Hello anglers and outdoor addicts. The rains/cloud cover kept part of the bass population shallow and active. With water temperatures warmer than normal there were numerous ski rigs and pleasure boats on the water Easter weekend along with a good number of anglers. Early this week we had to dodge storms in order to get in some fishing but fishing was over-all good, especially in depths less than 12 feet. We actually had periods of some fast action which had been missing the past several weeks.
LAKE CONDITIONS: The lake level is 170.1’ with water temps on main lake around 66-68 and in protected coves 69-72. North Toledo is stained, mid lake is slightly stained to clear and south Toledo is clear with some slightly stained conditions in back half of feeder creeks. Submerged grass might be growing slightly but not as much as I thought it would.
BASS REPORT: We continue to mix both shallow and deep patterns, depending on conditions. Top water is improving along with shallow to mid diving crankbaits. We are catching some fish on Berkley’s square bill crankbait (Pit Bull) in spring craw. In addition, the slight rise in the lake has helped the spinnerbait bite as it moved more water over grass so it made it possible to have more area to work the spinnerbait. I’m using a ¼ oz. Stanley Vibra Wedge in LSU (Royal Purple) and running it pretty fast over the grass using 20 lb. test Big Game with a 7.1:1 MGX Revo and medium action 7’2”Fenwick Elite bait cast rod.
My favorite conditions to fish a spinnerbait over grass is a very cloudy day, even a light rain works great and my presentation with water temps in upper 60s/70s is to “wake” it so you see every strike. If bass are on this pattern you can catch a lot of quality bass in a short amount of time. You must have a high speed reel.
Our other main patterns the past week included wacky rigs, Texas rigs, drop shot and also a light Carolina rig fished shallow and slow. Our wacky rigs are mostly Bottom Hoppers and Senkos using both spinning tackle and a baitcast using 10 and 12 lb. test fluorocarbon. I do not use 12 lb. test on spinning rig due to memory issues on the spinning reel. I often drop down to 8 lb. fluorocarbon test on spinning rigs when conditions get tough. Our go- to Texas rig has been a 3/0 off set Berkley Fusion hook, 17 lb test Trilene 100% fluorocarbon and medium heavy fast tip 7’ rod.
Our main soft plastic for weeks has been a Berkley Havoc Bottom Hopper and we are not going to change now as we have caught so many quality bass using this straight tail, 6.25 inch soft plastic. We are also using it for drop shot and it is also working on a split shot rig. Guide secret: Sometimes when fishing gets tough I pick up my spinning rig with 10 lb. test line and tie on a Bottom Hopper with a small split shot about a foot above the hook. I fish this very slowly with lots of long pauses…as long as 15-20 seconds. If bass won’t hit that (with a very slow presentation) they just about won’t hit anything. Currently, I fish it in 4 to 12 feet.
CRAPPIE: Crappie guide, Jack Adams, says the crappie have slowed some but he is catching 30-40 daily using live shiners fished vertically. Adams uses a very small Aberdeen hooks. His brush piles are in depths from 16 to 26 feet.
Joe Joslin is a syndicated writer and is published by numerous websites, newspapers and magazines plus is a pro guide on Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn and a TPWD licensed guide since 1998. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org, 337-463-3848/409-565-1288 and website www.joejoslinoutdoors.com.