Delayed December

The normal bass-fishing timetable is out the window at Toledo Bend

Don’t be surprised if many of the Toledo Bend bass caught in December are in water depths of 6 inches to 10 feet, with more coming from the shallower side of that spectrum.

On Christmas Day, we could be catching bass on plastic frogs. Weather patterns leading up to this month appear to have delayed the fall thing.

At this writing, air temperatures ranged from the low 50s in the mornings to the mid-80s in the afternoons, while the average water temperature was 75 to 78 degrees. We need the water temperature to be much cooler than that so bass put on their feedbags and fatten up for the winter.

Taking into consideration the fact that it’s too cotton picking warm right now, I’m going to go out on a limb and predict December bassin’ will be more like November should be — which means the best is yet to come on this great lake.

We’re going to have to make adjustments and keep in mind, first and foremost, that bass don’t have a calendar — they act according to water temperatures — so we have to throw out the calendar this month and fish the fish.

I remember there were 45-degree water temperatures this February going into March, which pushed things back six weeks. It looks like things might be pushed back another six weeks.

I really believe the fall pattern, as good as it can get, is a month behind, which means December is going to be a super month for fishing, if the water temperatures are in the 60s and low 70s.

For the water temperature to get into the 50s, well, I don’t see that any time soon. There would have to be major cold front after cold front come through to drop the temps into that range in December.

So tie on plastic frogs, your favorite shad-colored topwaters, ChatterBaits, chrome/blue or chrome/black jerkbaits, Senkos, Flukes and other artificial lures you normally catch on in shallow water and head for your favorite spots on Toledo Bend.

Housen Bay and Six Mile, including Sandy Creek and the 944 area, were some the first places to give up bass on shallow-water patterns this fall, so those would be prime places to start.

You shouldn’t have to put your trolling motor in water deeper than 10 feet. Baitfish and shad should be up in the grass, and the bass will be right there with them.

There’s no doubt in my mind the bait of choice will be topwaters. Mine is a watermelon red/pearl Stanley Ribbit or Poppin’ Toad. Those just are more effective in heavy presentations.

I’d play with that until the fish tell you they want something else.

Flukes and jerk baits are my close second choice. Sometimes they’ll almost yank the fishing rod out of your hand when they hit the latter.

If we do get a significant weather change that cools the water into the 60s and low 70s, I’m pretty sure there might be less of a morning bite and more of a midday bite because traditionally that’s when they go on a feed.

But stay in those depths less than 10 feet.

Of course, Caroline-rigged soft plastics, drop shot rigs and shad-colored crankbaits will get their share of bass in 12- to 18-foot depths, particularly if the water temperature is in the 70s.

As for crappie, the bite slowed considerably in October and doesn’t show any signs of picking up. Some of the best white perch fishermen were having a hard time getting 20 to 25 fish.

But it was a banner crappie-fishing year — certainly one to write home about.

With luck, come January or February, Old Man Winter will chill this region to the point that crappie start heading into the river channel, which typically happens first around Huxley Bay on the upper part of Toledo Bend.

As much as I hate to say it, I don’t know if we’ll ever see the phenomenal crappie bite again in the Chicken Coop area on the Texas side just north of Toledo Bend. We’d love to experience that this winter, but only time will tell.

For up-to-the-minute information on bass fishing Toledo Bend, I have a new website up and running. Go to Hope you enjoy it..

If you want to learn more about fishing for bass here before winter sets in, or plan ahead for a trip during February through April, come fishing with me. I have been guiding for years on Toledo Bend. Call 936-404-2688.

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About John Dean 99 Articles
John Dean has been guiding on Toledo Bend most of his life. If you’d like to join him on a trip, give him a call at (936) 404-2688.