Toledo Bend’s shallow water largemouth bite is on this month

This 6-pounder inhaled the Neko-rigged Senko tossed by Mike Randolph of Zwolle during a bass club tournament at Toledo Bend.

May should be a shallow-water bass fisherman’s dream month at Toledo Bend.

I certainly look forward to it because I’ve had enough of a lingering winter that saw post-cold front conditions way too long in the heart of lake country west of Many. A big continued warmup is what we need.

Those warmer air temps flip the proverbial switch to bring in bream and shad to spawn in the shallows. While fewer bass will be spawning in the coming weeks, many that vacated shallower depths turn around and follow those baitfish into the skinnier water.

By May, I believe water temps reach and stay in the upper 70s and 80s. Those water temps should be widespread from the back of creeks to the main lake waters. I’ll target those ridges and humps around the shallowest end of deep drains to feast on the bream and shad.

Toledo Bend’s pool stage has been steady and near the 170 level. That level is very doable as far as successful bass fishing. Combine that pool stage with generally fair to good late spring weather conditions before the summer bake begins June 20 and it’ll be a fun time to be on the water.

Big ones, too

And Toledo Bend has offered plenty of that good bassin’ for the past year as tournament and non-tournament bass anglers would agree. Double-digit bass statistics also show the border lake has come back strong after the re-emergence of vegetation the past few years.

The Toledo Bend Lake Association’s Lunker Bass Program numbers as of April 10 were closing in on last season’s total of 57 10-plus pounders recorded from May 2022-May 2023, according to Gaynell Goodeaux, the program’s dedicated and enthusiastic coordinator. With two months to go for 2023-24, the current total was at 50, with three of those weighing more than 13 pounds.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see one or more of the big’uns picked off in shallower depths this month as they hunt down bream and shad. Big ol’ bull bream, suckers for crickets dropped in front of their nose, become the hunted as they come up to spawn in and around grass and structure. A “moon crater”-looking shiny spot is a dead giveaway bream are bedding there.

One to 5-foot depths are key now and as far as I’m concerned it’s “frog fest” time all the way from late April to at least early June. Plastic frogs, as well as topwater poppers, will take more than their share of bass up and down the lake.

Bladed jigs, such as Delta Lures Thunder Jigs, gold/orange Smithwick Rogues and Cotton Cordell Redfins, and soft plastics such as Zoom Super Flukes and GYCB Senkos, Neko rigs and Carolina-rigged soft plastics, also are hard to beat. That C-Rig is deadly when bass get on top of humps and ridges in the main lake.

To get the most out of a soft plastic presentation, I go “light duty” in order to keep the bait in the strike zone longer. That means adding a 1/32- or 1/64-ounce slip sinker to Flukes and Senkos because the bass seem to like a slower presentation, a slower drop. Depending on the wind, try to get by with the slightest weight possible for even better results.

To get the most out of the shad spawn, you’ve got to be out on the water as the sun first starts to rise in the east. The shad spawn is a dominant factor in and around grass beds.

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.

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.