Lakecaster Online

Of Bass & Gals
By: Sue Crochet

In general, bass fishing has been tough on Toledo Bend over the past few months. There are many theories as to why, but I believe the lack of grass on the lake and increasingly warm surface temperatures each year have caused the largemouth to change their patterns. Being creatures of habit, we humans have a tendency to continue fishing the lake as we always have. Bass, on the other hand, adapt to changing conditions much more easily, since their survival depends upon it.

The point is, we don't adapt very well. Are you mainly a shallow water angler? You may want to try fishing deeper … say 15 to 20 feet, or deeper. This may mean trying new techniques, like deep diving crank baits or drop-shotting. Sometimes deeper is not the only answer. Maybe you're the type of angler who thinks "structure" is anything visible (i.e. can be seen on or above the surface of the water). I know many anglers who don't feel they'll catch fish unless they can see what they're throwing at.

Structure means something quite different to the largemouth bass. What may seem like a minor change in the bottom, such as gravel instead of grass or stumps, may hold more bass at certain times. Changes in bottom contour, such as long points that gradually drop off into deep water, ridges or humps with deep water on either side or all around, and sudden depth changes (ledges), are key structure patterns. A quality chart recorder can be your best fishing buddy when looking for bottom contour changes, but there are many people who have fished certain lakes for so long that they have learned to "read" the banks in order to find these types of areas.

One advantage of being active in a national tournament circuit, such as the Women's Bass Fishing Association (WBFA), is that you have the opportunity to fish on lakes all over the country that are fished much differently from ours. This has taught me to look at our local lakes in a whole new light. Sometimes the least likely looking spot will produce the largest number of fish. Additionally, a lure or technique not commonly used on our lakes will be a big hit. After all, what do you have to lose if you're not catching anything?!

I think it's safe to say that the hot weather is behind us now, so the bass action should pick up. Fortunately, whether there is grass or not, cooler temperatures usually make the bass more active … kinda' like us humans. I don't know about you, but I could use a good day of bass fishing! If the activity last fall on T-Bend was any indication of what this fall will be like, we're in for a real treat over the next couple of months. Virtually anything you like throw should be productive. What's even better is that whether or not the fish are biting, at least we'll be more comfortable.

Another great thing about fishing this time of year is there are fewer anglers on the lakes. Family vacations are done for the year now that school has started. Avid deer hunters have "shifted gears" and are getting stands and food plots ready. Most tournament trails have ended their seasons, which takes an enormous amount of pressure off the fish. All these, along with fewer jet skis and pleasure boaters running around, will make the fish a lot more cooperative.

So don't put your fishing gear away just yet … the best part is yet to come!

Fishing Tip … This summer, when many other techniques have been unseccessful for me, soft jerkbaits such as the Shad Assassin, Fluke, Wacky Worm, or Trick Worm have done quite well. I prepare a short (12") leader with a 4.0 or 5.0 wide-gap hook. Tie this leader to your main line and hook your plastic of choice so that the hook comes back out the other side of the lure and bury the tip of the hook, making sure that your lure is straight. Begin by fishing the lure weightless (swivel and hook only), barely moving it through the water. This is an excellent technique when the fish are suspended, because these baits fall very, very slowly.

You can alter the rate at which the lure is falling by attaching a split shot just above your swivel. Try using various sizes/weights until your lure is falling to the depth where the fish seem to be located or where you get the most action. You can also vary your retrieve by jerking the lure now and then, which makes it dart and flutter. Sometimes this is more than the most inactive bass can stand! One thing to be aware of is that more often than not, a bass will simple grab or suck the lure in, then begin moving off slowly with it. It's very important to be a "line watcher" when fishing this type of lure.

The Lake Area Lady Anglers will be holding their October tournament on the 5th at Toledo Bend (Peg Leg Cove). If you're interested in fishing with us, please give me a call at (337) 217-9283 or e-mail me at cbasskitten2@cs.com.

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