Fish offshore ledges for Toledo Bend’s July bass

Both these chunky largemouth fell for deep-diving crankbaits around deep ledges on Toledo Bend.

Bass pro Brett Preuett of Monroe fishes so many different lakes in Louisiana and around the country that he sometimes needs a calendar to remember where he’s headed next. But one thing he doesn’t need help remembering is how to catch bunches of bass when he gets home.

“When the water heats up and the biggest bunches of fish head offshore, there’s no better place to be anywhere than on Toledo Bend,” he said. “I love fishing 15 to 25 feet deep through the summer. We find fish north to south on the deeper ridges and humps out in the main lake. They navigate those ridges out from the main coves and set up where it isn’t very far to their next meal.”

Finding offshore fish in a 90,000-acre lake isn’t an easy task, but when you find them, you can catch them in bunches. Preuett said when you first get on that pattern, you may spend more time riding and looking at electronics than fishing.

Brett Preuett said a Strike King 10XD crankbait is made to order for deep Toledo Bend bass.

“You’ll spot fish setting up in two different ways,” he said. “The ones that are easiest to catch are the ones setting up right along the drops on the ledges and humps. They’ll look like little dots on your screen, and they will usually be lined up right on the bottom or a couple of feet off the bottom.”

What to use

When he finds those fish, Preuett always starts out with a deep-diving crankbait. One of his favorites is the Strike King 10XD that runs 18 to 25 feet deep. He likes shad or natural colors when it’s sunny and will go to chartreuse/black if it gets cloudy. He also likes to swap out the stock hooks and replace them with 1/0 or 2/0 trebles. The real key, however, is putting the bait right where the fish want it.

“I normally start casting the bait deep and drag it toward the shallower spot,” he said. Sometimes, I’ll try it from the left to the right or the right to the left of the fish. The thing is, there is always a sweet spot that really get the fish going. I switch angles and directions of my presentations until I find that angle. Once you catch one and get the school fired up, you might catch 8 or 10 from one spot.”

For deep cranking, Preuett loves the new 7-foot-6 Shimano Zodiac composite rod. He said it is extremely sensitive but really loads the fish up when they eat the bait, and he hardly ever loses a fish with that setup.

The second scenario he sees on his graph is that fish also often set up suspended over cover on the bottom or over dropoffs. Those fish are not actively feeding and are often just roaming, making it harder to catch them.

Fishing the grass is always good at Toledo Bend, but after two years of low water, the deeper grass isn’t there like it was. When it comes back, that will help produce more big fish, he said.

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Kinny Haddox
About Kinny Haddox 350 Articles
Kinny Haddox has been writing magazine and newspaper articles about the outdoors in Louisiana for 45 years. He publishes a daily website, and is a member of the Louisiana Chapter of the Outdoor Legends Hall of Fame. He and his wife, DiAnne, live in West Monroe.

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