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Fishing on Toledo Bend Lake

Joe Joslin has been fishing Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn for 25+ years and has been a full time pro guide on Toledo Bend/Sam Rayburn since 1998.Joe Joslin Outdoors Fishing Guide Service Wholesome atmosphere * Safety minded * Latest equipment. Visit Joe's website at Joe Joslin Outdoors E-Mail Joe at joejoslinoutdoors@yahoo.com

Toledo Bend Reservoir Fishing Report
October 18, 2014

Hello, anglers and outdoor dwellers. This is our time to relish the beauty and enjoy the natural high of experiencing the outdoors. Outside conditions this week are about as good as they get so be sure to schedule some time to check out God's creation, even if it's just in your own back yard. For me personally, I love that early morning boat ride heading to our first fishing hole. Brisk morning air is invigorating and there is no noise at all with the exception of wind generated from a fast boat trip up the lake. The air blowing across my ears cancels out all other noise and gives me a moment of privacy to look around, see the beauty and count my blessings.

LAKE CONDITIONS: The lake level at mid-week is 169.3' with one generator running 24 hours. The level shows a slight rise with some of that due to strong north winds pushing the water south. North Toledo is stained, mid-lake is mostly clear with stained conditions in the back of major creeks. South Toledo is clear-to very clear with water temperatures running from 74-76 degrees but that will change in a couple of days.

FISHING REPORTS BASS: Patterns are numerous during mid-October so if you like a particular way of fishing you can probably catch a fish on it. There are, of course, some patterns that are more successful than others and that takes experimenting and some time on the water to dial those in and eliminate unproductive methods. Maybe we can help narrow some of those down to a more manageable number of methods. For this week we will look at four approaches we have been using to put some fish in the boat. I'm not saying these methods are the only ways currently to catch fish on Toledo but I can feel confident that they will give the weekend angler a starting point when arriving at the lake this weekend. This lake is huge and can be intimidating.

The first is a spinnerbait and currently we are using a 1/4 and 3/8 oz. Stanley Vibrashaft double willowleaf with white/chartreuse and shad patterns on our skirts. We are working these on windy, grassy points and banks close to points. As far as presentations, we are trying several including a medium retrieve, fast retrieve (waking) as well as a yo-yo presentation where we lift the rod and let the bait fall paying close attention as the bait falls. Some days they want it fast while other days slow with pauses....let the fish determine your method of presentation. While a spinnerbait can be successful all day long in the fall, it usually is best the first and last hours of the day.

Our second method we will combine two into one and both include a weightless presentation of a soft plastic. We are using wacky rigged Berkley Havoc Flat Dawgs and Senkos and working these on the outside edge of the grass in 8 to 16 feet. We also rig the same baits Texas style/weightless and chunk them depths from 2 to 12 feet. I personally am using from 8 to 12 lb test Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon line for these baits but will also use 15 and 17 lb test on the Texas rigged weightless rig. As far as colors of baits, we are using both the watermelon and green pumpkin families.

Crankbaits are also highly recommended although they are a blue collar technique. You have heard me previously say there are tools (reels and rods) to make this technique easler. Check out a Abu Garcia Winch and Abu Orra Winch to throw your crankbaits. These are low ratio reels (5.4 :1) which takes some of the work out of retrieving big crankbaits for hours at a time. It's similar to putting your truck into a lower gear allowing the transmission (reel) to take some of the work off of the engine (you). These reels are also very smooth and easy to cast and come with large reel handles which also is a plus.

We are using several crankbaits from Baby Ns (2 to 5'), Deep Little Ns(DLNs 8 to 12'), NXS (12 to 16') and our standard work-horse the DD22 which dives from 14 to 18'. We are using shad patterns for the most part. The Baby Ns have been effective in schools and the DLNs on grassy points and banks close to points. The NXS's and DD22s are used on deep points and humps and ridges with submerged grass. I like for these to bump the top of grass in 14 to 18'. A lot of the strikes come as I rip the bait free of grass (hydrilla) and let it sit still for a second or two. I use 12 lb test fluorocarbon about 75% of the time on crankbaits but will go down to 10 lb test fluorocarbon in order to get another foot or two deeper. I do have a lot of confidence in 10 lb test as we have caught some huge bass on it. You do have to monitor it and retie often when throwing big crankbaits.

Our last pattern is the drop shot and jigging spoon. South Toledo's abundance of deep, clear water is a haven for a drop shot and jigging spoon. For drop shot rigs we are using 8 lb test Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon with Daiichi #1 wide-gap hook and a Revo or Orra Spinning reel with a 7' medium action Fenwick HMG spinning rod. For soft plastics we are using a Bottom Hopper Jr. (4.75 inch) nose-hooked with watermelon and Shady Watermelon candy as best colors. We are working this rig slowly in depths of 18 to 30 feet. Jigging spoons in 1/2 and 3/4 oz. versions are our go to sizes and I use 15 and 17 lb fluorocarbon line, Revo baitcast reel with a medium action Abu Veritas rod. I fish the spoons mostly vertically in depths of 20 to 50 feet, depending on conditions and what my Humminbird electronics are showing me.

CRAPPIE AND YELLOW BASS: We were able to get in a bunch of yellow bass last week and had some fun for a while. Yellow bass will hit crankbaits, tailspinners (Norman's Knock Off and Mann's Little George) as well as jigging spoons. We caught them in about 30 feet. The crappie are still being caught, at least before the last front. Brush piles in 25 feet are the norm with live shiners fished about 15 feet down on top of the brush as the crappie are suspended over the brush. Crappie are also coming into deep docks and lakefront property owners with deep piers with lights are really catching some good fish after dark.

Guide Joe Joslin

Joe Joslin Outdoors Fishing Guide Service
Visit Joe's Website at JoeJoslinOutdoors.com