The NPFL Returns to Texarkana, Wright Patman Lake

It's the same but different as the NPFL Pros return to Texarkana for Stop #2 of the 2023 Season.

Story by Justin Brouillard | Photos by Tanner & Travis Lyons

Like in 2021, the inaugural season of the National Professional Fishing League, stop number two brings the anglers and their families back to Texarkana to Wright Patman Lake. In 2021, Keith Carson blew the doors off an overall successful event with 67 pounds, 10 ounces for three days, and a 9-pound, 6-ounce margin over the second-place angler. In 2023, the event is virtually the same week (as in 2021) but the fishing conditions couldn’t be further from the same. Current lake levels are hovering right around 226 with the “water falling 3-inches a day recently” according to local angler Michael Yoder.

The winner in 2021, Keith Carson Echoed Yoder as he made his way from another tournament Sunday afternoon in hopes of getting 30 minutes of practice before dark.

“I heard from other anglers that the lake is much lower than in 2021,” said Carson. “Then, it was low, and dropping by the day, and this year it’s hardly touching the bushes at all.” 

Carson was looking forward to his first full day of practice and having to relearn a place that treated him well in the past. 

“The fish may not be on the bushes but they have to go somewhere, and I am looking forward to figuring them out,” added Carson. “I have some stuff from before that I made note of that should be good with the low water but we will see as the practice wears on.”

Michael E Alls had to take a medical leave of absence for the 2023 season but has experience fishing Wright Patman. He notes when the fish move up to spawn and the falling water pushes them back out, the process starts over, and keying in on those areas could result in success.

“The fish will get set up and flipping or going more finesse will work on key areas,” said E Alls. “Someone will figure out the key structure, and utilize electronics, and those local guys who have seen this before will have an advantage this go around.”

Yoder has fished Wright Patman and in years past would win 6 or 8 events in April. This year, he cautions against any local advantage.

“You would think it would play until you go out and struggle to catch a fish. There are three locals here who know this place and none of us can catch a limit,” said Yoder. “The lake is in a funk, and four factors are working against us all this week.”

Yoder noted the following. The first factor is the low water, which is dropping around 3 inches per day. Secondly, the fish are just in a post-spawn funk with early spring-like conditions throughout spring. Third, recent cold-front conditions pushed temperatures into the 40s for a few nights, and finally, a high-pressure system is working through near the end of practice leading into the tournament.

“I think someone who gets settled in an area and fishes around slowly will do better than the guy who chooses to move around,” added Yoder. Someone will have nowhere to be and run into a group. If they can manage them throughout the event, it could suit them right. For me, fishing in these conditions is not helping, and I am looking forward to fishing Thursday, launching and just going fishing.”

Nick Brown has fished all around the area several times but coincidentally, never has fished Wright Patman. 

“Other than learning how to run around this lake, I feel like it sets up like others I fish close by,” said Brown. “I have had one good day so far and one very tough day.”

He notes that with the layout of the lake, small water drops eliminate a large horizontal area of the lake. Similarly, when the water drops substantially, the fish make big moves. When the water falls slowly, as current conditions dictate, the fish make smaller moves. 

He is hoping this logic will help him unlock areas where the fish continually move to him throughout the event.

“I think it will still be won shallow; the fish want to be shallow,” he added. “The water is cleaner than normal; you can see the bottom up there and the fish will typically slide out when that happens and being in the areas they slide to will be key. This week, fish management will be huge.”

How to Watch

Tune in daily April 20 through 22 to watch daily action from Texarkana, with Live Coverage here and on the FREE PHYX TV App beginning on Thursday.

Follow along and watch the daily LIVE Leaderboard, LIVE Blog, and on the water photo galleries and blogs of the anglers on Wright Patman Lake.

Under the Go Live Tab, choose LIVE Broadcast or check out the real-time leaderboard on the Weigh Live Tracker with estimated weights entered by the anglers on the water and join us for the LIVE Weigh-ins, here!

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