Joslin: Tharp wins FLW on Red River

By By Joe Joslin / American Press

Hello, anglers.

Louisiana was once again the site of a major fishing event as the FLW Championship, the Forrest Wood Cup tournament, was fished

over the weekend on the Red River in Shreveport.

The FLW season-ending tournament featured 46 top pros who each qualified through regular FLW Tour events. Randall Tharp, of

Port St. Joe, Fla., brought in a five-bass limit of 14 pounds on the final day of the four-day event giving him the title.

His total was 20 bass weighing 53 pounds, 2 ounces, which was a 4-pound margin over defending tournament champion Jacob Wheeler

of Indianapolis. Tharp won a smooth $500,000 while Wheeler took home $75,000 for his 20 bass weighing 49-2.

The Red River Shreveport/Bossier officials are doing a super job attracting major fishing events to our state and local and

area fishing fans are well known for showing up and supporting these events.

Lake conditions

The lake level rose slightly early this week as Tuesday the Sabine River Authority generating schedule had both units shut

down, which is the first weekday in 2-3 months when there was no generating.

The lake level was 167.97 feet mean sea level.

Water temperatures fell slightly with

the early cool front dropping nighttime temps into the mid-to-upper 60s,

but we are

in a slight warming trend. However, long-term weather forecasts

indicate a continuing of moderate temperatures and even a

return to upper 60s for overnight lows midweek next week. Water

temperatures reflect this as surface temps are down to 84-87

degrees, which shows a retreat of a couple of degrees.

I’m not the only one who likes this trend as the fish seem to as well. We caught a lot of bass last week.

Fishing reports

BASS: We’re not doing a whole lot differently than we have the past several weeks but the bass have simply been more active as the

slight drop in water temps seem to be in their liking.

This past week we used topwater, Texas

rigs, crankbaits and drop-shot rigs. Topwater patterns have been used at

dawn as well

as in schooling bass with both poppers and walking-type topwater

lures working. On still mornings we often use poppers while

on breezy mornings I tend to use those lures when I can walk the

dog such as a Frenzy Walker (Berkley discontinued) and Zara

Spook as these make it easier for the bass to find in the wave


Crankbaits are getting slightly more productive with lots of suspended bass feeding on shad especially close to the river

channel as well as on main feeder creeks.

I am finding a lot of bait in the back

of creeks where they usually don’t show up till September. The bait have

been there

for a couple of weeks and bass are starting to migrate. I am

really enjoying using Norman’s new NXS in these situations as

the bait dives (12-pound fluorocarbon) about 14-16 feet and the

smaller profile of the NXS seems to be in the bass’ liking.

I am using mostly shad patterns, including the new Tropical Shad which favors the standard blue and chartreuse, in case you

look for it. Other good colors for us have been Gizzard Shad, which is a light tan shad combo plus Chartreuse Shad, which

resembles the sexy shad in the DD22 colors.

The finish and scale patterns are top shelf. I continue to have a DD22 tied on to work the deeper points, creek bends, deep

humps and ridges. As normal, we are catching many of our crankbait fish on the break or ledge where it drops off.

Our Texas rig patterns range from 12-28

feet with most done in the 16- to 24-foot depths. The shallow 12- to

16-foot patterns

are normally early and late and on days with heavy clouds. The

brighter the conditions the deeper we normally fish, which

means we fish deeper on calm days than we do on days with some

wind. Wind definitely is a friend on bright, sunny days both

for comfort as well as fishing conditions.

We are using more of a variety of soft plastics the past week or so and this trend will continue as we move into fall patterns.

We are using Bottom Hopper, Trick Worms, Havoc Rocket Craw, and Berkley Power Worms in 7 and 10 inches. Most colors are in

the watermelon and green pumpkin family.

Our last patterns are drop-shot and

jigging spoons. We are using drop-shot patterns in depths of 16-30 feet

with 18-24 getting

a lot of attention with some of our go-to drop-shot plastics,

including Havoc Bottom Hoppers, B.H. Jrs, and Trick Worms with

watermelon colors all working.

The favorite Bottom Hopper colors are shady watermleon candy and watermelon with watermelon purple good in Trick Worms.

The spoon is getting more time as schooling bass are more numerous and I like the spoon because it catches fish and you can

throw it a mile. I use 12-pound test Big Game green mono on a Revo SX Spinning reel with 7-foot medium-action Veritas (Abu

Garcia) rod and I can throw it 50-60 yards allowing me to reach those far away schools.

It’s gonna be a fun fall. We’re wishing you good fishing.

CRAPPIE/YELLOW BASS: About the only crappie reports we are getting these days are those with man-made brush piles. The fish are in 22-28 feet with

live shiners fished over brush the best pattern.

There have been reports a week or so

ago of some crappie coming from under bridges at first light but then

the yellow bass

move in and action switches to yellow bass. The yellow bass action

has improved, with one tip to locate some schooling activity

of largemouth and fish under them with spoons and tailspinners

such as Knock-off (Norman Lures) and Little George (Mann’s

Lures). It works.

• • •

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