American Press

Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Southwest Louisiana ,
(Special to the American Press)

(Special to the American Press)

Joslin: Tharp wins FLW on Red River

Last Modified: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 5:36 PM

By Joe Joslin / American Press

Hello, anglers.

Louisiana was once again the site of a major fishing event as the FLW Championship, the Forrest Wood Cup tournament, was fished over the weekend on the Red River in Shreveport.

The FLW season-ending tournament featured 46 top pros who each qualified through regular FLW Tour events. Randall Tharp, of Port St. Joe, Fla., brought in a five-bass limit of 14 pounds on the final day of the four-day event giving him the title.

His total was 20 bass weighing 53 pounds, 2 ounces, which was a 4-pound margin over defending tournament champion Jacob Wheeler of Indianapolis. Tharp won a smooth $500,000 while Wheeler took home $75,000 for his 20 bass weighing 49-2.

The Red River Shreveport/Bossier officials are doing a super job attracting major fishing events to our state and local and area fishing fans are well known for showing up and supporting these events.

Lake conditions

The lake level rose slightly early this week as Tuesday the Sabine River Authority generating schedule had both units shut down, which is the first weekday in 2-3 months when there was no generating.

The lake level was 167.97 feet mean sea level.

Water temperatures fell slightly with the early cool front dropping nighttime temps into the mid-to-upper 60s, but we are in a slight warming trend. However, long-term weather forecasts indicate a continuing of moderate temperatures and even a return to upper 60s for overnight lows midweek next week. Water temperatures reflect this as surface temps are down to 84-87 degrees, which shows a retreat of a couple of degrees.

I’m not the only one who likes this trend as the fish seem to as well. We caught a lot of bass last week.

Fishing reports

BASS: We’re not doing a whole lot differently than we have the past several weeks but the bass have simply been more active as the slight drop in water temps seem to be in their liking.

This past week we used topwater, Texas rigs, crankbaits and drop-shot rigs. Topwater patterns have been used at dawn as well as in schooling bass with both poppers and walking-type topwater lures working. On still mornings we often use poppers while on breezy mornings I tend to use those lures when I can walk the dog such as a Frenzy Walker (Berkley discontinued) and Zara Spook as these make it easier for the bass to find in the wave action.

Crankbaits are getting slightly more productive with lots of suspended bass feeding on shad especially close to the river channel as well as on main feeder creeks.

I am finding a lot of bait in the back of creeks where they usually don’t show up till September. The bait have been there for a couple of weeks and bass are starting to migrate. I am really enjoying using Norman’s new NXS in these situations as the bait dives (12-pound fluorocarbon) about 14-16 feet and the smaller profile of the NXS seems to be in the bass’ liking.

I am using mostly shad patterns, including the new Tropical Shad which favors the standard blue and chartreuse, in case you look for it. Other good colors for us have been Gizzard Shad, which is a light tan shad combo plus Chartreuse Shad, which resembles the sexy shad in the DD22 colors.

The finish and scale patterns are top shelf. I continue to have a DD22 tied on to work the deeper points, creek bends, deep humps and ridges. As normal, we are catching many of our crankbait fish on the break or ledge where it drops off.

Our Texas rig patterns range from 12-28 feet with most done in the 16- to 24-foot depths. The shallow 12- to 16-foot patterns are normally early and late and on days with heavy clouds. The brighter the conditions the deeper we normally fish, which means we fish deeper on calm days than we do on days with some wind. Wind definitely is a friend on bright, sunny days both for comfort as well as fishing conditions.

We are using more of a variety of soft plastics the past week or so and this trend will continue as we move into fall patterns. We are using Bottom Hopper, Trick Worms, Havoc Rocket Craw, and Berkley Power Worms in 7 and 10 inches. Most colors are in the watermelon and green pumpkin family.

Our last patterns are drop-shot and jigging spoons. We are using drop-shot patterns in depths of 16-30 feet with 18-24 getting a lot of attention with some of our go-to drop-shot plastics, including Havoc Bottom Hoppers, B.H. Jrs, and Trick Worms with watermelon colors all working.

The favorite Bottom Hopper colors are shady watermleon candy and watermelon with watermelon purple good in Trick Worms.

The spoon is getting more time as schooling bass are more numerous and I like the spoon because it catches fish and you can throw it a mile. I use 12-pound test Big Game green mono on a Revo SX Spinning reel with 7-foot medium-action Veritas (Abu Garcia) rod and I can throw it 50-60 yards allowing me to reach those far away schools.

It’s gonna be a fun fall. We’re wishing you good fishing.

CRAPPIE/YELLOW BASS: About the only crappie reports we are getting these days are those with man-made brush piles. The fish are in 22-28 feet with live shiners fished over brush the best pattern.

There have been reports a week or so ago of some crappie coming from under bridges at first light but then the yellow bass move in and action switches to yellow bass. The yellow bass action has improved, with one tip to locate some schooling activity of largemouth and fish under them with spoons and tailspinners such as Knock-off (Norman Lures) and Little George (Mann’s Lures). It works.

• • •

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 or visit

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