By: Jim Holderfield
July, 2000

The sun was just peaking above the horizon when Cooper Lake Guide Marc Mitchell fired up the Mercury on his Cobra Bass Boat and headed for some of his favorite bass spots. A little chop on the water and the cooler temperatures assured he would have a challenging day looking for Monster Bass on Cooper.

This day started at 5:30AM when he met my son Danny and me at the Burtonís Restaurant, right next to the Best Western Motel in Suphur Springs Texas. This location is convenient to both Cooper and Fork, where Marc offers guided trips. Both these lakes have gained a reputation throughout the U.S. as one of the top candidates for an opportunity to catch trophy Bass.

Looking through Marcís photo album during breakfast, I could see why in the Fishing Community, these lakes are high on the list for those attempting to break the Texas State Record for Black Bass. Dozens of photos of past clients were testimony to the size of bass that come from these two lakes.

It was hard to imagine being present when this many BIG fish were caught. Marc still gets excited when he tells stories about his clients that had the good fortune to hang onto one of these exceptional fish in t he 10 lb. Range. In detail, he would describe each move that took place to finally boat the fish, take a quick photo, and just as quickly, release the fish back into the water.

Marc has been guiding on Fork and Cooper for over eight years, and as his photo album attests, has the uncanny ability to find the trophies. My stomach was in knots, just thinking about the possibility of having the chance to add my photo to his album!

After finishing a hearty breakfast at Burtonís, Danny and I followed Marc in our vehicle to the boat-launching ramp near the dam. Just at daylight, looking across the rippled lake, I could see the wide-open waters near the dam. Mark assured me there was lots of structure left in the lake when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed the Dam. I was soon to find out just how much structure, as the boat lanes were the only passageways through large expanses of uncleared areas.

We reached our first point after a short, fast ride and began fishing. Danny and I had met Marc on this occasion to field test some of Dannyís ďHurricoma LureĒ spinner baits and buzzbaits. In addition to fishing these baits, Marc also fishes jigs, crankbaits, soft baits and any other lures that have made him the successful guide for these lakes. Both Danny and Mark are on the Pro Staff for Cameron Rods. Cameron Rods are available in lengths and flex weights that allow the pro bass fisherman to have an arsenal of superior quality rods at his disposal.

He indicated that today, we would give the buzzbaits and spinner baits the work-outs he needed to assure they were the quality that would meet his standards for baits. As we moved from brush pile to brush pile and from weed bed to weed bed, it became apparent that he was an absolute master presenting his bait into difficult locations. An underhanded toss with the wrist and the spinner bait lands gently under over-hanging brush that I passed up because I thought it impossible to get a bait back there. I watched cast after cast and started trying some of the techniques. Marc was more than patient in trolling me over to the brush to retrieve my bait. I watched Danny and was surprised that he was skillful also. Guess Iíll just have to practice more. My crappie fishing didnít prepare me for this kind of action!

Just as I was about to decide that I would have to stick with Crappie fishing, I hooked a nice bass. This was exciting! Danny helped land the fish and I quickly grabbed my camera to record a photo of Danny and MY fish!

As we caught and released fish, Marc told of the history of Fork and Cooper. How through the years they had consistently produced trophy bass, and produced t hem in quantity. He ventured a prediction that the next Texas State Record would be caught on Cooper! He had that twinkle in his eye that indicated to me that he felt his chances were good that it could be one of his clients that would have a chance to catch the BIG one!

The morning passed quickly, as Marc recanted stories of other fishing trips, unusual happenings on the lake and all too soon, it was getting close to lunch and time to head for home. That was when Danny latched onto a good-size bass well over 5 lb. He fought the bass to the top, I got a quick photo as Marc reached down to release the fish, and it came off! Danny watched a second, quickly dropped his spinner bait back in front of the fish and as Marc and I watched, the Bass made a run at the bait and was hooked again! In all my fishing days, I had never seen this happen. I was attempting to get my camera a second time when the fish broke the line and was gone!

In all, it was a very successful fishing trip. We caught good-size fish, although this time we did not get the trophy size (weíll be back), but the guide service was excellent, we successfully tested the baits and learned some fishing techniques from a real Pro.

Suphur Springs is located between Fork and Cooper and has a number of motels that provide quality service. The Suphur Springs Chamber of Commerce can provide you with information on lodging and eating establishments.

As for a Licensed Professional Fishing Guide, contact Marc Mitchell at (800) 657-1969. He has a limited number of open dates. Who knows, you may be the one that fills the photo album with the Texas State Black Bass Record.

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