(Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 10:43 AM
So far so good with Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas avoiding triple-digit daytime highs as the long-term forecast calling for high temps in the lower-to-mid 90s. While nothing to brag about, we’ll take it until we get an early fall cool front that usually hits the last of August or early September.
Also, rainfall has been decent and we have not had to deal with drought conditions this summer. Most fisheries have plenty of water and area lakes and rivers are in good shape and producing average-to-above average fishing.
Toledo’s lake level is at 168.8 feet with both generators running from 2-7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Surface water temperatures are 87-89 degrees and warmer in secluded, sun-drenched coves.
As water levels slowly fall, there will be more and more grass exposed, making structure on points and ridges easier to read. In addition, it will start to stack up more bass on main lake and main creek points.
BASS: Crankbaits are becoming more effective as the lake levels fall and fish start to relate more to points and ridges. Windy days also tend to move me to crankbaits.
We have super clear water on south Toledo and rig crankbaits with 10- and 12-pound test Trilene Pro Grade 100 percent fluorocarbon line. However, crankbaits will work on any fishery and if you have stained water conditions you will usually find fish more shallow than on clear lakes and you can get by with other lines and heavier pound test.
On the lower half of deep, clear Toledo we use crankbaits to work points and ridges that are on the main lake as well as in some of the main feeder creeks such as Housen Bay, Six Mile, Toro Bay and Mill Creek. Most of the time we are using one of three crankbaits depending on depths that we are fishing.
The first is the Deep Little N, which is our go-to bait in 8-12 feet. Then there’s the new NXS (Bill Norman Lures) which is a fantastic recent addition when working the 12- to 16-foot depths. The final is the very popular DD22 which works in 14-20 feet. I have used the DD22 and the long-lining technique and bumped the bottom in 25 feet.
All of these baits have great hooks, huge color selections and run straight right out of the box. They also catch quality bass and are a great method to locate schools of bass on deep structure.
One final tip is to experiment with retrieves and presentations, and I almost always utilize some form of stop-n-go retrieve. I have seen many days when you could not get a bite unless you paused the bait.
We also continue to catch bass on Texas rigs and drop-shot. On Texas rigs we are using Berkley Havoc Bottom Hoppers, Trick Worms and Berkley 10-inch Power Worms. In depths of 10-18 feet we are rigging with 3/16- and 1/4-ounce sinkers and 2 and 3/0 hooks. On the 10-inch Power Worms we are using 3/8-ounce sinkers with 4 and 5/0 hooks.
Top colors of Bottom Hoppers are shady watermelon candy, watermelon and smoke purple, Trick worm colors include watermelon candy red, Mardi Gras, watermelon purple glitter and candy bug. Power Worm colors are Redbug, green pumpkin and watermelon candy.
Drop-shot patterns are still producing with the best action from 15-30 feet using Bottom Hoppers, Bottom Hopper Jrs and Trick Worms.
The outside edge of the grassline is where we are catching some of the fish but they will stack up out on main lake and main creek points where there is a steep drop-off.
Schooling bass are still active and will hit small crankbaits, Bill Lewis Rat-L-Traps, Pro Pops and small and medium jigging spoons. You can also catch bass under the schools with Texas rigs and drop-shot.
CRAPPIE AND YELLOW BASS: The white perch pattern is unchanged, but guides are working harder to catch fish, but those with good brush piles are catching a decent number of crappie, but not like it was a few weeks ago.
The past 5-6 weeks have been one of the best early summers for crappie in several years. The pattern currently is live shiners in baited brush working 20- to 25-foot depths.
Yellow bass are more numerous with jigging spoons and tail-spinners (Knock-Off by Bill Norman and Little George) catching fish underneath schooling largemouth. You will also catch largemouth and white bass on this pattern.
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