(Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 10:25 AM
The full-moon phase always impacts how and when the fish feed and usually means a slow early feeding with the bite getting better by midmorning and late afternoon. In addition, when the water temperature rises into the 80s as it is now, the fish will feed heavily after dark, especially on Toledo which has lots of clear, deep water.
Numerous area anglers are also aware of this and take advantage of catching quality bass at night and not having to deal with hot sun and daytime temps in the mid 90s.
When we came off the lake late Friday afternoon the south Toledo boat parking lot was jam packed with some having a night bass tournament and others just glad to be on the lake and out of the office.
The lake is beautiful and packed with folks enjoying the outdoors. The Texas Sabine River Authority Park at the dam Friday afternoon had numerous tents set up all over the hill and sail boats, pontoons, bass boats and large ski rigs were all utilizing the open areas near the dam to enjoy various water sports.
The lake level is 170.2 feet as both generators have been running weekdays from 2-7 p.m. but they are shut down for weekends.
Water temps are ranging from 83-87 degrees and north Toledo has some stained areas, midlake is clear on the main lake with some stained areas in the main creeks while south Toledo is clear-to-very clear.
There is decent submerged grass in some midlake areas with lots of submerged grass on the south end with areas that has hydrilla as deep as 20 feet.
BASS: We continue to use multiple patterns to catch bass but are spending about 60 percent of our time in water deeper than 15 feet, and some of that from 20-30 feet. However, we still are catching some bass on topwater early and late as well on mornings when the clouds hang around for a couple of hours.
We let the bass say when it is time to change patterns and move from
topwater to Texas, Carolina and drop-shot patterns. When they quit hitting on a certain pattern we start making adjustments with depth and baits.
Another very important element in fishing this time of the year is to be very color conscious of your soft plastics, especially when you are fishing clear-to-very clear water conditions.
An on-the-water approach I often use in color selection is when the fish start to slow down hitting a particular color I will start changing worm colors. Usually I will leave clients on the color we have been catching them on and I will try another color. If new color gets action then I will move clients to the new color.
If we start early in the morning on soft plastics, I will normally use a color that is dark and mostly solid in color and then as light conditions get brighter I will start to use more translucent colors, which are colors that allow light through them. Some of my favorite solid colors include June Bug, green pumpkin and candy bug while favorite translucent colors include watermelon, watermelon purple flake, Mardi Gras, red bug and smoke purple. There are other colors that seem to work both times such as watermelon candy.
Another thing that I do when using soft plastics is to dye about half-inch of the tail with chartreuse dye that is specifically made for soft plastics.
There are two ways of doing this with one option being to dip the tail of the soft plastic lure in the a bottle of dye solution. There is a risk to using this method because sooner or later you will spill some of the instant drying, permanent dye on the boat carpet and then you have a costly carpet replacement situation.
I use the other method, which is to use a marker pen made specifically for dying soft plastics. Both the bottle and pen can be purchased with a scent attractor, which I like, and usually use garlic scent. Others have shrimp and crawfish scents. Two of these on the market currently are made by Spike It as and Zoom.
Besides adding scent to the worm, the small dyed area when submerged in water looks almost like the tail has a light bulb in it. I am convinced it helps to get more bites as it makes the worm easier for the bass to find and makes the bait more enticing. I suppose I am a dyed-in-the-wool dye user.
Other baits catching bass include middiving and deep-diving crankbaits as well as Baby N’s, which we are using in schooling bass. Schooling bass are more numerous and we are catching them on poppers (Pro Pop, Chug Bug, Yellow Magic) as well as walking baits such as Zara Spooks.
We are also catching schooling bass on small-to-medium spoons, which allows us to make long casts and then let the spoon fall through the school.
CRAPPIE AND YELLOW BASS: Lakefront landowners with deep water under their boat houses and piers are catching some crappie at night with lights. Fifteen to 20 feet is the best depth to have, and there are not many of those but several in the Indian Creek area do have that much water under their docks.
Most crappie guides are fishing almost exclusively on their baited holes which are mostly in 18-28 feet of water. Live shiners and crappie tube jigs are all you need to use on baited holes.
Yellow bass are becoming more plentiful and are always next to lots of baitfish that can easily be found on a decent electronic unit. My unit makes this lots of fun. I usually first locate the bait fish, use a spoon to fish the area and then when we catch a couple I will throw out a marker buoy.
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