The email read as follows, “I have a great fishing report on Toledo Bend. If you are interested give me a call….Troy Woodall. I couldn’t return the call quickly enough knowing the retired Bridge City educator has logged countless summer nights over the years in the pursuit of Toledo Bend bass and I immediately knew “great” had to be, well……at least darned good!

When I learned that he had been an active participant in the report, I knew that it had to be especially good for him to deem it worthy of an email. As it turned out, according to Troy, he was actually more of a proud spectator than participant. “I can tell you this,” he was quick to point out, “I am one heck of a netter!”

Troy and his son, Leslie, chose the Wednesday night option to fish a local bass club tournament last week and it proved to be possibly the best fishing decision either of the Woodall’s has ever made.

“Leslie found the spot last month during the full moon and caught two very nice fish,” stated Troy. “We were fishing a new moon Wednesday night and there was even less light, but the fish were back on that same piece of structure looking for a black neon lizard.”

The father-son duo anchored up shallow, casting out to a deeper grass break. Leslie’s first fish was a solid three pound bass and a good start in any tournament, but the next fish provided an adrenalin rush that would last all night. “He said it felt like a big fish when he stuck her,” laughed Troy, “but I never expected to slide the net under a 9-pound 14-ounce bass.”

Had they never gotten another bite the night would have been unforgettable, but Leslie was just getting started. By the time he had filled his five bass limit, he had added three more fish weighing six, seven, and eight pounds to the live well. To say the very least, his 34-pound stringer posed a considerable challenge for the members of the club yet to fish the weekend date!

While Dad was admittedly overwhelmed by his son’s performance, it wasn’t like he just sat idly by with the net. “I only caught three bass, but they weighed 11-pounds and I missed one heck of a fish as well”, added Troy. “I have been bass club fishing since the early 70’s and I have never seen anything like that.”

It was a tough and unpredictable week of fishing for me on Sabine Lake last week. There was very little wind most days granting us access to all of the lake, but it was so hot that we had to dip the net in the lake before grabbing the aluminum handle!

We did well with artificials only two days out of the entire week, but the folks fishing live shrimp were much more consistent. I have seen a growing number of local anglers using live shrimp on the north end this year and they have done well while others failed to catch the first trout with mullet or shad.

Over the years I have had clients that struggled to fish artificials effectively opt to fish a plastic bodied jig under a Kwik Cork or Mauler and do very well. The cork keeps their lure in the strike zone the duration of the cast with less effort. We add a little Bang scent to the lure and the slurping noise created by occasionally popping the cork draws strikes when other techniques often fail.

Last winter I even had wade fishermen that did not cast well, catch personal best trout fishing both a Corky and a 5-inch Assassin under the cork. That was a first time experiment for me. I bring that up only because we once again caught fish last week using a lure designed to be retrieved rather than the jig under the Cork.

Johnny Cormier told me last year that he had caught a few fish while drifting a Crazy Croaker, which is a small soft plastic crankbait, under a Cork. With that in mind and quickly running out of finger mullet, I rigged a firetiger Spoiler Shad under a Cork and the trout ate it better than the live bait. The shad shaped lure was designed to be fished much the same way as a lipless crankbait.

The Crème Spoiler Shad is more durable than most of the other versions and that is important when you are dealing with fish with teeth unless money is no problem. I have not had a problem finding them of late at area Wal-Marts, but I am often too late to find more than one or two colors. Perhaps I should shop more often and fish less!

A word of caution…….Do not get out on the lake without far more bottled water in the ice chest than you thought you would ever need. Cover up with sunscreen and wear a hat and sunglasses. You do not realize how hot it is until you are already there and that is too late!