With Sabine all but off limits to local anglers due a solid week of blistering wind, there were more bay boats headed north than south on Hwy 87. The wind didn’t make it any easier on Toledo Bend and Rayburn, but both the bass and crappie were far more cooperative than Sabine lake trout.

“After three weeks of just wearing the bass out on Traps and spinner baits we spent most of last week Whacky worming the scattered grass from Arnold’s Bay to Toro,” reported John Lyle.“My wife, Jeanine, caught an 8. 74 pounder Tuesday, but most of our fish were in the 2 to 4-pound class.”

Sam and Dillon Pack stopped crappie catching long enough for Dillon to catch his first double digit bass.“We crappie fished all day and bass fished the night after the full moon,” said Dillon. “I think I missed that same fish on a Chatter Bait, but Dillon caught her two casts later with a black Fliptail creature.”

They took a quick picture and put her right back in the water as bass fishing isn’t their thing anyway. “She may have weighed ten pounds,” Sam stated nonchalantly, “but our little scale bottomed out at ten pounds.”

They caught that big fish in one of the coves off Indian Mounds.Don’t rush out looking for a pack of Fliptail creatures either as they haven’t been around for years. They are shaped like a bulked up lizard with a swimming tail and they were exceptionally lethal when rigged weedless and fished on top.

The crappie bite has been one for the ages this year and it is still going on. “I have owned a camp on Toledo Bend for 29 years,” said Larry Bryant, “and I can never recall catching and releasing crappie, but we have filleted enough and are just having fun now. When we first started fishing the lake it was this good for several years, but the crappie weren’t this big.It has just been unreal!”

While the shallow bite is usually over by now, they are still catching crappie in the back end of the wooded creeks in four to six feet of water. That bite has been markedly better in the late afternoon hours. Steve and Leah Fuller have been fishing only the evenings in the Six Mile area and they are still averaging 20 to 30 fish each trip using chartreuse Road Runners with a red head.

The pattern that has gotten even hotter, however, has been strolling the scattered moss in 10 to 12 feet with 1/16th ounce tube jigs. Black- chartreuse, blue-silver, and opening night have been some of the most productive color combinations. Dale Cross says he is still relying on the same old 1/8th ounce chartreuse curl tail jig to keep him and the grandkids in the crappie almost every day. Dale fishes the Indian Creek area and says the bite down there really started improving for him early last week.

Apparently Sam Rayburn is equally hot. Trey Smith reported that he and Hunter Gothia earned a paycheck for a 21st place finish in a Bass Champs tournament held on Rayburn on the 19th. Had it not been for one dead bass that cost them a pound penalty they would have finished seven places higher. Rusty Clark and Cory Rambo finished right behind them in 24th place and also cashed a check.

It took a whopping 29 pounds to win the tournament and while he was pleased with their finish, Trey was far more excited about the catching in general. “It is usually hard enough just to limit in any tournament, but I know Hunter and I caught at least 40 bass over the course of the day. ”He added that they caught most of their fish on Texas rigged lizards and Traps.

In the event that you cannot get on the water this weekend, the First Baptist Church is hosting a wild game dinner and outdoor social on MLK that makes missing out on fishing more bearable. The food is just incredibly good and the aroma alone will have you standing in line as soon as you can get the truck parked!

The pre-dinner fellowship starts around 3 p.m. and includes not only plenty of time to swap fishing and hunting stories, but features a big screen television running videos of fishing on area lakes, a presentation by Texas Fish and Game editor, Chester Moore, and drawings for some great prizes as well. They’ll start the eating part about 5:00.

I attended the inaugural event last year and it went so well that most of the folks were already talking about this year’s edition before they were even through eating. I am doing my best to reschedule some things just to try two dishes that I didn’t even see last year until I was already stuffed. I also enjoyed discussing fishing and catching techniques at the first wild game dinner and look forward to doing the same if I can get there again!

Doug Patterson says there are a limited number of tickets available only because they have to have some idea of how much food to prepare. If you like eating more good stuff than you should while visiting with folks that love the outdoors, it’s the best $5 ticket in town. For more information you can call the FBC office at 866-7461.