Last Modified: Wednesday, October 09, 2013 9:34 AM
Hello, anglers. Cool front? I was thinking cold front as Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas were greeted with a strong front that put a chill in the air. It also basically took apart Tropical Storm Karen, which could have been a major threat to the Gulf Coast. We are relieved and thankful.
The cool front also cooled off the water in the Gulf which will assist to minimize the strength of the next system, if one occurs. Another few weeks and we will be finished with hurricane season (Nov. 30).
The lake level has changed very little the past week but is up 4-5 inches over the past three weeks due to minimal generating and moderate rainfall. A report early this week showed both generators shut down with surface water temperatures from 77 to 80 degrees, which is trending downward.
Water conditions are good all over with north Toledo slightly stained, midlake mostly clear and south Toledo clear to very clear.
BASS: Cooler water temps continued the turnover where the water column in the lake basically becomes one as the summer thermocline is forced to dissolve. Cooler water is heavier than warm water and after a couple of cold fronts the heavier/cooler water pushes down and forces a turnover where basically the entire lake’s water mass has decent oxygen content.
In the summer with the thermocline there is little oxygen below the thermocline. This does change an angler’s approach because now bass and shad can be anywhere from 1-50 feet as there is ample oxygen. As a deep-water angler, I am very aware of this change as it marks the beginning of spoon and deep drop-shot patterns.
The fall not only offers deeper fishing possibilities because shallow water patterns can be excellent as well. At least two patterns improved this week, including both spinnerbaits and weightless soft plastics.
The Stanley Vibrashaft spinnerbait with double willow leaf blades/shad-colored skirts is very effective as well as weightless Texas-rigged Havoc Grass Pig, Berkley Jerk Shad, Senko and Fluke.
The spinnerbait bite is best early, late and on cloudy and windy conditions. The weightless Texas rig somewhat the same, but it will stay productive most of the day if allowed to sink on the outside edge of deeper grass in 8-16 feet.
Wacky rigs in scattered grass, as well as on the outside edge of grass, are catching bass. Fish’em slow. Some of the deeper hydrilla grass beds are as deep as 20 feet which will work with weightless wacky, but it has to be little wind and a slow presentation.
If I need a little weight, I insert a 1-inch paneling nail in the head of the worm. I usually fish a Senko without weight.
The regular Texas rig is also still very productive using a wide variety of soft plastics, including 7- and 10-inch Berkley Power Worms, 6.25-inch Havoc Bottom Hoppers and Trick Worms.
Top colors include green pumpkin, watermelon family, redbug and candy bug. We are using 1/-8, 3/16- and 1/4-ounce slip-sinker weights in dull grey or black. In South Toledo’s very clear water conditions, I do not like a bright, shiny sinker. It may not make a difference but I have more confidence in a dull or black lead sinker.
CRAPPIE/YELLOW BASS: Many veteran crappie anglers on Toledo are rebrushing their white perch holes as this is one of the better times of the year to fish baited brush piles.
There is always a - to 8-week period in the fall when crappie will load up in medium deep brush (18-28 feet) before cold weather and colder water temps pushes them deeper to edge of old Sabine River bed and major creeks.
Prior to these cold fronts, a lot of crappie have been suspended which scatters them and makes them hard to pattern. Yellow bass have also moved deeper and should be easier to find in bunches. They will still be relating to main creeks and major ditches.
Joe Joslin is a syndicated outdoor columnist, tournament angler and pro guide on Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn. His column appears Thursdays. Contact him at 463-3848 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.joejoslinoutdoors.com