Boy howdy! You and I have very similar stories
I bought my first boat back in late June of this year. I have only fished Ray Roberts so far too. At least one weekend day every weekend since.
Until I started fishing a popper, I was only catching dinks it seemed. I have thrown squarebills, flukes, t-rig, jigs and trailers, Carolina rigs, you name it. I purchased a Don Iovino Splash-It 3/8oz. in bone color and wah-la. Now saying that I did catch my largest fish of the year a couple of weeks ago on a Strike King 1.5 squarebill in Gizzard Shad color. I am not a new fisherman, but nor am I a seasoned veteran either. I took off fishing regularly for a number of years running a business, raising a family, etc.
There is a lot of great information to be learned here and from other quality on-line sources. I am more and more of the opinion that seat time on the water is the biggest key to success. You have to learn how your boat operates, how your graphs work and how to use them properly. Next it is learning to read and understand topo maps and learning about how bass travel based upon the season. I think that the old adage of "find the bait fish" is really a good one to use also. No forage, no feeders!
Hang in there. Learning all aspects of this sport, will increase your chances for repeated success. At least that is what I am preaching to myself
Stay focused, think about why you are fishing a specific spot and what is the forage. Listen to what the veterans here are saying and you will gain a lot more knowledge which will lead to more success and increased confidence. Go out there and whackem'!
I've been fishing Ray Roberts since just before summer at least once or twice a week; every week. I'm a noob and haven't been all that successful. My PB so far is 4lbs. Caught it a week or so ago on a super windy/miserable day in a cove. I tied off on a tree and just beat up one spot with a shallow crank. He was the only one I got that day and he swallowed it.
I haven't had any luck lately on poppers or spooks.
I know they're there I just haven't figured out the patterns yet. It doesn't help that I suck at electronics, bait selection, location selection and just overall & in general...lol.
I catch a fair amount of fish most days, they're just mostly babies at this point.
I used to think I sucked at fishing because I was stuck on the bank; then I got a boat....
Congrats on the topwater.