Summer bassin’ at Toledo Bend

John Dean III wears a big smile while gripping the lip of a 6-plus pound bass he caught on a June bug/red Neko-rigged Senko while punchin’ in 12- to 13-foot depths at Toledo Bend.

The lake’s been at or right around full pool for 3 ½ months now after so many years just above 166. It looks good, like springtime, with the water up in the bushes and around cypress trees.

The way the lake’s setting up, July hookups should be even better than June. And as good as the water looks, clear and green everywhere but in the back of some of the creeks, and as healthy as the grass is in 14- to 16-feet depths, things will set up even better for midsummer if the pool level drops 1- to 1 ½ feet. That would be ideal. With warmer water temps the hydrilla — of which there’s plenty across the lake, up and down — will get to the top, which makes the break lines easier to follow.

For the time being, however, summer as we know it has been put on hold. The water temps have been averaging from the mid- to upper 70s to lower 80s. I can’t wait because the hotter it gets the better it gets for punchin’ or droppin’ or flippin’, whatever fits your style. I’ve got five “drop” rods rigged and ready to go with either soft plastic creature baits, Senkos or Ol’ Monster plastic worms, etc.

There’s so much hydrilla for the bass to live in now. Concentrate on the breaks, the scattered clumps of grass most of the time in deeper water just before the hard lines of underwater vegetation. To get to them just follow the ditches and the drains.

Effective strategies

At first drop a ½- to 5/8-ounce soft plastic through the green stuff to the bottom, but the fish aren’t always there because they’ll often suspend under a canopy. Be observant. No takers on drops to the bottom? Go to a lighter weight, such as 3/8 ounces, and tap the suspended bass that way.

Summer soft plastic colors that are most effective are red bug, June bug red, plum apple and plum crazy.

The grass gives up bass in other ways. If fish activity is visible on or near the top, feed the bass plastic frogs, buzz baits and/or Whopper Ploppers, but also work any open areas with ½- to ¾-ounce double-bladed gold willowleaf/nickel Colorado spinnerbaits, or else fish bladed jigs by snatching and retrieving them through the grass. Top colors for those moving baits? Try golden bream and chartreuse/blue/white skirts.

The other option is to go out and probe the offshore structure with forward facing sonar tactics. That’s a highly productive pattern, too, as one of my friends has proven over these late spring days by catching 30-40 daily.

It’s also that time of year to have fun, catch bass and stay cooler by bassin’ at night. The countless boathouses, docks and other structures covering the shorelines of so many popular creeks and main lake areas are great places to target bass with soft plastics and moving baits, including Whopper Ploppers.

Enjoy a Happy Fourth of July, everybody. Have a good time on Toledo Bend. Boat safe and smart.

I’ve been guiding on this lake most of my life. Give me a call at (936) 404-2688.

About John Dean 99 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.