Morgan Tyler stalked his quarry with the stealth borne of long practice.

His camo blended perfectly with the brush as he worked closer and closer. The setting sun was at his back, further hiding him.

Tense, focused, waiting for the right moment, he sprung into action... and set the hook.

A fat two-pound largemouth bass exploded from the small lake’s surface.

“There he is!” the Texas Tech student whooped, quickly drawing in the flopping largemouth.

Morgan quickly unhooked, admired and released the bass, then cast again and was instantly hooked to another fish.

Before devoting his attention full-time to studying Red Raider range science, Morgan spent several years dabbling in tournament bass angling. He can cite long list of whopper bass from hotspots like Lake Fork. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t still get plenty excited about a fat bass inhaling a jerk bait.

It was the last minutes of a glorious spring day on the Rolling Plains. Morgan, Lane Tobiassen, Greg Chevalier and I had spent the day chasing turkey gobblers, with some success. Greg was back at the lodge, basking in the glory of a whopper gobbler he’d shot late in the day.

Not content to let the day end too early, Morgan, Lane and I had decided to spend a few minutes fishing a series of small lakes below the lodge on the Terra Rosa Ranch where we were hunting.

Lane was across the one-acre lake from Morgan and me, also hooked into a fat bass.

The lake, the middle one of a series of three in a little draw, was absolutely choked with bass up to five pounds, and huge saucer-sized hybrid sunfish. Most of the bass were just over a pound, but they acted like they hadn’t eaten in years.

We quickly settled on soft plastic jerk baits to fish the shallow, ultra clear water. Bass Assassins or Sluggos-it didn’t matter, so long as we let the soft unweighted bait sink slowly toward the bottom, then began twitching it back.

“Give ‘em just a second to take it in, before you set the hook,” Morgan suggested after I missed the third or fourth strike in a row. That was the trick. At the bump of a hit, we’d drop the rod tip, let the bass pull out the slack and then set the hook.

As the sun disappeared, the bass became more and more aggressive. We sometimes had two or three hooked bass jumping at the same time.

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