Toledo Bend bass are turning to topwaters

John Dean caught this 61/2-pounder on the next-to-last week of March on a Carolina-rigged Zoom Super Fluke at Toledo Bend.
John Dean caught this 61/2-pounder on the next-to-last week of March on a Carolina-rigged Zoom Super Fluke at Toledo Bend.

As the spawn works its way north to south on Toledo Bend in late April and May, bream move up the same way to do their thing, which is key to getting on bass.

For me, it’s the time to rely on topwaters like Chug Bugs, Zara Spooks, Yellow Magics, Ribbits and Top Toads, as well as LiveTarget Bream. Yes, topwaters should kick in and be a strong, strong thing in mid-April and, especially May, for bragging-sized bass.

Follow the bream

Fish those artificial lures in and around peppergrass, or other vegetation, in 2- to 5-foot depths, because as the spring goes along, more and more bream will move into those depths and habitats, starting up north. That’s something to consider as much as the bass spawn cycling from the upper lake to the mid-lake and, finally, the lower end of Toledo Bend.

You can fish topwaters all day. Those artificials, especially plastic frogs, can get you a good bite. I’m sure that will be the case for many during the Bob Sealy Big Bass Splash on May 17-19 out of Cypress Bend Park.

Topwater bite has started

I’ll put a lot of time in starting now seeking the topwater bite, even on sunny days.

For the longest time in late winter and early spring, my go-to bait was a Carolina-rigged soft plastic, namely a Zoom Super Fluke. But a few days ago, in the last week of March, my customers and I nailed seven sizable bass on parrot/white Top Toads. The bass were climbing all over them. Heck, one 2½-pounder went airborne — cleared the water by 5 inches — to eat the bogus frog. What a sight that was.

A few days earlier, with the water temperature averaging 65 degrees, there was a full moon the night before and the fish stormed the beaches, as people around here often say about spawning cycles. I hooked and boated a 6½-pound bass on a C-rig, and four double-digit bass were caught that day on Toledo Bend. Darren Burns of Moss Bluff weighed a 10.27-pounder; Aaron Gay of Princeton landed a 10.26-pounder; Richard Gautreaux of Gonzales boated a 10.07-pounder, and Rob Prejean of Sulphur got his hands on a 10.02-pounder. The fish caught by Gay, Gautreaux and Prejean all bit after 5 p.m.

Yep, the bass were eating that day. There will be many more like it throughout the spring, in May.

Top target areas

I’m basing that on my 50 years of back history here. I think May w

ill be equally as good in areas like Blue Lake, Housen Bay, Six Mile Creek and Pirate’s Cove.

Toledo Bend Sunset taken by Camp owner and Toledo Bend Lunker club coordinator Dinah Medine.

My advice is to start shallow and see what’s happening. If they turn their noses up at topwaters, try spinnerbaits and Chatterbait-style artificials. And if there’s no taker, then move deeper, to 12- to 15- to 20-foot depths. You can always get on a point or over a break, drain or ditch and fish somewhere close to deeper water with plastic worms, jig-n-trailer combos and Carolina-rigged soft plastics, like Flukes.

I like a 2½- to 3-foot leader under a ¾- or 1-ounce weight on my C-rig. That’s been my bread-and-butter. In shallower water (2½- to 3½-foot depths), a ½-ounce will do just fine, and there still should be plenty of bass in that range.

Why? Not everything stays skinny, if you know what I mean. Fishing deeper is so much easier these days because of the advanced technology in marine electronics.

Fish jigs in bream patterns, mostly, with greens and oranges mixed in, as well as black/blue and crawfish-colored. As for soft plastic worms, top colors this time of year are junebug, redbug, plum apple and, even the tried and true watermelon/red.

I’ve been guiding on this lake most of my life and you’re welcome in my boat. May should offer good bass fishing. Give me a call at 936-404-2688.

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John Dean
About John Dean 52 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.