Joslin: Tournament lures away boat traffic

By By Joe Joslin / American Press

Hello, anglers.

Sam Rayburn’s McDonald’s Big Bass Splash last weekend took some pressure off my favorite fishing hole. It was a week with

the lightest boating pressure on south Toledo since early February. I saw maybe 6-8 boats each day and we had major areas

to ourselves.

Spring is in the air on the Bend and God’s creation is alive and well. Everything is in twos with turtles, ducks, geese, eagles

and osprey all paired up and doves are singing their love songs almost constantly.

Speaking of doves, have you ever noticed a dove’s nest? It is so thin that you can almost see through it and you wonder how

it holds the eggs much less the baby doves. I guess doves are like some people I know with housekeeping not high on their

to-do list. But obviously their nest engineering works because there is no shortage of doves.

Lake conditions

Toledo’s level is 170.3 feet with both generators shut down. Water temperatures have remained fairly constant (63-68 degrees)

with warm days and cold nights but will show an upward trend this week with warmer temps predicted for the area.

The lake is in great shape with north Toledo stained from the last rains, midlake is clear to slightly stained and south Toledo

is clear to very clear. Submerged grasses are really growing on the southern half of the lake, including both hydrilla as

well as pepper grass.

Fishing reports

BASS: We had another great week on the lake catching a lot of bass with some 4- to 6-pounders. I have had excellent luck this spring

landing big bass, but that was not the case last week as we lost a massive bass.

Unlike the 10.1 I caught three weeks

ago, this big female hit close to the boat and the light line (8-pound

test) just had

more than it could handle. I was (frantically) trying to manually

feed out more line from the spool to get more distance between

the fish and my rod tip, but she just took off like a big torpedo.

How big was the bass? Those you lose you can say whatever you please. However, I did see one side of her and just feeling

her brute strength she was for sure a trophy fish. Sure wished I had her in a photo for show and tell instead of just tell

for as they say “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

I was fishing a ridge between Buck Creek and Texas Islands and the fish hit last at 8 a.m. Wednesday in 6-8 feet of water

with winds out of the south about 15 mph.

Stanley’s Vibra Wedge double willow

bladed spinnerbait remains on one of my reels and I always keep a spare

on board for clients

in case conditions change to where the lake is just screaming

“throw a spinnerbait” as it did at 1 p.m. Thursday, which was

a couple of hours prior to the front hitting south Toledo Bend.

We caught all of our bass the last two

hours that day on Stanley spinnerbaits working windy, grassy points and

banks. The

spinnerbait produced 10-12 nice fish in those two hours with

clients catching three bass on the last four casts as the storm

moved in and we headed to the boat launch throttle down on the


We also continue to have success on light-weighted and weightless soft plastics and it doesn’t seem to matter too much what

bait as long as you work it slow. However, our favorite light weighted Texas rig is a Berkley 6.25-inch Bottom Hopper plus

a Trick Worm. We are rigging these on a 3/0 wide gap XPoint hook as well as a 3/0 Daiichi Off-Set hook and fishing them on

15- and 17-pound test Berkley Trilene 100 percent fluorocarbon line.

For the most part we are using these to

target post-spawn bass on primary and secondary points as well as on

humps and ridges.

We are also using a Carolina rig with medium-to-light weights and

are working Havoc Rocket Craws, Power Lizards and Stanley

Y-Nots on points and ridges during windy and bright conditions.

In low-light conditions with minimal winds we continue to have success with a wacky rig using Bottom Hoppers and Senkos. We

insert a small nail in the Bottom Hopper and fish Senkos weightless. Topwater patterns are working with early morning and

late afternoons the best times with Norman’s Pro Pop, Chug Bug and Yellow Magic our top choices.

Frog patterns are here to stay for months with Stanley’s new Top Toad worth your attention. Solid frog bites are coming from

brown hay grass on the shoreline as well as the new pepper grass. On the deeper area we are throwing more deep divers and

a few football jigs and drop shot.

CRAPPIE/YELLOW AND WHITE BASS: We are starting to catch white bass on spinnerbaits and crankbaits but have not been working the yellow bass but hear they

still are on 30-foot points and just off the edge of creeks and are hitting jigging spoons.

Crappie are being caught off deep piers and under bridges at night on live shiners. In addition they are holding on the outside

edge of deep grass in 12-16 feet and will hit a jig strolled slowly over the grass. More and more crappie are also finding

they way to deeper, man-made brush piles in 20-8 feet.

• • •

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