With more grass, a lake that’s fairly full for this time of year and an abundance of baitfish, great days are ahead for bass fishing at Toledo Bend … once the heat wave of summer is turned off. I’m ready to put the dog days of summer in the rear-view mirror.
It’s the beginning of the end of summer — sometime this month, the heat factor will break. I’m not a weatherman, but September always offers the first cool wave. That’s the key to jump-starting the bass bite, because the water temperature dips accordingly. We start seeing signs of transition as the water cools to the upper 70s or lower 80s, and the fish react accordingly by feeding, especially around grass — which, by the way, there is much more of on this great border lake.
The lake has stayed within a foot or two of full pool all summer, and I don’t see that changing much, especially after cold fronts arrive, bringing rain along with them.
The shad spawn was great this year. That’s one thing we have plenty of: bait — shad and bream. The bass will be where the food is as those groceries move shallower.
Summer patterns will be successful until it cools. That entails topwaters — including plastic frogs — early and late, occasionally around mid-day. Otherwise, get down and dirty to catch bass in the heat with Carolina-rigged soft plastics and drop-shotted soft plastics. I’ll have a Neko-rigged soft plastic tied on as well as three rods rigged with a 10½-inch Zoom Ol’ Monster worms in plum, junebug/red and redbug, each under a ¼-ounce weight. That big plastic worm works well at night in summer and late summer and as the water temp cools during the day around grass beds in 6- to 8-foot depths.
Topwaters are my favorites once the water starts cooling. I’ll downsize to 2½-inch frogs, like the bream- and sexy shad-colored Spro Poppers, and throw smaller Chug Bugs and stickbaits. Other than those topwaters, I’ll be throwing Delta Lures Thunder Jigs, Stanley spinnerbaits, Rat-L-Traps and other lures to trigger bites. Golden bream is my favorite color for bladed jigs and spinnerbaits, followed by shad colors, depending on the water color.
September is also a time when soft plastics like Zoom Super Flukes, Neko-rigged Senkos and Carolina-rigged soft plastics and Senkos add to the catch. Black, black/blue and green pumpkin are preferred colors, but it won’t be long before watermelon/red comes into play.
Crappie fishing has been fair to good, mostly good, over brush piles planted in 20- to 25-foot depths. However, successful crappie fishermen have to cover a lot of water and hit many brush piles to get a good mess in the ice chest. Usually, five to 10 slabs at the most have been coming from each brush pile on artificial jigs.
For information about John Dean or to book a guided fishing trip with him on Toledo Bend, call 936-404-2688.