Shanna Sheppard used a TTF flats minnow to catch this solid slot red!

The Tuesday afternoon turnout for Simon Outfitter’s river bass tournament was by far the smallest of the year, but thunder storms were more of a deterrent than the prospects of tough fishing. The fourteen teams that elected to try and out navigate the inclement weather still managed to find at least a few bass in the weekly shoot out.

Ironically enough, George Diaz and Travis Smith posted one of the best catches of the year with three bass that weighed in at 5.12 pounds. Second place money went to Jim Foster and Thomas O’Neill with 1.46 pounds.

While most of the folks in this area have been cashing in on a very good trout bite on Sabine, the bass fishing on both Rayburn and Toledo Bend has still been well worth the ninety minute trek north. In the recent Elite series tournament on T-Bend it took 83 pounds to win it all and on the first day alone, 64 pros weighed in at least 10-pounds!

Saturday, the Louisiana team of Todd Littleton and Daniel Chambers won $20,000 in the final event of the eastern region of Skeeter’s Bass Champs series on Sam Rayburn. The duo brought in five bass that weighed 27.11-pounds. Orange angler Cory Rambo and his partner, Rusty Clark, finished tenth and earned a $1000 check for their effort, but on a far more impressive note, sealed the deal on another angler of the year title.

Rambo and Clark finished in the money in all five events and won the title by 70 points which was the biggest point differential in Bass Champs history. While they never finished higher than third in one of the five events, it was their consistency that earned them the title.In the five events they finished 8th , 5th , 3rd , 18th and 10th .In the previous 33 tournaments they fished prior to Saturday they finished in the money 30 times!

The bass are not the only game in town either as the crappie have been on a tear as well. I fished Joe Slavik and his dad on Sabine last week and he said they have really done well on the big crappie on Toledo Bend over the past couple of weeks. They are fishing brush tops exclusively and he said their most productive crappie magnets were in 20 to 25 feet of water. I was a little surprised that they are still catching most of their fish on jigs rather than shiners.

They apparently have a pretty good bite going on with yellow bass and white bass on the Bend as well according to Johnny Breaux, but his wife, Christie, is the only one that can confirm that. She gave Johnny her lucky spoon and pointed him in the right direction after just hammering the fish last week, but he couldn’t catch a single fish. To make matters even worse, he foul hooked a shad and rather than take it off the hook he lowered spoon and all right back over the side. It immediately got slammed by the biggest largemouth Johnny said he had ever seen.

As expected, when you are on a roll like that, he lost the fish right at the boat and the shad as well. You might want to talk to Christie personally for a more accurate report on how and where to catch the tasty pan fish!

The trout bite on Sabine has just been out the roof and the flounder bite is surprisingly good as well, but the redfish have still been a little difficult to pattern. Very few local anglers are taking the time to target the bigger trout as schools of 15 to 20 inch trout are chasing both shrimp and shad all over the lake.

I have not seen the trout hold and continue biting after the surface activity ceases this well in a long time. Even with a moderate wind, the more consistent catches are coming well after the gulls abandon the area. The best case scenario is to be able to spot bait on the surface, but even that hasn’t been necessary most days.

Rather than run all over the lake and compete with other anglers for a few casts under the gulls simply put the troll motor down and continue to make long blind casts after the gulls leave. A one-eighth ounce head makes it easier to effectively cover the entire water column and we will speed up or slow down our retrieve until we find the fish.

We are also locating solid schools of fish with the Kwik Cork and a 4-inch Paddle tail plastic like the Sea Shad or Flats Minnow. The color name depends on the brand of plastic you prefer, but slammin’ chicken, geaux gleaux, glow chartreuse and needle fish have all worked well lately. Rather than continuing to drift once you catch that first fish, plant your Falcon or Power Pole or any kind of anchor and make repeated casts.

Capt. Johnny prefers to locate these same trout with a topwater lure like the Super Spook and, more often than not, catches larger trout using the larger bait. The only negative is that trying to corral a flouncing school trout with two sets of treble hooks flailing about can be risky business. Brian Sandow spent a painful portion of one morning last week with one impaled in the palm of his hand!

Hopefully, the scattered thunderstorms forecast for this week will be very scattered and we can continue to take advantage of a very good bite.