Casa BlancaCasa Blanca Discover an overlooked Texas treasure and learn a few flipping tricks in the process in this informative article.
By Jimmy Murray
Saved by the White House might not ring true in most cases, especially in the last few years, but in my case I was literally saved by Casa Blanca. In English, the lovely Spanish name translates to white house.
The year was 1997 and my entire guide season was booked for Falcon and Sugar Lake (Texas). Although a few of my clients caught a few giant bass on these two great fisheries, all in all the fishing had been pretty pitiful. I was in a situation that required I either cancel or reschedule guide trips. If it hadn't been for Bubba Haralson of Redwood Lodge in Zapata my whole season would have been shot. He put me on one of the best fishing holes in the state of Texas.
Often overlooked by most bass fishermen, it adds about 100 miles driving for me round trip. But it's worth it. I love it. My clients love it. And we've caught a whole lot of fish - up to eight pounds.
You can ask any guide. They'll all tell you that there are no "sure deals" when it comes to fishing. But consistency is about as good as it gets and Casa Blanca is consistent.
Located across the street from the new Laredo Airport on Loop 20, this small lake of 1,100 acres offers easy access. Lake Casa Blanca International State Park has all the usual amenities. The only drawback is that the gate doesn't open until 7:00 a.m. It's not a problem if you happen to be camping in the park. In fact, the fishing action is usually fast enough that a little later start than usual isn't a handicap.
For such a small lake, Casa Blanca actually fishes a whole lot bigger because it has a little bit of almost every type of cover and structure fishermen love, and a whole bunch of some of it. Within a few yards of the ramp you can fish reeds, rocks, and most of the year there's plenty of duckweed.
I like to tell my clients to get ready for a long boat ride when backing away from the ramp, then stop about 20 yards away and start fishing.
Lure selection is almost limitless. Since this lake has a little bit of everything you can just about try everything in your tackle box. Cattails are the predominant cover, and as such I believe hold the most fish. There are miles and miles of cattails, basically there are some in every section of the lake. If you like to flip, you'll be in heaven.
Because I always try to fish a different lure from my clients I can testify to the fact that the fish in this lake have hit every color of plastic that I carry in my boat. Although most of the time you can catch fish on any color, the best are black/chartreuse, red shad, and smoke with gold glitter and a chartreuse tail. Same story on jigs.
You can do best here by rigging one rod for flipping, one with a spinnerbait, and most of the time one with a topwater. Start the day by working the duckweed with topwaters and spinnerbaits. Don't forget to try these same baits in the edges of the cattails.
There are occasional laydowns of mesquite and huisache, of which some will be green that will hold fish. These should be fished thoroughly. There are also quite a few fence rows on the lake and these should never be overlooked. They will often hold the larger bass.
Winters in south Texas are much milder than in other parts of the state. Without the severe winter extremes, the fish in Casa Blanca have what I call a case of wildness that I believe results from a lack of any prolonged cold water temperatures. You should rig your rods and reels accordingly.
For flipping, I use what many consider overkill. I use a special eight-foot Laredo flipping rod, Shimano Castaic reel spooled with 75- to 80- pound Tuff or Lynch Line. I admit that in most cases I don't really need that heavy of braid on this lake, or even on Falcon. But while flipping in south Texas, with lighter test lines like 35- to 50-pound, I have actually had my fingers cut while trying to set the hook with the slack line in my left hand. The heavier braid eliminates this problem.
In my opinion there are two hooks made today that will get the job done while flipping for these big bass. The Superline Gamakatsu or Oldham's Heavy Flipping hook with the screwlock will serve you best. In my personal experience I have straightened out many other brands of hooks. By the way, I'm not sponsored by either of these companies.
The Oldham hook works the best in all cases except when flipping extra thick-bodied baits such as the Gambier Flapping Shad. For this bait I believe the Gamakatsu results in more hook-ups. A neat feature of the Oldham's hook is that a lot of times when you miss a fish on the hook set the screwlock keeps the bait from balling up on the end of the hook. This can save you a lot of time because instead of straightening out the bait you can immediately place it back into the strike zone. This can, and does, result in many repeat strikes.
I believe the great fishing at Casa Blanca is due to the three fish 18-inch limit. This is closely enforced by one of the friendliest game wardens that I've ever met. He actually makes it a pleasure to be checked by him.
If you tire of pitching and flipping, then dig out the crankbaits and Carolina rigs. You can start fishing the rocky points and ledges that adorn this little lake. Deep Little N's in fire tiger, shad, and red will catch a bunch of fish. I have also had great success with chartreuse.
In addition to being a wonderful bass fishery, Casa Blanca has excellent numbers of hybrid stripers, crappie, and catfish. My wife Donna and I caught 20 of the biggest crappie I've ever caught in my life on one trip, in short order. Then we went after some hybrid stripers. We caught them trolling, casting, and using jig & spoons until we headed home.
An added bonus to the hybrid fishing was that we also caught several nice black bass while fishing for the hybrids. I haven't personally been catfishing here, but have spoken to several fishermen who had caught some quality cats. The game warden has told me of many extra large catfish that have been caught in this little lake.
If there is a down side to Casa Blanca it is that during the months normally associated with skiers and personal watercraft, the lake can become crowded and the ramp area congested.
Two years ago I had only heard of this lake, but now I list it in my guide brochure. I encourage my clients to try fishing here and many of my regulars book it at least one or two days during their trips to south Texas.
Since this lake is right in the city of Laredo it's easy to plan a family vacation around a fishing trip. The close proximity to Mexico and all the tourist attractions on both sides of the border insures a fun family outing.
The White House saved me a couple of years ago, now it is my ace-in-the-hole. If the fishing gets slow on Falcon and Sugar Lake, I know where to go to satisfy my fishing wishes. If I've left you with the impression that there aren't any really big bass in Casa Blanca, rest assured that some of my friends have caught bass in excess of 11 pounds.
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