Joslin: Faircloth wins Elite Series event

By By Joe Joslin / American Press

Hello, anglers.

Some of the best bass anglers in the

world were in our back yard last week. The opening event of B.A.S.S.

Elite Series was

fished on the Sabine and Calcasieu Rivers and all areas in between

with some anglers even extending their travels beyond that.

B.A.S.S. tournament officials allowed anglers a lot of freedom when it came to areas that were off limits as one competitor

logged nearly 1,200 miles in his boat.

Texan wins!

After all of the bass were weighed from four days of fishing, nearby Jasper, Texas, Todd Faircloth came from behind the last day to win with 49 pounds 6 ounces, taking home the $100,000 first-place prize. It was Faircloth’s

fourth B.A.S.S. Elite victory.

I have been in the boat with this pro

angler and there’s not a nicer guy on the tour than Faircloth. He’s a

great family man,

low-keyed, soft spoken, but a tough competitor and stays focused.

He loves to fish swimbaits in clear water which makes him

a strong threat on Falcon.

Given the fact that this recent win

gave Faircloth an automatic berth in the next Bassmaster’s Classic, he

said this allowed

him a freedom that he had not ever experienced this early in the

season. Translated, that could mean he may not have to fish

so conservatively and might try some potentially risky patterns which may pay off with larger bass.

Area Louisiana competitors Dennis Tietje and Greg Hackney did well and cashed checks. Hackney finished 45th (the top 50 got

paid) and Tietje finished a strong 12th. The entire field of 100 elite anglers will head to Falcon Lake, which is located

in the extreme southwest portion of Texas and is known for lots of huge bass.

If conditions are right next week on Falcon, 100 pounds for four days of fishing is possible as has been proven during past

events. Falcon is a relatively small body of water compared to what the guys just fished here on the Calcasieu and Sabine

rivers, so their fuel expenses should come way down this week.

Lake Conditions

The lake level early this week was

169.18 feet with both generators shut down. Water temperatures have

warmed and are running

from 58-63 degrees and the lake is in great shape with north

Toledo stained, midlake clear-to-slightly stained with remaining

clear-to-very clear. All feeder creeks have stained water

conditions in the upper portions.

There are multiple boat lane buoys still missing but hopefully these will get replaced by Easter. Those missing buoys can

really make it tough on anglers and boaters who are not familiar with the lake.

Fishing report

BASS: Bass fishing was really good last week with more and more bass finding their way to shallow water.

Most all patterns and lures are

catching a few fish, even topwater baits. Some days the fish were more

active than others,

and for those active times a Stanley double willow spinnerbait

with a shad pattern skirt along with a half ounce Rat-L-Trap

would get it done. When they decided they didn’t want those we

slowed way down to work weightless or lightly weighted soft plastics over submerged hydrilla in 1- to 15-foot depths.

Our weightless offerings have included Berkley Gulp! Sinking Minnow, Senkos and Power Lizards. We are also using Berkley Havoc

Bottom Hoppers and Bass Kandi’s Kandi Stiks rigged wacky and working all of these over grass.

Our wacky rigs include 8- and 10-pound

test Berkley Trilene 100 percent fluorocarbon and Big Game monofilament

and mostly

fished on a spinning rig (Revo SX Spinning reel/7-foot Veritas

medium-action rod). If the bass are in somewhat heavier cover

I will use 10-pound test fluorocarbon on a Revo baitcast rig as

this gives me a good bit of power as the 10 fluorocarbon is

really strong and durable.

Also, the sensitivity the Trilene

fluorocarbon has will spoil you making it hard to go back to

monofiliment lines when using

soft plastics. I still use mono on topwater baits and some

spinnerbaits but now mostly use fluorocarbon on everything else.

On my regular Texas and Carolina rigs I use 17-pound fluorocarbon. Toledo is on!

CRAPPIE: The crappie are being caught shallow with anglers using live shiners fished 2-3 feet undaer a cork.

Others are strolling jigs on the outside edge of the grass in south Toledo in 8-15 feet with 12 feet seems to be the best

depths. Road Runners are also catching them.

• • •

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