It was 27 degrees when we woke up early Saturday morning at Toledo Bend, and even though the temperature rose to almost 65 that afternoon, the bass bite never warmed up all day.
I was with Ross Landry, of New Iberia, who’s fished in early-spring at the Bend for the better part of 15 years. We tried Lanan Bay first in the mid-lake area around 11 a.m., when water temperatures reached 48 degrees, then trailered his Gravois and headed south to the Indian Mounds on the Texas side that afternoon after lunch.
Slow presentations with spinnerbaits, flukes, Senkos and Rat-L-Traps at both locations were met with the same response: none.
“They just shut down. They get real lethargic and they don’t eat much with the cold,” Landry said. “It looks like that front backed all those spawning fish away from the shallows.”
The front Landry mentioned wasn’t your run-of-the-mill March cold front: when it blew though Toledo Bend last Wednesday evening, temperatures dropped almost 40 degrees, the wind howled and it even snowed Thursday morning - dashing many anglers’ hopes of catching some early spawners on the full moon.
Water temperatures Saturday afternoon peaked at almost 52 degrees in the Indian Mounds, but the shallow bite never materialized as we worked grass lines in 6- to 12-feet of water.
“The water wasn’t that great, but it wasn’t bad enough to not catch fish,” Landry said. “I think that front just had them shut down.
“They were doing really good, too: the water had warmed up last week, the air was warm and we were getting a lot of sunshine. But that was a strong cold front, with lots of wind that turned the water over.”
Landry had caught a nice 4-pound fish Friday afternoon shallow in United Bay on a white-and-chartreuse spinnerbait, and he was hoping Saturday’s sun would warm things up enough to catch a few more fish like that.
“The people who caught fish this weekend were probably fishing a deep jig or a deep-diving crankbait somewhere on the main lake - going after fish that aren’t affected by the higher pressure because they’re already deep fish,” he said. “They don’t even know the weather changes because they’re already so deep.”
But the extended forecast at Toledo Bend, which shows highs in the 60s and 70s and lows in the 50s well into next week, should crank up the shallow bite once more.
“If we can get two warm weeks of weather, it will take off,” he said. “The fish will be attacking baits, as opposed to having to hit them in the nose.
“Next month’s full moon, it’s going to be on.”