Joslin: Fish remain hungry despite wind

By By Joe Joslin / American Press

Hello, anglers.

The four-letter word for the past two weeks has been “wind.” Thank God for a strong trolling motor and a big boat. Winds more

than 25 mph are forecast for the first part of the week, with the last of the week looking slightly better. We’ll see how

that works out.

That’s the bad side of the fishing

scene, but on a more positive twist is that the fish are biting and no

matter how bad the

conditions, we continue to catch fish. However, it does take much

effort and adjustments to find fish in a fishable area while

also figuring out what they will hit between all the weather

changes.

If you wanna sleep good at night, fish with me three days straight on a wind-blown monster-sized lake. It is a challenge that

we enjoy (most of the time) and don’t expect to get much sympathy from you guys when we get to fish all week.

On a side note, I have seen some very

interesting things happening in God’s creation such as a red fox bedded

down in a small,

exposed grass patch on the lake side of the dam. I’m not sure if

the fox was trying to ambush some nearby geese or what. Plus,

we also witnessed a bass on a bed in 55-degree water when normally

the water temp gets to 60 before bass move to beds. Ideal

spawning temps are said to be from 65-68 for largemouth bass in

this part of the country.

It is a blast and a huge blessing to be outside during the changing of the seasons.

Lake Conditions

The lake was up slightly during the early portion of the week, but some of that was due to strong north winds for several

days, which will pile the water up on the extreme southern portions of the lake and dam area, which is where the published

levels are taken. The level Monday was 168.89 feet, but strong southern winds will push some of that back north.

Water temps are running 55-59 degrees

with stained conditions on north Toledo, slightly stained at midlake and

clear down

south. There’s plenty of stained conditions in the major feeder

creeks and a strong migration of fish are heading up the creeks

and ditches all over the lake.

Fishing Reports

BASS: Our biggest bass last week, 8.2 pounds, came on a Stanley Vibrashaft hand-painted series spinnerbait with sexy shad colored

skirt. The bass hit last Friday about 8 a.m. in 6 feet of water but close to a very deep drop off.

We have had three or four patterns that

we are using depending on the weather and water conditions and time of

day. When the

winds allowed, we caught bass on weightless or light-weighted soft

plastics, Rat-L-Traps, Stanley spinnerbaits and suspending

jerkbaits. For the most part, we have been fishing less than 12

feet for the past week but oftentimes our boat has been in

much deeper water.

Behind the many cold fronts we still

have been fishing shallow water but have been targeting shallow areas

that are close

to deeper ledges. Also, the more intense the cold front, the

slower we have fished. We have used the jerkbait more preferring

a Smithwick Rouge (suspending model) as well as Rick Clunn’s

series. My jerkbait rig included 10- and 12- pound test Berkley

Trilene 100 percent fluorocarbon, a medium-action 7-foot Veritas

(Abu Garcia) rod and Revo SX baitcast reel.

This set up allows the jerkbait to dive

to 3-5 feet, plus permits long casts and the medium-action rod allows

for plenty of

lure action. Finally, this setup gives plenty of backbone to fight

a big bass and enough flex to give slightly when a big

bass makes a final run close to the boat, which is where a lot of

bass are lost on a jerkbait as we witnessed while watching

the recent Bass Master’s Classic.

Another advantage of jerkbaits is that

they can be fished in windy conditions. Fish the jerkbait slowly. As

mentioned earlier

we are also using Traps and spinnerbaits in lowlight conditions as

well as windy conditions. We are using shad-colored skirts

on the spinnerbaits and our favorite Trap colors are Cherry Bomb

and Toledo Gold in the mornings and chrome-and-blue in bright

conditions. We are using 17-pound test Berkley Trilene

fluorocarbon on spinnerbaits and Traps.

On our weightless soft plastics we are

using Gulp! Sinking Minnow, Kandi Stik and Senkos and are rigging these

three ways:

Texas weightless, wacky and split-shot. If you want to use a

little bit of weight with the Texas weightless or wacky simply

insert a small paneling nail or use a Hook Angel. Google

hookangel.com for that info.

We continue to use a drop-shot, football jig (Stanley Bug Eye) and Carolina rig on the deeper ridges as there are still bass

in water 18-30 feet.

CRAPPIE/WHITE AND YELLOW BASS: The winds have prevented crappie guides from getting on the water with any regularity, but the white perch are moving shallow

and, if weather forecasts are on track, then late this week will become productive again.

Road Runners, 1/16-ounce jigs and live shiners under a cork is the pattern fished in 3-6 feet. Target the mouths of ditches

in drains the back part of creeks for the early crappie that are moving up.

There is another very productive

pattern on the south end of the lake with deep clear water where anglers

are fishing off

deep water docks and deep points with shiners after dark with

crappie lights. Look for water from 20-35 feet and fish suspended

about 14 feet.

White bass are running on the north end of the lake and yellow bass are still being caught in 25-40 feet near creek and river

channels.

• • •

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 joejoslinoutdoors@yahoo.com or visit www.joejoslinoutdoors.com