Fall on the Bend

With hydrilla returning en masse to Toledo Bend, good-sized bass like this one will fall for topwaters more and more as water temperatures fall in October.

One of the best months for bass fishing success is at hand at Toledo Bend.

It’s going to be great. Enjoy.

The lake’s pool has been resting about three feet below pool stage at the end of summer, but that is still a pretty good bit of water for now, especially with this dry summer we have had. I don’t foresee it going significantly lower.

Hydrilla has a huge foothold on this lake and has increased with every drop in the lake level from 171.71 on the first day of May. For example, at that time I reported in this column it could be seen in 8 to 9 foot depths.

Now? It’s a sight to behold at Housen Creek (as it was last year in late summer and fall) where it’s growing in 12 feet and shallower depths and there’s a green carpet shore to shore and all the way to the back end. The deeper ditches are open water, clear of the green stuff. Same thing for Six Mile Creek. A majority of the hydrilla still is on the Texas side.

More cover, too

There’s more vegetation offering prime cover around the lake besides hydrilla, including more and more peppergrass, which is getting to be widespread, plus lily pad fields. Peppergrass and lily pads hold bass, too, and they complement the hydrilla, which is healthy and vibrant in its ever-expanding coverage of Toledo Bend.

The fun thing about October, that long-awaited “fall bite,” it’s an all-day event because of the conditions — grass and cooler weather. Plus, shad and bream, which are at the top of the food chain for bass, become more active, too. So it’s a target rich environment for bass in and around the grass. Other than spring, there’s no time like the fall.

October’s a game-changer, for sure. That’s prime time as bass put the feedbag on and eat, eat, eat. It’s just like the spring bass bonanza except there’s no spawning going on. No doubt, it’s going to be a slugfest because this is the “bass catchingest” time of year, a time when bigger bass are the norm and fill 20- to 25-pound five-fish limits.

Some 10-plus pound bass should hit the digital scales, as well. I’m expecting another good year in the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program count for 2023-24. Two double-digit bass were caught in October 2022, a 10.12 by Michael Fontenot of Ville Platte and a 10.75 by Ben Suit of Port Arthur, Texas, formerly of New Iberia.

They’ll hit anything

The neat thing is bass this time of year can and will hit nearly anything you tie on, particularly topwaters such as buzz baits, plastic frogs and Whopper Plopper-style baits. The most popular colors for moving baits typically are white, chartreuse, bream and shad colored, while red bug, plum, June bug/red and these get the most attention for soft plastics.

Much of the time it’s hard to beat a bladed jig, such as a golden bream-colored Delta Lures Thunder Jig, and they’ll knock the fire out of a swim jig working its way through the hydrilla.

I’ll still have a punchin’ rig on the deck of my Skeeter. Bass will be loaded up in the grass, which I’ll punch and flip into the spring. It’s been my experience that’s the best way to get bit by a big bass. And I’ll continue to do more than my share of froggin’ and throwing moving baits.

I’ve been guiding on this lake most of my life and you’re welcome in my boat. Give me a call at (936) 404-2688.

About John Dean 97 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.