Lakecaster Online Archives - Mar, 2005

TIPS ON LANDING BIG BASS

By Joe Joslin
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Hello Anglers. We are taking a break from our Bass Basics Series for this month but will return to the series in April. There are some things that I wanted to include in the series that I am not ready to publish at this time. However, lets get on with the business at hand.....catching big bass. I’m starting to see increased numbers of anglers on The Bend and my phone is ringing off the wall. These are signs that the 2005 fishing season has arrived. New boats, new tackle, new tournament trails, companies humming with new orders and all camo is on sale. This angler is excited about prospects on Toledo for 2005, especially for the spring months of March, April and May.

Already we are hearing reports of double-digit bass being caught and these reports are going to become more frequent in the weeks ahead. As the waters warm in the shallows, large numbers of bass will change their address to a more romantic setting anticipating the annual spawn. A majority of the bass in Toledo/Rayburn will spawn in waters 10 feet or less. With each passing day, there are more daylight hours which aids in the warm-up process. The first movements of bass will begin when water temperatures move into the mid-to-upper fifties. Here, some fish will move up on points and banks of creeks/ditches getting in position to move into the spawning flats when conditions get right. This first movement is called ‘staging’ by many anglers and is a very favorable time to catch a huge bass as these fish are often times aggressive. We are in that season now as bass are in transition from winter to spring patterns. All it takes is a brief warming trend of a few days and fishing can become outstanding until the next cold front brings on a reality check.

It is getting prime time to catch your bass of a lifetime so I want to remind us of some basics which can put the odds in our favor when we finally do get that big bass to hit. Don't forget the basics when it comes to fishing for big bass as a big bass will always exaggerate any flaw or weakness in our technique or tackle set-up.

Here are a few reminders that I have discovered/experienced in my guide business and tournament angling that can cost you a big bass.

  1. Make sure you have fresh, high quality line on all of your reels. Berkley Big Game is high quality and affordable.
  2. Make sure you have sharp, high quality hooks and I suggest either XPoint or Daiichi.
  3. Check drags on all reels and
  4. Use a dependable knot which does not weaken the line and has superior knot strength and a Palomar knot is my strong recommendation.
  5. Always fish with an expectation and alertness that a big bass is going to take your lure....in other words...don't get careless.

Also, if possible, fish the three days before and after the full moon in February, March, April and May. If you do catch your dream fish, take photos, measure girth and length, release the bass and go to a taxidermist and ask to have a fiberglass replica made. It (the replica) will last a lifetime and the big bass gets to live and produce other lunker bass.

Because the potential is there to catch large numbers of big females, anglers must seriously consider catch and release on all lakes and fisheries. We are not talking about being PC (politically correct) but are talking about maintaining healthy fish populations for the years ahead. Personally speaking, it would seem to make sense to lower Toledo’s bass limits from 8 per day (presently) to 5. All other major impoundments in the region as well as most bass tournaments have had a 5-fish per day limit for several years. If you wish, keep some of the smaller bass for a delicious your fish fry but experience the joy of releasing that big bass to spawn another year.

I strongly encourage all of my clients to release all bass over three pounds although a majority of them are 100% catch and release. It is very encouraging to see the change in the mind set of anglers over the past ten years when it comes to catch and release. We are blessed to have lakes like Toledo, Rayburn and Livingston in our back door. Hope to see you on the lake. Take a good friend or family member fishing..especially if you have youngsters. Remember, if you are too busy to go fishing...you are too busy!! God Bless.

AUTHOR INFO: Joe Joslin is a syndicated outdoor columnist, tournament angler and pro guide on Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn. His sponsors include Yamaha/Skeeter Boats and Motors, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Fenwick, G.T. Industries, ReAction Lures, Stanley Jigs Inc, Jay's Carpet One and TTI Industries. He can be reached at 337-463-3848, 409-565-1288 and jjoutdoors@wnonline.net