Eric Smithson took his family to Ray Roberts State Park on Memorial Day for an afternoon of peace and quiet, but he encountered droves of people looking for a good time.
Smithson, along with thousands of other visitors, came to the lake for a day of relaxation and fun in the sun.
“We easily had over 5,000 people here on the lake today,” state park police officer Adam James said. “That’s just including the people in the day use areas.”
For hours on end, as far as the eye could see, jet skis zipped up and down the lake as riders enjoyed a day away from the stresses of life.
Steve Coker, owner of Ray Roberts Water Sports, wants all of his customers to have a good time, but he has one rule: Yield the right of way to everyone.
“The jet skis are the most maneuverable machines on the lake. The most maneuverable has to yield to the less maneuverable,” Coker said. “Nobody has the right of way when they’re on these.”
Another reason Smithson, who lives in Fort Worth, came to Lake Ray Roberts with his wife and kids is for a time out in the country in one the most prominent fishing lakes in Texas.
“This is the first time we’ve come out here; I thought this was a good place because it’s very secluded,” Smithson said. “We normally fished out at Marine Creek Lake down in Fort Worth. There’s better fishing out here, and better scenery. Marine Creek has a highway by the lake.”
Jesse Rodriguez took his cousin, Sergio Leija, out to this lake as a right of passage.
“He’s never been out here before, so I’m teaching him something that my cousin passed on to me,” Rodriguez said. “Back in Corpus Christi, saltwater fishing was the bomb. Out here, it takes more time.
“It could take you possibly 30 minutes up to an hour before you catch anything. This lake is totally different than the saltwater lakes,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez fishes regularly and enjoys hitting different spots in the DFW area. He decided to come to Lake Ray Roberts because of its size.
“I took my cousin to another spot close by here over by the dam. They opened up a valve where the water from Lake Ray Roberts poured into the other streams. This lake pours into the other lakes,” Rodriguez said. “This lake is one of the biggest out, so I had to bring him here.”
Memorial Day is a day that people take the time to remember war veterans who died for the freedoms we enjoy today.
It affects Rodriguez in a unique way.
“We should cater to those people because they gave their lives for us,” Rodriguez said. “My grandfather, Felicito Rodriguez, served in World War II, and in the Korean War. I’m grateful that my grandpa gave his life for me.”