We're entering into the spawning season here in Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas. Since we've had a great deal more cold weather this winter than we've had in the past two years combined, I suspect the spawn may be delayed slightly as compared to 1999 and 2000.
Even so, my strategy, whether fishing for fun or in a tournament, would remain the same. Start in shallow water, looking for early spawners. If all you're catching are "buck" (male) bass, gradually begin to move toward deeper water until you begin catching larger bass. Typically, if the males are shallow and probably looking for that perfect bedding area, the females aren't too far away.
As I promised in January, the following information includes where and how largemouth were caught on lakes Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn during February and early March in 2000. In some cases, the locations are rather fuzzy, but if you have any knowledge of the lake at all, I believe you'll know right where to go. Just in case you're not familiar with either of these lakes, I've noted areas where that particular type of "structure" can be located on either lake.
- North-lake Dogwood flats; shallow (1215, Bison's, A-1); ½ oz. black/blue jig w/crawworm & Texas-rigged watermelon worm.
- North-lake timber flats (Huxley Bay); black/blue jig w/blue flake craw.
- Mid-lake grass humps; 10-16' (Pipeline area in front of Carice Creek & Bug Island, Mouth of Palo Gaucho, Tennessee Bay area); ¾ oz. white/chartreuse spinnerbait w/white port trailer.
Early - Mid March, 2000
- Waaayyyyy North (Circle Drive & Huxley Bay areas); 5-6' stump ridges in protected area; ½ - ¾ oz. black/blue/chartreuse jig w/black/blue craw.
- Mid-lake flats; 4-8' grass lines; ½ oz. red Rat-L-Trap & Texas-rigged green pumpkin lizard.
- Hausen Bay 8' grass lines; ½ oz. shad Rat-L-Trap & red DD-14.
- North-lake 2-3' w/5-6' humps nearby (Huxley Bay); pre-spawn & spawning fish; chartreuse spinner bait w/white trailer.
- Bison area 3'; Texas-rigged watermelon/red Gator Dawg.
- Mid-lake grass clumps w/3-5' grass edges (Tennessee Bay, Six Mile, Jessie Lowe Bay); ¾ oz. red Rat-L-Trap & junebug Wacky Worm worm.
- South-lake grass banks 13-15' (Boone's, Arnold's Bay, Pirate's Cove); 3/8 oz. white spinnerbait w/white trailer & Carolina-rigged watermelon lizards.
- Mid-lake (LA side) 6-15' creek drop-offs (Negreet, Caney); Carolina-rigged watermelon lizard.
- North-lake 2-6' drop-offs w/brush, laydowns, & grass patches (Circle Drive, Cow Bayou area); Carolina-rigged watermelon lizards
The common thread here are the types of lures used. It sounds like if you have a black/blue jig, spinner bait, Rat-L-Trap, and Carolina-rigged lizard tied on, you should be successful. However, the locations range from all the way north to all the way south. My advice would be to start above the Pendleton Bridge during the early part of the season and gradually work your way south. The reason for this is because the spawn usually starts at the north end of the lake (water warms quicker here). Last year, we found spawning bass at the south end of Toledo Bend as late as early May!
- Buck Bay; points w/bald spots; chartreuse pepper Ring Fry.
- South-lake points w/grass & humps w/grass - shallow (Bay in front of Five Fingers, Coleman, & Norris Creeks, Flat in front of Caney Creek); red Rat-L-Trap.
- South-lake 4-6' grass; various colors of Rat-L-Traps.
- Mid-lake hump 15'; Carolina rig purple passion Centipede.
- South-lake points & flats along grass edges (Farmer's, Needmore); fast-worked crankbait.
- Shallow mid-lake coves (Five Fingers, Caney, Norris, Coleman) along creek channel edges; 5-6' w/new grass; ½ oz. chartreuse Rat-L-Trap, fire tiger 7A Bomber, & ½ oz. black/blue jig.
- Black Forest creek channel edges w/grass clumps; ¾ oz. shad Rat-L-Trap along 5-9' drop-offs.
- Mid-lake timber (Black Forest, Harvey Creek) along 6-10' depths (pre-spawn fish); parrot-colored DD-14 & DD-22.
- Buck Bay 7-8' stumps; ½ oz. camo jig w/watermelon craw.
- North-lake grass 13-16' (Harvey); 3/8 oz. crawfish jig w/smoke craw; Carolina-rigged kudzu lizard.
- Buck Bay area flats (bedding bass); ¼ oz. jig w/craw; 3/16 oz. purple flake tube jig.
- Within sight of Twin Dikes Marina; mid-cove flats 9-12' deep; Texas-rigged bloodline & watermelon/chartreuse ringworms.
- North-lake 3-6' grass hump; ½ oz. red Rat-L-Trap; ½ - ¾ oz. white/chartreuse spinner bait early & gold Husky jerk baits later.
- North-lake point drops 2-8' w/logs & lay-downs (northernmost parts of Ayish Bayou); Texas-rigged green pumpkin lizard; ½ oz. red Rat-L-Trap.
- North-lake timber & drains (Black Forest, Canyons); Carolina-rigged watermelon or watermelon/red lizard.
- Black Forest 4-6' stumps; Texas-rigged sour grape & junebug U-Tail worms.
- South-lake grass edges 6-10'; Carolina-rigged watermelon lizards; blue/chartreuse Model 6 crankbait.
- North-lake creek edges; flip black/blue jig w/craw to outside timber & bubble gum craw for bedding fish.
- Canyons & Black Forest sandy ledges & grass clumps; ½ Diamond Shad.
Early - Mid March, 2000
- Black Forest 4-9' timber; pumpkin pepper tube jig; 7/16 oz. black/blue/amber jig with 3-1/2" smoke craw.
- Buck Bay 3-5' sandy humps; watermelon/blue & junebug/chartreuse craw.
- North-lake ridgelines w/patchy grass & 5-9' drop-offs (Veach, Black Forest, Mudd); ½ oz. chrome/black Rat-L-Trap & Carolina-rigged watermelon lizard.
- Ayish Bayou creek channel edges w/4-5' timber; ¾ oz. black/blue jig.
- Caney Creek 6" - 3'; ½ oz. red/white Rat-L-Trap early. Same day - later; Black Forest timber drains; blue/chartreuse/chrome Rat-L-Trap.
Keep in mind that these lists are compiled so that you are reading results from early in the month, gradually progressing to the end of the month. Again, look for common threads and prepare accordingly. Also, just as I mentioned earlier, you may note that the information from North to Mid to South-lake varies slightly. This would allude to the different stages of the spawn the fish might be in these areas. Depending on your particular fishing style, you may want to select the location you'd like to fish based on the depth, structure, and type of lure predominantly used.
Until next month ... Good Fishin'!