Andy Dear | Sunday, 12 April 2020
Many years ago, my late friend and noted Texas Rodmaker Gerlad MacCasland introduced me to a "fishing club" that at the time was called The Greater Texas Bass Club. It was a unique business model whereby the club owner contracted with private landowners who had lakes on their property to allow the members of the club to fish these private lakes for a daily fee. The club worked on a reservation system where the fisherman could reserve a lake for a day and would have the entire body of water all to themselves. Additionally, the club provided small boats at all the lakes for the members to use at no extra charge. Gerald joined The GTBC because as he got up in age, he was no longer able to handle a large bass boat by himself, and the GTBC provided an opportunity for him to do what he loved without the expense, hassle and maintainence of owning a large boat, and also without the wasted time of searching out fish on a large body of water that more often than not was overcrowded and over fished by other anglers.
Unfortunately, Gerald passed away in 2005, and I never got the opportunity to explore the private lakes of the GTBC network with him before he died. However, a few years ago when my then 9 year old son Jackson expressed a desire to learn how to fish, I thought the GTBC might be a great way to introduce him to the sport. After doing a quick Google search I learned that the GTBC had recently been sold and was now called Private Water Fishing. The new owners, Steve, and Karry Alexander have successfully implemented an aggressive plan to expand and improve upon the original concept of the Greater Texas Bass Club.
The club now maintains well over 70 private lakes throughout the state of Texas, all of which are strictly managed for trophy Largemouth Bass. The club still provides aluminum boats for its members to use, and also maintains an electroshock boat and a fisheries biologist which are regularly employed to asses the health and density of fish population in each lake. The club also employs strict and sound management practices, including proper harvesting on lakes with too many fish, adequate resting of each lake between anglers for several days, as well as the addition of forage fish as necessary to maintain the proper predator/prey ratio in each lake.
Jack and I joined PWF in 2017, and I have to say, we have had some of the most incredible angling experiences of our lives on these lakes....and, it's not just because of the stellar fishing. The ability to "reserve" a lake, often on a very large parcel of private property and have it all to yourself for the entire day has made for some wonderful trips without the pressure and competition from other anglers. Additionally, because of the strict management practices that result in an often high catch rate, it allowed Jackson to have a tremendous amount of success in a very short period of time, that not only anchored his interest in the sport, but also facilitated a very high level of knowledge, confidence and proficiency in a plethora of angling techniques.
The club now has a sizeable membership of like-minded anglers throughout the state of Texas, all working towards a common goal of building a large network of lakes chock full of unpressured, healthy trophy fish. And, with the addition of an online bulletin board and a "partner finder", PWF also facilitatating the introduction of members to one another. Jackson and I have formed a strong bond with one particular member here in San Antonio named Bill Fetech. For several years now Bill and I and Jack have enjoyed many memorable hours both on and off the water together at various locales around South Texas. Not only is Bill an incredibly disciplined Bass fisherman, he is also a fantastic human being and kindred spirit that Jackson and I are priveleged to call a friend.
I bring up the "pay to play" concept that PWF employs because, during this time of strict "social distancing" rules, many of the ingress and egress points that we commonly use to access our public bodies water have been temporarily closed for safety reasons, and rightly so. But for those of us who can no longer deal with the dark veil of cabin fever this lockdown on public water has blanketed us in, the private lakes provided by PWF have become a safe, unpopulated angling sanctuary for it's members during these surreal times.
To learn more about the PWF business model, you can visit www.privatewaterfishing.com. And, if any of you ever make it to South Texas, Jack, Bill and I would be honored to escort you under the PWF guest program to experience the stellar angling provided by these unique and beautiful properties.
Hope your all staying safe and healthy,