The big news, if you haven’t heard, is the BassMaster’s Elite series will be held on Toledo Bend May 12th – 15th. If you’ve never been to an Elite series tournament, you are in for a real treat. You can bet some big stringers will be brought to the scales.
The rains just keep coming. Going into May the lake is a half foot over high pool with six gates open 4’ and three gates open 3’ with a lot of water still coming into the lake.
The Black Bass have been moving out of the spawning flats heading towards their summer haunts and into deeper water. Early morning and late evening we’ll work the shallow flats close to deep water and main and secondary points with buzz baits, stick baits, swimming frogs, spinner baits, top water plugs, shallow diving cranks, finesse and soft plastics until the sun gets over head. Once the sun gets overhead and the shallow bite slows down, we'll back out to deeper water and concentrate in the bends of the creeks with crank baits and Texas or Carolina rigged soft plastics. Later in the month as the water continues warming and the lake is usually falling, the main lake points, river channel ledges, ridges and humps will become more productive. If you can find the structure and cover holding bait -fish you will usually find the bass. Schooling activity will start increasing as the water continues warming so keep a shallow diving crank bait, lipless crank bait and top water plug handy for schooling bass.
The Bream are moving onto the beds and plenty of fun can be had when you locate a bed; not to mention, “Good Eats”
The simplest way to locate the beds is to look for honey cone circles along the bank. The beds will extend out from the shore- line in a semi circle. Some say they can locate a bed by the strong “fishy” odor emitted from the bed. Usually, if you find one bed there will be more beds relatively close. However, some bream will bed up in deeper water as much as 10ft. Dragging a small beetle spin on the bottom will help you locate the deeper beds.
An ultra lite spinning rig, jigging pole, fly rod or just a bamboo pole you can cut off the side of the road can be used to catch these feisty fish. You can use a clip on cork, slip cork, or straight line casting a small insect type lure (beetle spin, in- line spinner or small jigs) but the most popular baits are live baits - crickets, or worms (red wigglers, catalpa, or meal worms).
When you start fishing the bed, target the outside edges of the bed first and work inward. If you pick off the shallow fish first the hooked bream will run through the bed scattering the other fish. If your catch starts slowing up, move onto another bed and let that one rest. The bream will move back onto the bed if not disturbed.
The White bass have moved out of the river proper back into the main lake and are holding on the main lake river channel sand bars in 14 to 21ft. of water. ½ to 3/4oz slab spoons working best. As the water warms look for more top water schooling activity; keep a Rat-L-Trap handy.
The Crappie are moving back into deeper water. Early in the month, work the deep creeks focusing on the points and the bends. Also work shiners and jigs over cover in 15 to 25ft of water at the mouth of the creeks and pockets leading to the main lake. Now is the time to drop your brush tops in deep water.