(Special to the American Press)
Toledo angler Chris Ebel with a 9.3-pounder caught last week in the midlake area. (Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 01, 2013 10:10 AM
Basically the news is all good on my favorite fishing hole. In the May issue of Bassmaster Magazine there is an article that featured the top 100 lakes in the country and Toledo Bend was rated an impressive No. 10.
The article went on the say that the lake is experiencing a “new Lake” effect because of recent rains the past months that flooded hydrilla and other aquatic vegetation as the lake had been at record low levels due to an 18- to 24-month-old drought.
Catch rates are moving upward and giant fish are more numerous, more so than in my 38 years of fishing this awesome lake. Two Texas Share Lunkers (bass that weigh more than 13 pounds) were caught here since 2012, plus Louisiana registered a 14-pounder last year.
There have been more bass weighing more than 7 pounds, plus double-digit fish have been caught almost every week on the lake for the past three months. That does not mean you catch a huge bass every time you go to the lake, but it does mean that you need to have your tackle in top shape in order to land a big, strong-fighting largemouth bass.
The basics I teach in my seminars and
guide trips include proper knots, fresh fishing line (line more than a
month old needs
changing), high-quality hooks and proper drag settings on your
reels. Also, a positive attitude is vital so expect to get
a strike from a huge fish. When, not if, it happens, having your
tackle in top shape will greatly increase your percentages
of getting into the same picture as your dream bass.
The water level is 170.4 feet and both generators are shut down.
Water temperatures are rising again and are running from 65-66 on main lake and 66-68 in creeks. North Toledo is stained, midlake is mostly clear and south Toledo is clear to very clear.
I have been noticing the Texas Sabine River Authority working on the boat lane buoys last week so maybe they will be able
to replace some of the missing markers. Being familiar with the lake, it is not too much of a problem for us personally, but for those who are new to the lake it is a scary situation.
I have seen several boaters who have missed boat lanes and ended up out in the timber.
Bass: “Multiple” would be one description of the fish-catching patterns on Toledo. That doesn’t mean that you can throw any bait anywhere and expect to get your rod bent multiple times, but I am saying that there is more than one way to catch bass on my favorite fishin’ hole.
Our most frequently used pattern continues to be fishing soft plastics on light-weighted and weightless presentations in 4- to 12-foot depths. Other fun and effective patterns include running a Stanley Vibra-Wedge double willow spinnerbait along shorelines and over grassy points. In addition, topwater patterns are increasing during the post-spawn with Pro Pop (Norman), Chug Bug and Yellow Magic all getting hit.
Small-to-medium crankbaits are also catching bass on points with scattered grass as well as on shallow ridges. I like the Flat Broke (Norman) as well as a Baby N and Little N. On soft plastic patterns we mention earlier my choice of plastics include Havoc’s Bottom Hopper, Havoc’s Rocket Craw, Speed Craw and Trick Worm.
My drop-shot rod is beginning to see more action with Havoc’s Bottom Hopper Jr. (4.75 inch) still my top choice. With more and more bass moving deeper, we will also work slightly heavier Carolina rigs in depths of 18-28 feet.
Crappie/Bream/White Bass: Crappie guide Ernie Cole reported activity has picked up both on deep brush with live shiners as well as on the outside grasslines with light jigs.
Yellow bass are still on the edge of creeks and edge of the river. Spoons and tailspinners will work when jigged vertically as well as pumping them close to the bottom as well as underneath schooling largemouth bass. White bass are being caught on jigs by crappie anglers especially on Blakemore’s Road Runner. Bass anglers are also catching them on spinnerbaits and crankbaits.
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