Mother Nature rules!
If you were fishing or duck hunting from a boat last Saturday, you were a brave soul. Other words could be used to describe those of us who decided to venture out following the severe Canadian cold front that hit late Friday.
Weekend anglers and hunters are way too familiar with beautiful weather all week while they are at work and then when Friday comes, Mother Nature turns loose her wrath. Late last Friday and all day Saturday, there were lake wind advisories on top of advisories for every lake or body of water within 300 miles.
Wind gusts to 40 miles per hour and sustained winds at 30 were the norm on area lakes until almost midnight Saturday.
Having previously signed up for a Texas Forest Country Bass tournament held Saturday out of Jackson Hill Marina on northern Sam Rayburn, my tournament partner, David Brown of DeRidder, and I were committed to giving it our best shot.
The Saturday event was the third of five tournaments for this season, and since we were in the top 10 in yearly point standings, did not want to zero out by being a no-show.
Because of the hazardous weather forecasts, tournament officials allowed competitors to trailer, which means anglers could launch at any site on the lake where they could fish in somewhat safer conditions.
We trailered 25 miles to the south end of the lake and fished an area we had not fished in over a month because the area we wanted to fish was impossible due to huge waves.
We finally put together a five-fish limit of respectable-sized Rayburn bass, but those seven hours of fishing were some of the hardest I have experienced. To fish those conditions, one has to love bass fishing, the competition as well as the challenge.
Most tournament anglers have friends or family members who question our sanity when we fish in such conditions. With a fresh memory of how tough it was Saturday, they certainly have a point.
The Walmart FLW Kingfish Tour Championship held in Biloxi, Miss., canceled the second day of this event Saturday due to the same weather system.
LAKE CONDITIONS: Lake level is at 167.9 feet, which is almost a half foot higher since last week due to area rain. Water temps have fallen steadily the past few weeks and range from 62-64 degrees.
Both generators are shut down and the north end of the lake has stained conditions, some actually muddy. Mid lake is clear to slightly stained with south Toledo very clear. The back portions of major feeder creeks are stained-to-muddy.
BASS: Fishing was good during the pre-frontal part of the week. We caught bass on spinnerbaits, shallow crankbaits, deep diving crankbaits (Norman's DD22), Texas rigs, as well as jigging spoons and drop shot.
No matter what the weather conditions on Toledo and Rayburn, there is usually a shallow bite early in the morning. =It may be brief and it might be minimal, but there are usually a few fish shallow at dawn.
Part of this has to do with the increase in Florida largemouth strain of bass which has been stocked into both lakes to the tune of over a million a year in each lake for over 15 years straight. Florida bass, by nature and gene pool, love shallow water.
In recent years, I have caught five bass over 10 pounds and all have come from water less than 10 feet. I have caught a lot of 5-8 pound bass in water as deep as 40 feet, but no double digit ones.
While I vow that all of the info in my report and columns are accurate to the best of my knowledge, there are very specific, detailed bits of info that I use with customers and in tournament situations which I choose to retain. Most serious anglers have those things that he or she has learned from years of fishing which is shared with very few.
I will say I have very few secrets which I have not shared with readers or fellow anglers as guides have very few secrets. One of those which I have not told anyone is the following.
All five of the bass that I have caught over 10 pounds came from depths of 7-8 feet, on the outside edge of submerged grass during the months of March, April and May.
CRAPPIE: White perch fishing was very good until the last front. It should pick back up by mid-week. Main feeder creeks with clear water have been the best with anglers using mostly live shiners in 20-35 feet on natural as well as made-make brush or fallen timber.
Cold nights like we have had the past few nights could ignite the crappie along the main river and the famous Chicken Coop. The Coop last year was a disappointment, but there are encouraging signs this year may be better.
In certain years, crappie have moved into The Coop in early December. Usually it is around Christmas.
Joe Joslin is a syndicated columnist, tournament angler and pro guide on Toledo and Sam Rayburn. His sponsors include Skeeter Performance Boats, Yamaha Outboards, Lake Charles Toyota, Red River Marine, Berkley, Fenwick, Abu Garcia, Bill Norman, Daiichi, Jay's Carpet One, The Floor Trader and Stanley Jigs Inc. Contact him at 337-463-3848 or firstname.lastname@example.org and www.joejoslinoutdoors.com.