Hello, Anglers. So far August is not the sultry beast it usually is in south Louisiana and southeast Texas. We even had a couple of mornings on the lake last week that was in the upper 60s. It was very comfortable and close to 11:00 a.m. those mornings before it got really hot. By then we were wrapping up the morning trip as we are doing a lot of split schedule trips where we fish late mornings and leave the lake returning around 4 p.m. However, my weather apps say that by the end of this week we may have our first 100 degree day of the year so I guess we had better not expect extended cool weather as of yet.
Boat traffic last week was very light with only 6-8 boat trailers parked daily at my home ramp which is the Texas public boat ramp just above the dam on the Texas side off of Highway 255. This is a good, three lane ramp with plenty of parking and is also patrolled regularly by the SRA (Sabine River Authority). I have never had a theft issue there and have used the facility for 30 years or more.
LAKE CONDITIONS: The lake level remains high for late August and stands at 171.3 with minimal generating at the dam. They did resume some generating last week which usually was from 2 to 5 hours each afternoon. Water temps fell slightly from 88-90 down to 86-87 but with hotter weather coming those temps will rise back up to near 90. North Toledo is slightly stained, mid lake is mostly clear and south Toledo is clear-to-very clear.
FISHING REPORTS/BASS: Most of our patterns last week were similar to what they have been for the past several weeks. Last week I talked a good bit about schooling bass and we did have decent schooling activity last week but I look for it to be somewhat better this week as the moon is on the wane. I usually find better daytime schooling activity on the darker phase of the moon.
One pattern that I start using more in late summer/early fall is deep cranking and part of that is because there are a lot of bass suspended. Deep cranking (working a deep diving crankbait) is blue collar fishing but it can be quite productive
when bass are suspended. Deep cranking is one of the most physical patterns in bass fishing because the baits have a large, long plastic lip which enables them to dig and pull the bait d4 to own to deep depths. Some dive to as deep as 18 to 24 feet, depending on how they are rigged and how they are fished. This 'digging' puts a lot of resistance on the rod and reel and can be tiring when done for extended periods of time. If the bass are hitting the crankbait well, the digging doesn't seem to be as tiring. However, on a slow day the crankbait can become a grind.
There are tools on the market today that are made basically for heavy cranking and they do make a huge difference. I use a low-profile baitcast reel that is made for deep cranking manufactured by Abu Garcia and is called a Winch. This reel has a slow ratio 5.4:1 which really takes a lot of the work off similar to shifting your truck into a lower gear. The reel is also amazingly light at 6.93 ounces and holds 180 yds of 12 lb test line. Owners of this reel give it a better than 4.5 star rating. I have a couple of these and have been totally pleased and use both 10 and 12 lb test Berkley Trilene Pro Grade 100% Fluorocarbon line. My crankbait rod is a 7' 2" Fenwick HMG baitcast rod.
For crankbaits I am currently using Bill Norman's new NXS and their legendary DD22. The NXS dives from 12 to 16 feet and the DD22 dives from 14 to 20'. As far as colors of baits we are mostly using shad patterns but will also use the Toledo standard the blue/chartreuse and early mornings and cloudy days will use fire tiger. In the clear, deep waters of Toledo, I suggest making long casts and use frequent pauses in your retrieve. Some days they will only hit it when you stop it. At times I will throw Norman's DLN (Deep Little N) in schooling bass.
In addition to schooling bass and crankbaits, we are working Texas rigs on the outside of deep grass(hydrilla) anywhere from 14 to 24 feet. We are also working Carolina rigs and drop shot rigs on main lake ridges, humps and points. Some of these have grass on them and others do not. I prefer to fish these when there is current which is while they are generating.
CRAPPIE/YELLOW AND WHITE BASS: The only crappie I heard being caught this week were property owners with deep water piers with brush under them and they were fishing at night with lights. Yellow bass are still plentiful near main creeks with best time to catch them around 7 to 8 a.m. and late afternoon from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Spoons, small crankbaits and tailspinners are effective for yellows. We are also occasionally running into schools of white bass schooling with largemouth and yellows.
AUTHOR INFO: Joe Joslin is a syndicated outdoor columnist, tournament angler and pro guide on Toledo and Sam Rayburn. Contact him at 337-463-3848, firstname.lastname@example.org and website at Joe Joslin Outdoors - Guide Service - Toledo Bend Lake - Sam Rayburn Reservoir