I’m sure fall isn’t in the air at all when you read this in late August or early September. But “prefall” is just around the corner, which means bass fishing is about to bust loose on Toledo Bend.

It’s kind of funny, but I just came up with this word — prefall. We say prespawn, so why not prefall? Mid-September should be the turning point after some sizzling hot weeks, and several patterns will work consistently in 7- to 9-foot depths. 

I’m sure August will be a sweaty time, just like it is this last week of July. My goodness it’s hot, and the water temperature’s 89-92 degrees by 2 o’clock in the afternoon. The hydrilla bite is what we’re doing now. I go expecting seven to nine bites —but quality bites — from bass 4 to 7 pounds, and it’s those bigger ones that keep me going back. It’ll be the same pattern in September until the region experiences that tell-tale change in weather conditions, when cooler temperatures finally arrive.

Toledo Bend’s pool level this morning was at 170.9. Thankfully, it has dropped about 1 ½ feet in about a three-week period. The grass has responded just like I thought it would — up to the surface in 8- to 9-foot depths, blooming and spreading. The shad are everywhere. I mean thick west to east, and north to south.

So, the lake is in great shape. The grass is in great shape and will be even better in September. Getting out of these extreme water temperatures — just a five-degree difference from now, at least the mid-80s and preferably lower with even more of a drop in the pool level — and the fish should start to come alive.

When that happens, we ought to have some of our best “grass fishing” since spring as far as the topwater bite, including my favorites: plastic frogs like Stanley Ribbits and Top Toads. I can’t wait. 

Like I said, it all hinges on the water temperatures. Doesn’t it always?

Until that time, though, drop the grass with a plum apple, june bug/red or red bug Mag Tube, which I’ve been using, or my favorite summer artificial lures, a june bug/red Zoom Old Monster 10-inch plastic worm. All of my big bites the past few weeks have been on the latter.

Like I said, when we get any kind of cooldown — a time when deer hunters are thinking about the upcoming season and planting, bush-hogging and stuff — that’s when the bass get active in and around the grass beds. First thing I’ll do in the morning is work plastic frogs. Also try Zara Spooks, and even buzzbaits and swim jigs.

I’m definitely looking for good to great bass fishing on the No. 1 lake in America when the water temperatures get near the lower-80s. I also believe more double-digit bass will find their way to certified scales and become the newest members of the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program.

The double-digit factor as far as numbers will be in effect once prefall gets underway. The further we get into the glorious prefall, the more 10-pound-plus bass we’ll see.

Heck, the night fishing for bass has been good this summer, and last week produced a 10.06-pounder. There are more of those hawgs waiting to bite the rest of this year, particularly when it gets cooler. All the bass need to get their feed bag on is for the temperature to go down because the food is there.

Crappie fishing has been fair to good in the dog days of summer with some limits coming in. The white perch are hanging around brushpiles in 22- to 25-foot depths and eating minnows. Fishing for those panfish should get better and better, too, as late summer turns to fall.

Ready to tussle with bass in, around or outside the grass — hay grass, peppergrass and hydrilla in September? Experience techniques and patterns that are working this time of year on a fishing trip with me. I have been guiding for years on Toledo Bend. Call 936-404-2688.