(Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 11:03 AM
The first part of the week opened up with moderate daytime temperatures, but as we get into the week the heat returns with near 100 degrees in the Toledo Bend area as a weak low pressure is replaced by strong high pressure minimizing clouds and decreasing chances of rain.
As Labor Day approaches, a cool front usually arrives before too long. We hope. In the mean time, we will have to deal with some serious hot weather, but not for long. However, every day is a gift.
At midweek the lake level was 197.75 feet with both generators shut down.
Water temperatures were running from 86-89 degrees with north Toledo slightly stained, midlake mostly clear and south Toledo is very clear with 6-10 feet visibility. There is some stained water the back of the creeks, but even the creeks are clearing due to lack of rain.
There is lots of shoreline grass as well as submerged grass and the farther you go south, the deeper it gets with some patches as deep as 22 feet.
BASS: No matter what patterns you enjoy fishing, there is almost a time and area that you can fish’em. I’m not saying that you can work topwater all day long and catch bass with regularity (while that might be possible) or that working soft plastics on just any grassy area will be productive. I’m saying there are numerous patterns on the lake that are catching bass from 2-30 feet.
While that may sound like the bass are jumping in the boat, that is not the case. The challenge when you have fish so scattered all over the lake with that much water volume is to discover when and where the bass are grouped or concentrated.
Points are usually a dependable pattern 12 months out of the year, but especially late summer and fall. Personally, I look for secondary and almost hidden points because the main points are obvious and get lots of fishing pressure. However, even on large main points there are subtle parts of them that many anglers overlook that hold bass.
Anglers need to keep their eyes glued to their electronics. Most of the time I run my GPS fishfinder on split screen showing in Down Image and the other half in sonar. This gives me two images of what I am fishing.
If you are fishing water deeper than 15-18 feet make sure you check your Switchfire feature if you have a Hummingbird unit to see whether it is set on clear or max mode. In deeper depths the max mode will give you much more sensitivity, allowing you to see more specifics of the structure. However, in shallow water you need to be in clear mode as the max setting is too strong.
There are many features on these high-tech units, but every owner for sure needs to be able to use the Switchfire mode as well as the restore-defaults feature which will put things back to factory settings.
We are catching some bass on topwater patterns both on points early and late as well as in schooling areas. Schooling activity should improve this week with the moon on the wane.
Both poppers and walkers are working with some mornings the walk-the-dog technique seemed to be what they wanted using a spook as well as Berkley’s Frenzy Walker. Texas-rigged Havoc Bottom Hoppers, Havoc Rocket Craws and Trick Worms are catching bass in depths of 8-28 feet depending on light intensity as the brighter the conditions, the deeper I usually work.
Also, the deeper I fish, the slower I work my bait. Also, the deeper the point, ridge or hump, the more time I give it. It is so easy to overlook a group of big bass on a large, deep point.
We continue to use deep-diving crankbaits and have a Norman crankbait on one or more of my rods. The drop-shot is still productive and I don’t expect that to change. As the water has fallen, there is more and more grass exposed making Stanley’s Ribbit Frog and buzzbaits good choices for solid bass. We are using both the regular buzzing Ribbit plus the new Top Toad (floating feature), which we are rigging with Stanley’s awesome Double-Take hook using the 4/0 and 5/0 versions.
The Double-Take is two large hooks welded together and ride pointed up in the plastic front. On the Top Toad they fit like hand and glove. The double hooks improves percentages of strikes and hook-ups on plastics frogs, which for many of us can be a challenge.
CRAPPIE/YELLOW BASS: As last week, there is very little white perch news throughout the lake with very few crappie caught and those were on fresh baited man-made brush piles.
In talking to veteran Toledo crappie guide, Noe Garcia, he said he was not too encouraged about it getting any better until late September or early October.
On the yellow bass scene, there are a lot of them in the mouth and also in the back of major creeks but they will not hit just any time. If they are feeding, the action is fast. If not, they will just follow your spoon or tailspinner and lightly tap it.
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