(American Press Archives)
Todd Faircloth took home the $100,000 first-place prize. (Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 10:04 AM
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.joejoslinoutdoors.com