Toledo Bend bass put on feed sacks

It’s a great month to be on the lake

We’ve weathered the scorching summer and got teased about things to come, as far as bass fishing success in the early fall on Toledo Bend. Now we’re all in for what promises to be a great month.

Overall, you can’t beat the bass bite in November. Bass fishing this month is a blast; it’s fun.

Deer hunters like myself will get away from the deer stand to sample the bass fishing. I’m looking forward to it and already have several days booked for November.

I expect the average water temperature to be in the upper 60s or lower 70s. And air temperatures falling into the middle 50s and topping out in the middle 70s make it very pleasant for being out on the water.

Toledo Bend’s pool stage could be as low as 167 because the Sabine River Authority was dropping the fire out of this lake as of the last week of September. At this writing, it was at 168.20.

It should be even lower in November, and any time it’s in that range it concentrates the bass into ditches and on the flats as they move out of backwater areas, as do the forage fish such as bream and shad.

For sure, bass will be locked into the fall and early winter pattern. Cooler water temperatures allow bass anglers to be more consistent.

For me, it’ll be topwater time most of the time — something I can live with all day long because, in my experience, fish are the most active and most aggressive, putting on the feed sack as they gorge on bream and baitfish.

Plastic frogs — Stanley’s Ribbits, Top Toads and the new Poppin’ Toads (see related Lure Review column in this issue) — will get the most use in and around vegetation.

Zara Spooks and similar topwaters also will produce.

Of course, ½-ounce spinnerbaits, ½-ounce Rat-L-Traps, jerkbaits such as gold/orange Rogues, ChatterBaits and other artificial lures also will take their share of bass. Oh, and try Flukes — anything that resembles baitfish.

As for spinnerbaits, throw models with “golden bream” skirts and double willowleaf gold blades.

Rat-L-Traps can be gold, baby bass and shad-colored — they’ll eat ‘em up no matter what color, believe me.

Stay in 6- to 8-foot depths, particularly in front of deep ditches and drains. But don’t be surprised to catch them in 2- to 3-foot depths — even as shallow as a foot of water.

Don’t think for a minute they won’t get up in shallow water. Heck, New Iberia’s Caleb Sumrall, the Louisiana B.A.S.S. Nation Angler of the Year, won the first day of the fall qualifying tournament here in late September by catching bass on a white plastic frog in water 3 inches to 3 feet deep. Congrats to that up-and-coming angler who had 19-plus pounds that day.

Being shallow, bass can  be found in the back ends of major creeks like Housen and San Miguel. You don’t have to get out on the main lake to get bit.

And, all the while you’re fishing this month on Toledo Bend, be aware that a double-digit bass can latch onto the business end of your line on any cast.

Catching 10-pound-plus bass will be as common — maybe more common — this month as it is in the spring. Those “hawgs” are going to start rolling up to the certified scales in November.

Crappie fishing should be at least fair. I don’t know if it’ll be as good as it was in the late summer months when the anglers were pulling great numbers off the sunken brush piles in 22-foot depths on shiners.

Heck, the slabs still might be around those brush piles: We’ll wait and see if and when they’ll pile into the river channel in late December and January.

For up-to-the-minute information on bass fishing Toledo Bend, I have a new website up and running. Go to And call me at 936-404-2688 if you want to hit the water. 

About John Dean 84 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.

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