The sweet and sour of September

Fishing at Toledo Bend this month is somewhat up in the air

If summertime bass fishing like it has been extends very long into September, chances are good I will have all spinning rods on the deck of my bass boat until there is a definitive cool snap to chill the waters at Toledo Bend.

Through the last week of July, I’ve been doing Toledo Bend Summertime Fishing Pattern(s) 101. It’s been tough for the most part — despite the fact there is the most luscious, beautiful deep grass you can find in Housen Creek, front and back.

It’s hot. In fact, tomorrow’s going to be the hottest day of the summer and likely there will be more “hottest” days to come before September. Water temperatures have been in the low 90s for a couple weeks now.

The only really consistent artificial lure has been a big ol’ crank bait. I’ve done everything, including punching with a soft plastic on a 4/0 circle hook with a weed guard.

The lake level still is close to full pool at 171.61 right now.

I’m changing my game plan for my trip tomorrow. Spinning rods with my special drop shot rigs will be on the deck. They could be there until the average water temperature drops at least 10 degrees.

September has a tendency over the years to be a summer month. Until, that is, the significant cold fronts start coming through the area to bring the water temperatures down. When that happens, it’ll be time to go back to plastic frogs and topwaters as the fall season is ushered in and there should be an increase in the number of bites.

Late September, maybe mid-September, and then October will be game-changers on this great border lake. There should be changes — I’m looking forward to it. Bassin’ success has got to get better. It really can’t get any worse.

What isn’t happening at all is schooling bass activity. I have yet to see the first serious schooling activity at a time when it was red-hot last year with 2- to 4-pounders going crazy all over the lake for a couple months. I’m hearing the same story about the lack of schoolies no matter which way you go. I really don’t know what happened because the shad population is awesome.

After trying shallow around hay grass or hydrilla the first hour of the day, I’m going to target 20- to 25-foot depths with my drop shot around main lake points, wood and brushpiles, relying on marine electronics and see how that goes. I don’t use a drop shot rig with sewing thread line and a hook the size of a bream hook. I was doing that a couple years ago in the McDonald’s big bass contest, cashing in each day, but I broke off on some good-sized fish. I decided to try 20-pound braid with a 2/0 straight shank hook. I rig the hook above a ¼-ounce bell sinker and tie it with a palomar knot with the hook about 18 inches up, and 18 to 24 inches above that I use a barrel swivel tied to the main line, to prevent twisting. I put a 4-inch shad-colored Slug-Go or 5-inch Zoom finesse worm.

On two of them I’m going to have all-braided line, and the other will have about a 2-foot fluorocarbon leader. I’ll see which one is more effective.

Other artificial lures that should trigger strikes consistently before the cooldown are jiggin’ spoons and Carolina rigs, as well as crank baits.

Crappie fishing has been fair to good, a lot of times on the fair side recently although the numbers still are respectable with catches in the 60s, 70s and 80s. They’re still catching the panfish in 22- to 25-foot depths around brushpiles.

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

About John Dean 97 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.