Last Modified: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 11:32 AM
We are in the middle of spring and fish are being caught on numerous patterns and are in depths of 1-20 feet. You have some bass still on the spawning beds while others have already spawned and are on post-spawn patterns.
Boat traffic this week has diminished as spring and Easter holidays have ended, plus many are planning to fish McDonald’s Big Bass Splash this weekend on Sam Rayburn.
It is one of the largest tournaments each year and will include several thousand anglers with a total guaranteed payout of $540,000 in cash and prizes with $155,400 in hourly payouts.
At midweek the lake level was 170.23 feet with both generators shut down and water temperatures running from 64 degrees on the main lake to upper 60s in feeder creeks and even higher in protected coves.
The upper part of the lake is stained, midlake is slightly stained and south Toledo is clear to very clear.
There are numerous missing boat lane buoys all over the lake so use caution if you are not familiar with the lake. These are usually replaced by now each year but budget issues have some things on hold. Also, if you launch after a day or two of high winds, please use caution as you navigate the lake as floaters, some of them large, get moved around and some can even end up in boat lanes.
Toledo is an awesome, large and beautiful lake, but it is always in a state of constant change so be alert for your safety.
BASS: Topwater patterns have increased the past few days with some good fish being caught. I like a walking bait like Berkley’s Frenzy Walker and a Zara Spook. I also love a popper with my favorites being Bill Norman’s Pro Pop, Chug Bug and Yellow Magic.
All of those poppers have a teaser tail which, in my opinion, makes a huge difference especially in clear-water conditions like I fish on south Toledo and south Rayburn. In addition, Stanley’s new Top Toad Ribbit frog is making itself known while catching big bass out of shoreline grass as lake area angler Johnny Watkins has been doing lately.
On the topwater poppers, fish’em slow with lots of pauses. I like a medium-action Veritas 7-foot rod and a Revo STX reel spooled with 15- or 17-pound big game line. For topwater patterns, I like to be able to cast long distances and this rig allows that to happen with very little effort on my part. While fluorocarbon line is good for numerous fishing applications, it is not good for topwater patterns as it sinks and will impact the manner in which your topwater bait performs. We are working our topwater baits on grassy points both on the main lake as well as in major creeks.
Other major patterns includes both weightless and weighted Texas rigs. We are working these from 2-14 feet depending on the time of day as well as the wind conditions. We mostly target shallow areas early and move deeper as light conditions gets brighter.
Some of our favorite soft plastics include Berkley’s Bottom Hopper, Stanley Side Winder, Trick Worms, Havoc Rocket Craw and Power Lizards. Carolina rigs continue to work as bass are moving deeper. In addition, we like wacky-worm patterns using Bottom Hoppers, Trick worms and Senkos. Swim baits are coming on strong with two of our favorites including Berkley Hollow Belly and Havoc’s Grass Pig.
There are also times when Stanley’s Vibra Wedge double willow spinnerbait catches bass like nothing else, but there are times when they don’t seem to want it. However, I keep one on one of my rods on the deck of my boat and we are catching some bass every day on the spinnerbait. Some days a lot of fish.
CRAPPIE: Strolling for crappie is increasing and the catches are getting better, especially where there are areas of deeper grass in 10-16 feet. Work the outside edges of thick grass as well as those areas with scattered grass. Blakemore’s Road Runner and small 1/16-ounce jigs on rigged 6- to 8-pound test clear or low-visible green line and a spinning reel or spincast works great for this.
Be sure to add a Berkley Nibble to your jig as it will increase the number of fish you catch.
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