Find these and you’ll find plenty of bass this month
April showers did more than bring May flowers. They raised the water in Toledo Bend, providing more cover for bass as the spawn headed into its final stages after the full moon in April.
The lake level has risen steadily since the weekend before Easter, especially after the upper end of the Sabine River system was drenched by that twister-producing storm on April 25, the one that smashed its way from St. Augustine, Texas, across the lake, through Converse and on to Ruston, causing fatalities there.
The water rose about one inch a day the last week of April. I’m of the opinion that we will have high-water conditions in presummer. It’ll happen if more storm systems make their way through the region before Memorial Day.
My friend, Dusty Angers, a guide and retired firefighter from Alexandria, said he caught three bass at the base of cypress trees on the southern end of the lake the last week of April.
The unseasonably higher water can be good or bad, depending on how you look at it. Me? I look at it as topwater time coming. I don’t mind higher water, because fish follow the water whether it’s coming in or going out. And with higher water, more structure, including underwater vegetation, has water over it, which is perfect for running topwaters across and most of the time, for me, that’ll be either a plastic frog or a buzz bait.
Keep one of those topwaters tied on, because they will get bit.
Bedding bream will attract bass en masse
I’m waiting for the bream to move up, which hasn’t happened around this part of the lake as far as any of us know. Of course, some bream-bedding action, which brings the bass en masse, could be taking place on the extreme upper end of the lake.
Bream are the last species to make a move to the shallows and spawn. Angers hasn’t seen any evidence — any tell-tale signs — that panfish are making the transition, and neither have I. The water just needs to warm up above the middle and upper 60s. I’m sure it’ll happen in May and into June.
As for bass, the spawn is 85- to 90-percent finished. June will be postspawn, and summer will be knocking on June’s door, with daytime highs consistently in the middle to upper 80s. The warmer the water, the more it enhances the topwater bite with plastic frogs — including Stanley Ribbits, Stanley Top Toads and the Spro Bronzeye Baby Popper Frog — buzzbaits, including smaller profile, 1/8-ounce models that I’ve been using lately, Chug Bugs, Spittin’ Images and Yellow Magics.
Fish these on deeper points
Of course, I can always get out ol’ faithful, the Carolina rig, and drag the deeper points, ridges and dropoffs, to catch bass. I’ll put a Zoom Super Fluke on that C-rig.
Another top choice if anglers intend to target bass in deeper water is a shad-colored or chrome/blue crank bait.
And no matter where I am on Toledo Bend in June, when schooling bass action usually gets under way as the shad move out over drains in 18- to 25-foot depths and bass follow and push them to the surface, I’ll have at least one of these tied on: Tiny Torpedo, Rogue, Zara Spook. As for color, the clearer the better. Yes, I ain’t kidding. Back in the heyday of schooling-bass catches, we didn’t throw anything with paint. Clear was the best bet. And before the days of suspending Rogues, we used to take those clear Rogues and drill a small hole behind the lip, in the belly, dead center of the artificial lure, and that would serve to make it a lethal suspending artificial lure as water filled it on the retrieve.
Whether the bass are schooling or not, I find myself more and more fishing on the deeper side of drains rather than the shallower side of a slow-tapering point. It seems bass set up on that side with more consistency.
June is bona fide white perch, aka crappie or sac-a-lait, time. This is the time of year those popular panfish move to deeper domains, get on and around brush tops in 18- to 25-foot depths, where they can be caught on minnows, mostly, as well as soft-plastic and hair jigs.
I’ve been guiding on this lake most of my life. June should be a prime time to catch bass on topwaters. Give me a call at 936- 404-2688.