Joslin: Fishing by moonlight beats heat

By By Joe Joslin / American Press

Hello, anglers.

The full-moon phase always impacts how and when the fish feed and usually means a slow early feeding with the bite getting

better by midmorning and late afternoon. In addition, when the water temperature rises into the 80s as it is now, the fish

will feed heavily after dark, especially on Toledo which has lots of clear, deep water.

Numerous area anglers are also aware of this and take advantage of catching quality bass at night and not having to deal with

hot sun and daytime temps in the mid 90s.

When we came off the lake late Friday afternoon the south Toledo boat parking lot was jam packed with some having a night

bass tournament and others just glad to be on the lake and out of the office.

Lake Conditions

The lake is beautiful and packed with

folks enjoying the outdoors. The Texas Sabine River Authority Park at

the dam Friday

afternoon had numerous tents set up all over the hill and sail

boats, pontoons, bass boats and large ski rigs were all utilizing

the open areas near the dam to enjoy various water sports.

The lake level is 170.2 feet as both generators have been running weekdays from 2-7 p.m. but they are shut down for weekends.

Water temps are ranging from 83-87 degrees and north Toledo has some stained areas, midlake is clear on the main lake with

some stained areas in the main creeks while south Toledo is clear-to-very clear.

There is decent submerged grass in some midlake areas with lots of submerged grass on the south end with areas that has hydrilla

as deep as 20 feet.

Fishing reports


We continue to use multiple patterns to catch bass but are spending

about 60 percent of our time in water deeper than 15

feet, and some of that from 20-30 feet. However, we still are

catching some bass on topwater early and late as well on mornings

when the clouds hang around for a couple of hours.

We let the bass say when it is time to change patterns and move from

topwater to Texas, Carolina and drop-shot patterns. When they quit hitting on a certain pattern we start making adjustments

with depth and baits.

Another very important element in fishing this time of the year is to be very color conscious of your soft plastics, especially

when you are fishing clear-to-very clear water conditions.

An on-the-water approach I often use in color selection is when the fish start to slow down hitting a particular color I will

start changing worm colors. Usually I will leave clients on the color we have been catching them on and I will try another

color. If new color gets action then I will move clients to the new color.

If we start early in the morning on

soft plastics, I will normally use a color that is dark and mostly solid

in color and

then as light conditions get brighter I will start to use more

translucent colors, which are colors that allow light through

them. Some of my favorite solid colors include June Bug, green

pumpkin and candy bug while favorite translucent colors include

watermelon, watermelon purple flake, Mardi Gras, red bug and smoke

purple. There are other colors that seem to work both times

such as watermelon candy.

Another thing that I do when using soft plastics is to dye about half-inch of the tail with chartreuse dye that is specifically

made for soft plastics.

There are two ways of doing this with one option being to dip the tail of the soft plastic lure in the a bottle of dye solution.

There is a risk to using this method because sooner or later you will spill some of the instant drying, permanent dye on the boat carpet and then you have a costly carpet replacement situation.

I use the other method, which is to use a marker pen made specifically for dying soft plastics. Both the bottle and pen can

be purchased with a scent attractor, which I like, and usually use garlic scent. Others have shrimp and crawfish scents. Two of these on the market currently are made by Spike It as and Zoom.

Besides adding scent to the worm, the small dyed area when submerged in water looks almost like the tail has a light bulb

in it. I am convinced it helps to get more bites as it makes the worm easier for the bass to find and makes the bait more

enticing. I suppose I am a dyed-in-the-wool dye user.

Other baits catching bass include

middiving and deep-diving crankbaits as well as Baby N’s, which we are

using in schooling

bass. Schooling bass are more numerous and we are catching them on

poppers (Pro Pop, Chug Bug, Yellow Magic) as well as walking

baits such as Zara Spooks.

We are also catching schooling bass on small-to-medium spoons, which allows us to make long casts and then let the spoon fall

through the school.


landowners with deep water under their boat houses and piers are

catching some crappie at night with lights. Fifteen

to 20 feet is the best depth to have, and there are not many of

those but several in the Indian Creek area do have that much

water under their docks.

Most crappie guides are fishing almost exclusively on their baited holes which are mostly in 18-28 feet of water. Live shiners and crappie tube jigs are

all you need to use on baited holes.

Yellow bass are becoming more plentiful and are always next to lots of baitfish that can easily be found on a decent electronic

unit. My unit makes this lots of fun. I usually first locate the bait fish, use a spoon to fish the area and then when we

catch a couple I will throw out a marker buoy.

• • •

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