Fishin' Toledo

Special to the Leader

Hello, anglers.
This past weekend provided much more friendly weather for outdoor lovers and was ideal for fishing.
Tournament fishing will take a rest this week with Thanksgiving holidays, but will resume full force in early December as the first event of the season for Bass-n-Bucks Team Circuit set for Saturday, Dec. 6 at Sam Rayburn. 
This will be followed by the fourth event of the year for Texas Forest Country Circuit to be held Dec. 13 out of Toledo Bend's Fin and Feather Marina.  
The Beauregard Parish team of Kraig Welborn and Jeremy Burge are currently in first place after three tournaments in the yearly point standings.
This is a tough circuit which includes well known B.A.S.S. pros such as Tommy Martin, Harold Allen and Ben Matsubu to name a few.   
LAKE CONDITIONS: Toledo's lake level is 168 feet mean sea level and both generators are shut down. The water surface temperatures are running from 62-64 degrees with stained conditions on extreme north part of the lake. Mid-lake is mostly clear with south Toledo being very clear.
There are still floaters (floating logs) all over the lake with some in boat lanes. Be alert when running at high speeds, especially when there is a chop on the water, making floaters difficult to see. 
LOCAL ANGLERS RESCUE FISHERMAN IN DISTRESS: Don Carlisle of DeRidder had not returned from a Toledo fishing trip on a recent weekday afternoon. 
As the day progressed, family members became concerned and contacted local authorities, who soon began search and rescue efforts on the southeast portion of Toledo. 
According to sources, these efforts were suspended due to darkness and high winds and were scheduled to resume at first light the next morning. Prayers went out to local churches and calls were made to fishermen to help with the efforts the next morning. 
DeRidder's Eddie and Steve Rhea, well known area tournament anglers, were two of those to get a call.
The Rheas talked and agreed if Carlisle had a chance of surviving, he would need to be found before morning. So they called another local friend and angler, Jeremy Burg,e who picked up a buddy in Anacoco and the four met at Pirates Cove Marina at 11:30 p.m. to begin the late night search. 
They had planned to search all night and join the others at dawn. Acting on info about where Carlisle normally had his catfish lines, the two large bass boats with two-man teams began covering the area. 
They calculated as best they could the possible time of an accident and wind drift as to possible location.
Burge stated that he used his GPS to keep from covering the same area over and over. Fortunately for the victim, around 1 a.m., Steve and Eddie Rhea heard a faint cry in the darkness so they shut off their motor to get a better bearing on the sound. 
Pointing their Q-Beam light in that direction, they see Carlisle who had crawled up on top of his capsized aluminum boat. By cell phone, the Rheas called Burge to let them know the news and soon family members were contacted.
The cold, wet, exhausted angler told rescuers that waves had knocked him off the top of his boat several times and he was not sure he would have been able to climb back up another time. 
Hypothermia had started to set in, so Carlisle was hospitalized for several days but he has fully recovered. Hats off to such second mile efforts of these fellow anglers. A life was likely saved. 
All of those involved, which I have contacted, agree it was both prayers as well as human efforts which brought about such a happy ending to a very dangerous situation.  
I personally find it comforting to know there are those fellow anglers who will get out of bed on a cold, dark, windy night to search for a human in need. Don Carlisle is yet another name you could certainly include on your 'to call' list.                     
BASS: Late fall and early winter bass patterns on the Bend find bass hitting on a variety of lures and patterns. Actually, there are bass currently located shallow, mid-depths, as well as deep.  
I am basically targeting grass ridges, points as well as major coves with creeks or ditches where bass can follow bait fish out of main lake. Most days and early mornings, we are fishing Stanley spinnerbaits (three-eighths oz./double willowleaf) early as well as a mid-diving crankbaits with Berkley's Frenzy and Norman's DLN being my two favorite.
I work the spinners over the grass and the crankbaits along the outside edge of the grassline. At times, we have to slow down and pitch a Texas rig or jig along the edge of the grass. 
As day gets brighter, we will switch to a Berkley or Stanley football jig and DD22 (Norman's Deep Diving crankbait) and move out to 15-25 feet and work main points, creeks and ditches. In addition, a jigging spoon and drop shot can be worked with succcess from depths of 25-40 feet.
CRAPPIE: When weather moderates between cold fronts, the crappie fishing has been excellent. Ben Vincent, an Army veteran from Leesville, catches more crappie from the bank than any angler I know. 
He sent me photos of some of the biggest crappie as a group I have seen this season. Vincent is basically an artifical lure angler and has been catching his white perch just before and after sunrise in about 8-12 feet of water along the edge of grass. The news from the Chicken Coop is that it hasn't happenned yet. 
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 and by going to his website at