Nighttime is the right time at Toledo Bend

Louis Laville of Baton Rouge caught this 4 ½-pound bass in June while fishing with John Dean.

Getting bites during the heat of the day in August could be a challenge for bass anglers at Toledo Bend.

It isn’t an easy time of the year to get that opportunity during daylight hours to slam the hook home on a bass of a lifetime, or good-sized bass to keep or release, whether you’re targeting matted grass beds or deep structure.

However, it should be a different story for those who want to fish after sunset and before sunrise on this lake shared by Louisiana and Texas. More and more bass anglers are catching bass at night, including a 12 ½-pounder in June that was released to fight again.

That was one of three double-digit bass caught in June and weighed at Toledo Town and Tackle. I’m sure there were others weighed on certified scales all along the lake.

And those in the know are picking their nighttime bass off some of the most ideal structure in the world … boat docks and boathouses that are springing up all around the shoreline. That aforementioned big ol’ bass came off one of those man-made structures.

Many of them have sunken brush piles around them, most if not all have lights, and all of them have pilings in the water anchoring them to the bottom. Most are sitting in 5- to 15-foot depths.

I’ve been bass fishing on this lake for 40-plus years, and I have never targeted docks and boathouses like they are doing now at night. I haven’t ever seen as many as I do now, either. They’re everywhere, including some pricey ones.

I’d make a strong effort to hammer on boat docks and boathouses, especially the pile-driven ones in grassy areas. Pick out a string of those and go fish them.

That 12 ½ was caught on a square-bill crankbait, an artificial lure that has been producing well in the overnight hours. A lot of guys are catching on those in shad- and bream-colored models.

Plenty of other artificials are working at night, too. I’d also throw a wacky worm or trick worm. And you can’t go wrong with topwaters, including buzzbaits, spinnerbaits and plastic worms.

Based on the warm water (lower- to middle-90s in the afternoon) and time of year, night fishing prevails.

But not everybody can or wants to fish at night. So they have to contend with the dog days of summer. If that’s the case, get on the water as early as possible and head for the grass. Offer a plastic frog or other topwater, as there’s plenty to throw at.

After that, target matted grass beds, which I hope show soon. At 169.4 feet pool level in late-June, it’s just below the surface in 12- to 14-foot depths and that makes bassin’ a little tougher because the bass have room to roam until the grass comes up and mats. That’s when bass are pushed to the break line, and can be caught on soft plastics and jig-n-pig combinations. I’ll stick with my favorite, a junebug-red Senko, or a trick worm under a pegged 3/16-ounce worm weight, especially if the drop bite isn’t doing well.

Other top soft plastic colors for this time of year are plum apple and red bug.

There are many, many bass on or over deep structure, but there’s no guarantee they’ll bite — particularly if baitfish aren’t around. For those bass, try the drop-shot method and use either a football jig or equally effective Carolina-rigged soft plastic.

There has been no significant schooling bass action despite a lake full of shad. I don’t know why those shad aren’t being pushed to the surface by bass in big numbers. They might be schooling in isolated places, but it isn’t widespread.

Crappie fishing should be good to great, like it has been for a few months. Limits are being caught from brush piles in 22- to 25-foot depths on minnows, mostly, and black/chartreuse or pink/white tube jigs and Roadrunners.

If you want to catch bass in August, I’ve been guiding on this lake most of my life and you’re more than welcome in my boat. Give me a call at (936) 404-2688.

About John Dean 82 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.

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