Lake Amistad, Texas
Target species: Largemouth bass
January avg. temps: 56 high, 39 low
Round-trip airfare to San Antonio: $280
accommodations: Camping at $8 per night

Amistad is the hottest bass lake in Texas right now, both for numbers and for size of bass. And because it’s hard on the Mexican border at Del Rio, it’s also one of the warmest in winter. Hire a cheap car at San Antonio (about $125 a week) and drive southwest to your campsite at the Lake Amistad National Recreation Area ( That frugality puts a powerboat rental from one of several local marinas (about $125 a day) within your means. Or start with a day’s guided fishing at the area’s going rate of $300 a day for two anglers. It just might be the best bassing you’ll have all year.

–John Merwin