Bragging-sized bass are storming the beaches, as they say, as I write this Toledo Bend piece the last day of March.
What a welcome sight they are, too, after a so-so early spring on the No. 1-rated lake in the nation according to Bassmaster Magazine. Some of those bass might leave the shallows during the post-spawn but — for sure, by all indications of recent sightings of shad moving up — they will turn around in a hurry and be right back to munch on dinner through April and May and stay to feast on the bream that move up in May.
After Bassmaster Elite anglers showcase what this lake’s got in a circuit stop here next weekend, I’m expecting bass fishing to be just as good or better the rest of the month and May. (Editor’s note - see News Breakers for results of this tournament) May definitely will have a spring atmosphere to it, even though it’s considered a post-spawn month (read, “finicky” bass). Because of a warming water trend earlier this year than the past couple of years, successful May fishing tactics will be a lot like they were in April.
To be frank, it’s been a strange year of bassin’ up to this point on the sprawling lake shared by Louisiana and Texas. But we’re getting back to prime time based on the past 36 hours or so because we’re seeing a lot of cruisers — including bass up to 3 pounds — swimming everywhere in the shallows and lots of bucks locked on the beds.
More importantly, more and more 3- to 5-pound females are being caught, according to reports.
Massive “shad balls” were being seen in 15-foot depths outside drains in recent weeks. Those shad are now moving in.
The switch apparently turned on for good this past weekend when the water temperature hit and stayed in the 70s. Some of my buddies and me saw 3s, 5s and 6s on beds like never before this spring. Another wave will move up in April. I’ve seen the May full moon bring up another wave of bass to spawn, which adds to the mix of shad in the shallows and bream on the way to do their thing.
I anticipate the jerkbait bite will be on top of its game by now. Alabama rigs, Carolina-rigged soft plastics, deadsticked Flukes, Senkos, wacky worms and trick worms, plastic frogs and topwaters such as Chug Bugs and Zara Spooks, or whatever you prefer in topwaters, should be the main meal tickets throughout May. (NOTE: The topwater bite should be excellent.) Heck, the buzzbait bite may even take place and the Chatterbait-type bite might return to prominence like it was in early spring. Top colors? Green pumpkin for soft plastics and shad-colored for anything else are effective every year in late spring.
And the morning bite, which so many bass fishermen were missing in late February and through the first three weeks of March, should get better and better and be awesome in May.
To be sure, you ought to be able to go in any direction you want to put bass in the boat in May. This great lake’s postspawn bass will be in 18- to 20-foot depths but getting them to bite can be difficult as they are, as we have found out over the years, wishy washy. The bass bite in the shallows is much more consistent, mainly due to the shad keeping bass in the shalows and more and more bream there, which are like steaks on fins for the bass.
I’m seeing some great looking peppergrass growing in areas, 100- to 200-foot patches. It’s growing, looking good and leafy, just below the surface. When it starts spreading out on the surface, it’ll be Katie-bar-the-door for those who love to fish in and around peppergrass.
I know what I’ll be doing most of the time in May. I’ll be throwing a Stanley Ribbit or a Stanley Top Toads.
Crappie fishing has been good and getting better. Most days the past few weeks, limit upon limit are going into the ice chest at this time as my buddies and others probe brushpiles in 22- to 25-foot depths with shiners.
In May, I expect it to be excellent. The slabs will be like sitting ducks through May, June and July.
For up-to-the-minute information on bass fishing Toledo Bend, I have a website up and running. Go to johndeanjrfishing.com. Hope you enjoy it.
If you want to learn more about fishing for bass in the late spring, come fishing with me. I have been guiding for years on Toledo Bend. Call 936-404-2688.