Joslin: More outdoorsmen sticking with fishing

By By Joe Joslin / American Press

Hello, anglers.

This is no doubt my favorite season of the year to fish as water and air temperatures cool down. The fish are hungry and the

lake is not overcrowded. However, there may be a slight increase in fishermen from what is the norm for late September and

early October.

I have some theories as to why that might be happening, but nothing scientific.

One possibility is the difficulty of hunters finding good hunting

leases that are affordable for the average sportsman. The cost of

hunting leases have gone through the roof the past 10

years and I know those who have not renewed their leases. I feel

some of these may have increased the days they spend on the

lake instead hunting.

Not only is freshwater fishing

excellent in the fall, but area saltwater inlands like Big Lake and

Sabine Lake produce outstanding


Whatever your outdoor passion, October is about as good as it gets.

Lake Conditions

Due to recent rains, the lake is up slightly (3-4 inches) to 167.6 feet with both generators shut down early this week, but

they have generated a couple of hours on select days.

Water temps continue to fall and early this week stood at 77-78 degrees. The Bend is in good shape with stained water conditions

up north, midlake mostly clear and south Toledo is clear.

Rising water has covered some of the grass, but there are still huge amounts of exposed hydrilla and pepper grass.

Fishing reports


No doubt that cooler weather and dropping water temperatures have

triggered more active feeding from the bass population

on my favorite fishing hole. The spinnerbait pattern is one

pattern that has definitely been improving with slightly higher

water levels and lower water temperatures.

The slight increase in water levels

give the bass additional openings and areas in the grass where they can

feed and still

be in cover where they feel more secure. These conditions also

have a tendency to move more baitfish into the edge of vegetation.

A spinnerbait is ideal for fishing this habitat because it can be

worked over the top of grass as well as through the grass

without getting fouled.

For this situation, my choice is

Stanley’s Vibrashaft with double willowleaf blades. Willowleaf blades

seem to come through

the grass better than Colorado or Indiana blades. I am also using

their hand-painted versions of this bait with my two favorites

being Royal Shad (LSU) No. 321 and chartreuse, blue and white No.

323. This series also has extra long skirts. We are working

this bait several ways depending on how the bass react, but for

the most part we are running it pretty fast.

Another productive pattern is flipping the outside edge of the grass with jigs and soft plastics with medium and large worms

the best for quality bass.

Fellow angler George Jeane Jr. of Evans

was able to cull some of his tournament bass by flipping this past

weekend in Fort

Polk’s Fall Bassmaster Classic. The Fort Polk Bassmasters Club

sponsors a spring and fall classic and is a quality event that

is fished by numerous area anglers.

Jeane finished fourth with between 17 and 18 pounds. Winning weight was in the 23- to 24-pound neighborhood. We were not able

to find out the winning pattern.

The weightless soft plastic is also on

the increase as more bass move shallow. Berkley’s Havoc Grass Pig (5

inch), Berkley

Jerk Shad, Senko and Fluke are all great soft plastics to rig

Texas weightless and crawl through the grass. In addition, a

wacky rig is also becoming more successful by working it on the

outside edge of the grass in 10-16 feet. Havoc Bottom Hoppers

and Senkos are excellent wacky worm choices. I suggest from 8- to

12-pound test Berkley Trilene 100 percent fluorocarbon to

work the wacky while a second choice is Big Game 10- and 12-pound


Topwater patterns and small-to-medium crankbaits are another worthy pattern to use. Topwater patterns at first and last light

using Pop R, Chug Bug, Pro Pop and Yellow Magic on grassy points are catching bass. Crankbaits on windy, grassy points are

scoring with Baby Ns and Deep Little Ns.

Stay ready for schooling activity, especially in the back of large creeks and halfway back in major coves. Look for baitfish

as you must have plenty of shad to find good populations of bass.

CRAPPIE/YELLOW BASS: We haven’t heard of a lot of crappie or white perch activity even from crappie guides. However, we have heard of several crappie caught at night off some of the deep piers in south Toledo.

These are lighted, baited docks and are in 18-22 feet. Small live shiners have been the best bait. However, crappie should

start showing up in mass in baited brush piles everywhere as cooler water temps settle in.

Yellow bass have been in good numbers most of the summer and continue to be along creeks and anywhere there is plenty of shad

and deep water. Spoons, tailspinners and medium crank baits are good choices for yellows.

• • •

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