Put bass in the boat on Toledo Bend

Mike Randolf of Zwolle grips the lip of a 4-pound class bass that smashed a Whopper Plopper in Housen during a Dirty Dozen bass club tournament at Toledo Bend.

Vertical jigging might be regarded as boring to some, but right now it’s the bomb, as they say.

Traditionally on Toledo Bend, when the water drops and the temperature rises to the triple-digit mark and bunches up the baitfish, namely shad, up-and-down fishing with a jigging spoon is hard to beat. But there’s something else to keep in mind that does a great job of putting bass in the boat in September.

Try vertically jigging an A-Rig. Yes. That’s right. Don’t cast it a country mile. You don’t have to wear yourself out casting. Just punch the button and let your multiple shad-colored soft plastics drop.

Where? Target drains, channels and wood offshore in 10-12 or 20-25 foot depths, depending on where the baitfish are roaming at the time. That means you need to rely on marine electronics to find bunches of shad, what we commonly call the “baitballs”.

Don’t get me wrong. There are other good choices. The ½-ounce chrome Cotton Cordell’s C.C. Jigging Spoons will produce bass like they have for generations of anglers on this lake. And so will ½-ounce chrome/blue Bill Lewis Lures Rat-L-Traps and shad-colored square bill crankbaits that dive 15-20 feet deep.

Another way, too

There’s another way to catch bass on this lake at this time of year, but before we get into that, this is a good time how the table’s being set on this border lake shared by Louisiana and Texas. The lake’s pool level has been dropping, more than a foot or more lower than it was when I wrote this column.

I have a feeling it’s going to go much lower before the end of August, probably near 165 based on past history. There’ll be a lot of standing timber showing and some wood just under the surface, so boaters must be extra careful running the lake.

On a positive note, the last time there was a severe drought, when the water dropped into the 150s, haygrass grew like never before, literally. From the tackle shops to the coffee tables in the morning, anglers agree they’re looking forward to more of the same.

As it is, we’re seeing hydrilla in more places in 7-10 foot depths, so there’s hope for the future after so many frustrating years inexplicably without it. More grass means more bass.

Point the bow deep

As for September, there’ll be some topwater and other shallow water fishing in the first or last two hours of the day. Other than that, many anglers point the bow of their boat to deeper water.

The bigger percentage of bites will be deep with vertical jigging and casting Traps and crankbaits. But soft plastics will come into play with the water so low, like they did for me so many years concentrating on the lip of the channel in San Miguel Creek.

The old shorelines are easily recognizable by the old, big stumps and timber that help mark the creek channel. Some of my best days on the lake happened when I fished those lips with Zoom Old Monster plastic worms in June Bug, June Bug/Red, Red Bug or Plum Apple, as well as shallow-diving crankbaits.

Have a good September of bass fishing on the lake and get ready for some good bassin’ in October. The cooler it gets, the better.

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

About John Dean 80 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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