February is prime time to be on Toledo Bend seeking lunker bass.
George Herr’s home is on Toledo Bend, and his favorite retirement occupation is bass fishing. And the 59-year-old angler said he and other anglers in the know will be flipping bushes this month.
“That’s where we want to be at spawn time,” Herr said. “They have good bushes on the Louisiana side all the way from San Miguel to Circle Drive.
“You will see a load of boats that fish that area; we try to stay more in the San Patricio and San Miguel areas.”
Herr recalled a Cabinda Oilman’s tournament where he and a partner caught more than 40 fish in one day.
“We weighed in a 24-pound stringer on the first day of the oilman’s tournament in 2006, when I caught my first 10-pounder on Toledo Bend,” he said. “We were throwing Senkos in the bushes up there, casting at the bases.
“On the second day, the patterns changed, and we ended up with 18 pounds. We won the tournament, and still hold the record for the largest five-fish stringer and the largest bass (in that series).”
Plastics aren’t the only lures that will produce, but they’re a good bet.
“You can also catch them on swimbaits and spinnerbaits, but soft plastics are really the way to go doing this,” Herr said.
During the prespawn, Herr will visit deepwater points and ridges to find staging sows.
And he’ll be chunking and winding crankbaits. His lipless crankbaits of choice is a ¾-ounce XCaliber One Knocker in red crawfish colors.
He will also fish his own homemade football jigs with Strike King Blade Minnow or Tightlines UV Hog trailers, working deeper grass ledges near spawning areas.
As bass begin moving from prespawn into the spawning period, Herr advised anglers to seek spawning flats with plenty of grass where they can sight fish from March through May.
“You want to fish with stealth and get real quiet when you get up near the beds,” he said. “The big females will leave initially, but they’ll be back.
“When doing this, Power-Poles are very important to anchor quietly and firmly to stay near the beds,” Herr said. “If the lake has a slight chop, you could also use Power-Poles to position the boat to provide a sweet, protected spot that gives you more visibility. That’s how James Niggemeyer won a Bassmaster tournament using them here.
Herr said one lure color works best when pitching plastics to bedding bass.
“You want to throw the color white,” he said. “White plastics are visible to the angler so he can see pickups. White Larew Craws do well, as does the old Hale Crawfish if you can find them. Berkley Fighting Bugs that are Texas-rigged do well, also.”