis Bailey’s annual Really Big Fishing Event for Really Special People, and the Community Fishing Day at the Lake Waco Wetlands.

Bailey, a former McLennan County constable who now serves as the mayor of Hewitt, has been putting on the party for 31 years, and the event brings people together from all over the state with physical or mental handicaps – plus the people and organizations that serve them.

In addition to a trout tank that’s stocked with 2,000 rainbow trout for participants to catch and take home for dinner, there’s music, carnival-style games, food and drinks, and resources for caretakers to explore and form connections with.

Hundreds of volunteers help Bailey and the party-goers turn the day into an inspirational time – by the end of the party, the lines between ability and disability are so blurry that it changes a person’s perspective.

Nora’s Pond at the Lake Waco Wetlands was the scene of another major good time on Saturday, as lots of kids and their families joined the City of Waco, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, and Fish On! to get outdoors for food, drinks, fishing, and other outdoor fun.

The Fish On! group raffled off a lot of fishing gear, so a lot of kids got to walk away with new tackle and other merchandise to try out on their next fishing trip.

Three Waco-area ponds will continue to get trout stocked this month. Nora’s Pond is scheduled for another stocking today, Buena Vista (which got stocked on Friday) gets another trout infusion on the 16th, and Amsler Park in McGregor is slated for its last stocking on Tuesday. Check the TPWD website for other stocking dates for Centex waters.

Dorsey to speak at fishing club

Speaking of folks who enjoy trout fishing, the Waco Fly Fishing Club is holding its first meeting of the year Monday evening, with Colorado trout-fishing guide Pat Dorsey headlining the event.

When fishing guide Pat Dorsey is not on the water, he travels the U.S. sharing his knowledge of and passion for fly fishing at trade shows and fishing clubs. He’s the author of a number of books and an editor for Fly Fisherman Magazine.

The meeting will be held at the First United Methodist Church’s Family Life Center (4901 Cobbs in Waco) and will begin at 6 p.m., with Dorsey stepping to the podium around 7.

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