The team of Chris McCall and Clayton Boulware fished the north end of Rayburn Saturday and earned the first place check in the Anglers Quest Rayburn event with a very solid 19.48 pounds. The team of Cory Rambo of Orange and Rusty Clark of Sam Rayburn ran north as well and finished right on their heels with 18.43 pounds.

Rambo and Clark fished a River 2 Sea Frog and Carolina rigged plastics in one to eight feet of water to cull their five fish bag out of 20 keeper bass. In earning the second place check the incredibly consistent duo also nailed down their fourth consecutive Angler of the Year title!

The next big event for Rambo and Clark, as well as the other qualifying Anglers Quest teams, is the team championship to be hosted on Rayburn in September. The popular circuit will then hold its Tournament of Champions on Lake Falcon in October.

While on the subject of bass fishing, virtually every tournament fisherman I have talked with lately agrees that the catching is much easier on Toledo Bend right now than Rayburn. There has been a very dependable bite in the shallows both early and late with Frogs, small topwaters and Whacky Worms, but the deeper structure has been the ticket for larger fish.

“We have been fishing 20 to 22 feet deep on points of grass during the day and at night and catching bass up to eight pounds for the past two weeks,” said Albert Penney. “We are fishing mostly jigs in the middle of the day and 10-inch worms and lizards at night. The key in the day has been to fish the very tip end of these underwater points and at night we are doing better sitting shallow and dragging the worm out of the deeper water.”

Caleb Johns has owned a camp on Toledo Bend since 1971 and he thinks the fishing right now is even better than it was in the 70’s and 80’s. “I probably caught more bass back then, but any bass over seven pounds got mounted. I’ve got two teenage grandsons that have already caught bass over nine pounds this summer!”

Johns credits the low lake level last year for making the big bass more susceptible to being caught. The same deep structure that we used to do well on even before there was grass in the lake is once again holding numbers of better fish for us,” says Johns. “The vegetation seems to be thicker on those key spots and any hard structure like a log or brush is like a magnet.”

Carlton Vines credits the crappie fishermen for his night fishing success this summer.“We were fishing school bass along a deep break off a major flat in July when we noticed two brush piles on the graph in 24 feet of water. I don’t know if they are doing any good on the crappie on them during the day, but the bass have been there most every night.”

Vines added that they have also done better at times bouncing a single spin spinnerbait through the brush piles. “I had never fished a spinnerbait that deep before, but they will eat it when they won’t have anything to do with a worm or lizard.”

The wind has been the only problem for Sabine Lake fishermen over the past few days. Both the trout and redfish are schooling in the open lake, but they can be hard to spot in white caps. I don’t know why, but catching on the north end of the lake is still slower than it is down south. The water is in good shape, but we are not seeing nearly as much bait on the surface.

Until you find yourself right smack in the middle of an acre of redfish hammering shad and shrimp on the surface you haven’t experienced chaotic fishing. If you can witness that from a few feet away and not get hooked on fishing it is time to pursue a cheaper and more comfortable pastime!

Make no mistake about it, if you can reach them you can catch them on anything in the tackle box, but I especially enjoy lobbing a She Dog into the fray just to witness the ensuing explosion. The liability in doing so, however, can be two-fold. Too many times, a second redfish will grab the exposed hook which usually results in a broken line or you eventually spend a considerable amount of time trying to dig two sets of treble hooks out of their rubbery maw.

There is a solution, however, for those of you that suffer from the same addiction. Once the schooling activity starts in early August, I exchange the front and rear treble hooks on a She Dog for a pair of Mustad 2/0 live bait hooks. Lower coast anglers make the same adjustment to better fish their way through floating grass, but I like the single hook simply because it is much easier and safer to remove.

That same setup is also a bonus when dealing with trout. How many anglers have had a treble hook buried in their hand or some other body part by a flouncing trout? And the smaller trout are the worst. The best you can hope for is that only one of the treble hooks is entangled in the net when all is said and done.

Give it a try with one of your own topwaters and spend more of your time catching!