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On top is the Texas-rigged Havoc Bottom Hopper. Below is 10-inch Berkley Power Worm. (Joe Joslin / Special to the American Press)

On top is the Texas-rigged Havoc Bottom Hopper. Below is 10-inch Berkley Power Worm. (Joe Joslin / Special to the American Press)

Joslin: Right tools make fishing more enjoyable

Last Modified: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 9:34 AM

By Joe Joslin / American Press

Hello, anglers.

As a guide, I am ask a lot of questions about boats, electronics, various lakes, latest tackle, new tow vehicles and many other topics that anglers deal with on a regular basis.

One that I often get is what is my favorite way to catch bass and another is “If you could only have one bait to use, what would it be?” The answer to the first one is “I really don’t have one favorite way to catch fish.” I love topwater, Texas rigs, wacky worms, jigs, spinnerbaits, drop shot, jigging spoons, crankbaits to name a few. However, if I could only have one method to fish it would be an easy answer for me — the Texas rig.

Lake Conditions

Slightly cooler weather has stabilized surface water temps to mid 80s and this cooling trend should continue. The lake level early this week was at 167.46’ with one generator running from 3 to 5 p.m. North Toledo is slightly stained, mid lake is mostly clear and south Toledo is very clear.

Fishing reports

BASS: With a Texas rig you can fish in 6 inches of water as well as 40 feet of water and you can use finesse worms, plus 10- and 12-inch worms and you can fish them weightless or with a heavy sinker of an ounce or more.

I mention the Texas rig because we have caught so many bass on them through the years and it has been a dynamite producer for us the past several months. Also, it can be fished anywhere and in all kinds of structure and cover. It really shines in deep grass and especially in deep, scattered hydrilla, which is how we are using it this summer. Anglers have the choice of a straight-tail worm, split-tail or one with a swimming tail and then you have multiple presentations that are possible.

Most all anglers have a few secrets we rarely share and some of those are how we work various lures. Correct presentation is vital. Nowhere is how we present a lure to a fish more important than when fishing super clear water.

The southern third of Toledo and the mouth of main creeks on south Toledo is very clear and almost never stained. Only two times in my 36 years of fishing Toledo have I seen the main lake near the Texas and Louisiana islands stained. The mouth of Six Mile I have seen stained maybe a half dozen times only to say that when I make a cast, my boat is usually sitting in clear water.

One of the most significant recent improvements in fishing a Texas rig in clear water is improved technology in fishing line, namely, fluorocarbon. I basically would not even consider fishing a Texas rig without using fluorocarbon. There are a few, but not many, high-quality fluorocarbon lines available today but my favorite is Berkley Pro Grade Trilene 100 percent fluorocarbon.

I use 17- and 15-pound test most of the time, but also use 12- and 10-pound. When using fluorocarbon line with a Texas rig, you have the advantage of it being totally transparent, it has almost no stretch for a solid hook set, improved sensitivity to feel the lightest bite, is extremely abrasion resistant and is super strong. It is an awesome product and once you start using it, monofilament just doesn’t cut it. One reminder: fluorocarbon sinks so it does not work on topwater applications.

Finally, one of the best, if not the best technique for fishing heavy brush is a Texas rig. There’s nothing quite as exciting as crawling a Texas-rigged 10-inch Berkley Power Worm through a deep brush pile and feel that tap-tap and set the hook on a monster largemouth.

There are numerous other ways to fish a Texas rig, probably enough to write an entire book. I will say that one of my most productive methods the past few months has been Texas-rigging Berkley’s Havoc Bottom Hopper and Trick Worms. We are working these on the outside edge of south Toledo’s submerged hydrilla. It is important to work it slow and depth has been 16-25 feet.

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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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