Happy New Year To Everyone!!!
Hope all of you had a great Christmas with your family and friends. My wife and I made a run to New Mexico to see family, then to Midland and ended up at Spring, Texas with our two sons and their families. We had a wonderful time, however, I sure was glad to get back into my own bed. Be it ever so humble .. there really is no place like home.
Great rain we had Friday night with more likely. I Love It!!!
Lake Conditions – The lake is 165.52 (as of Saturday morning, December 30) which makes it about 6.48 feet low (normal pool is 172 msl). The water temperature has been gradually falling to 53-60-degrees – depending on what part of the lake you are fishing. Run-off from the rain will muddy creeks and coves but basically the lake’s water is in good shape.
Baits To Use –
Bass – Shallow Water This is the time of the year to be throwing a spinnerbait, Rat-L-Trap or one of the new “Shaker” baits. These lures have made a name for themselves during the months of January-March, and this year should be no exception. I have done well on the smaller single willow blade spinnerbait with an off white and brown color working best.
Most anglers try a number of colors when throwing the “Trap”, however, there sure are a lot of bass caught each year on Rayburn Red. Nuff said… The Shaker can be worked shallow or deep and it gives off a great deal of vibration. Try to stay near grass when fishing these baits and it’s not a bad ides to toss a jig-n-pork in the grass to see if a big bass is hungry.
Bass – Deep Water – In my opinion you only need two baits for working the deeper water –
(1) a Jigging Spoon and (2) a Carolina-Rig.
And when I say deep water I mean 25-40-foot depths. Believe me.. there are LOT’S of fish down there that deep.
I would start with a ½ or ¾-oz silver Texan jigging spoon and go to the full one ounce as I wok deeper into the 35-40-foot range.
The Carolina-Rig is probably one of the most effective techniques you can use, especially in windy conditions. Use a ¾-or one ounce sinker and the biggest watermelon/red or black lizard you have in your tacklebox. A Big bass is a lazy fish and wants a big meal. Just be ready when he strikes because a big bass didn’t get big by being friendly.
Crappie – Right now reports say that the Chicken Coop is red hot. This is an area near the old Sabine River channel north of Newell’s Fishing World. When the crappie stack up in this area they REALLY stack up. Live shiners fished with a small lead weight about a foot or so below hook is the technique to use. I have heard different reports but most of the best fishing seems to be in 25-35 feet of water with the bait fished from one to three feet off the bottom. Some of the crappie coming from this area are huge.
White and Yellow Bass – Great catches when the wind lets you out on the main lake. Look for the fish in about 22-36 feet of water near the drop-offs, river channels or at the end of long points. Small ¼-ounce silver jigging spoons have been used to take some exceptional catches.
Stripers – Johnny Franks and his son-in-law Dean (from California) had a couple of exceptional trips recently catching bass and stripers. According to Johnny, some of the stripers hit so hard that they almost pulled the rod from their hands. Jigging spoons were the bait of choice and the fish were taken in 30+ feet of water. Great catch guys!!!
It doesn’t get any better than this!!!
Catfish – Not too many reports but the ones I did receive were good. Fish are being taken in 15 to 28′ feet of water using liver, cut-bait and catfish Charlie. I will just bet that some of these guys were also using Zote soap. Best locations seem to be near baited holes in creek bends and at the edge of the channels.
Well there you are, a quick look at the fishing on Toledo Bend. The fishing will continue to get better and better and I am going to go out on a limb and say that 2007 may be one of the best fishing years ever. Better get that tackle ready because you may tangle with a bass like the one shown here. See you on the water.. – JB
Keep sending me those fishing pictures… firstname.lastname@example.org or drop the picture in the mail to Jim Binns, HC6 Box 860, Hemphill, Texas 75948.
Fairdale pastor Bo Owens and Paul (visiting missionary from Africa) sample the bass fishing at Toledo Bend. (Good fish Paul!!!)