Fall is in the air and all of God’s outdoor creations seems to sense it as well. The bald eagles were very active last week, as were squirrels, rabbits, deer, foxes and most all other four-legged creatures that call Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana home.
It even affected two-legged creatures as well as most of us had a little spring in our step as we went about daily activities. We did have a warming trend over the weekend, but trended cooler early this week.
The lake remains in good shape and early this week was at 167.5 feet with minimal generating at the dam.
Water temperatures are running from 77-79 degrees with water conditions all over pretty good.
There seems to be more aquatic vegetation this year than the past 8-10 years, and for me and many anglers, that is a good thing. A lot of it is hydrilla and pepper grass, both of which attract fish. The grass also seems to be in more areas around the midlake area than in recent years. We have had consistent submerged grass down south for many years but 60-70 percent of the upper part of the lake has had very little, other than some shoreline grass. This could be looking a little better.
BASS: For the most part, the bass action has been about the grass as well as creeks and major ditches. Bass are relating to grass in more significant numbers and migrating up feeder creeks and major ditches.
There is some decent schooling activity a day or two before cool fronts and some of the best places to scout for schoolies are in the back half of major creeks and ditches.
From 8-9 a.m. has been when some of these schools have been active. I like a topwater popper, small crankbait and medium-sized jigging spoon to work in schools. If they will not hit these, try a weightless jerk shad, fluke or senko.
Stanley’s Compact spinnerbaits worked over and through the outside edges of grass beds continue to catch bass, especially the first hour in the morning.
If they will not hit a topwater or spinnerbait, I either go to a weightless soft plastic or move out to the outside edge of the grass and work a Texas-rigged Havoc Bottom Hopper or Trick Worm in 12-20 feet. Drop-shot and spoons are also catching some of the deeper bass.
We are having decent success with drop-shot patterns using slightly bigger plastic worms instead of the 4- to 5-inch versions. We have been using the Bottom Hopper (6.25 inches) and Trick Worm (7 inches). We still go back to the smaller worms if the bass are not aggressive, but the larger versions do work at times.
For larger bass, crankbaits are hard to beat, especially bass in the 2- to 4-pound range, and October is a good time as many bass are suspended on drop-offs and on deep ridges and humps.
Deep cranking a deep-diving crankbait can be a lot of work, but there are tools that sure take away a lot of the effort. There are several baitcasting reels made for deep cranking such as Abu Garcia’s Revo Winch with its 5.4 :1 gear ratio. The Toro Winch has a 4.6 :1 ratio. I have used these reels for 4-5 years and will not throw a big crankbait without one. I spool it with 10- or 12-pound test Berkley Trilene 100 percent fluorocarbon and put it on a 7-foot-6 Veritas medium-action rod. I can throw this rig a country mile (easily 100 feet), which allows the DD22 to dig deep and stay in the fish zone a long time.
CRAPPIE/YELLOW BASS: Crappie fishing is fair (maybe) by the reports that I have received, which have been hard to come by. Holly Park Resort reports a few crappie being caught mostly in planted brush near the river or Patroon’s Creek. Live shiners in 20-28 feet have been the normal pattern with a few deeper in 30-35 feet.
Yellow bass are holding along the main creeks and can be caught in 25-40 feet with spoons and tailspinners. They can also be caught underneath schooling largemouth.
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