YOUR WINDOW IS CLOSING
Invariably, just about the time you feel like the spawn is possibly in full swing….it’s already winding down.That hasn’t happened as of yet thanks to a colder than usual winter and higher than usual lake levels.The window is, however, rapidly closing on cashing in on your best opportunity to fool a double digit bass.
Regardless of your skill level and tenacity, you still have to be a tad lucky to make your dream of catching that bass of a life time a reality.Your chances of putting your lure in front of that coveted largemouth greatly increase when there are more fish that size in the water you have chosen to fish.In lakes the size of Toledo Bend and Rayburn, being able to eliminate any water deeper than six to eight feet deep helps and that is exactly what happens during the spawn.
The genetically superior female bass do not wait on short sleeve weather to deposit their coveted off spring in shallower water.In fact, their urge to spawn is triggered more by the length of the day than water temperature.Thus the reason so many big fish are duped in the slightly cooler months of late January and February than March and April.
Seldom, if ever, will you spot one of these fish cruising along in less than four feet of water. Unless they are ambushing an easy meal or off-loading another generation of bass, they spend most of their time in the safer confines of the nearest deep water.I have never spooked a big bass and seen her jump out on the bank when frightened.In every case they casually eased off in the cover of deeper water!
The creation of power plant lakes and the stocking of Florida bass drastically changed bass fishing in Texas, more specifically length of the spawn.Obviously, more big fish than Texas anglers had ever had a shot at was the most significant change, but the Power plant lakes immediately extended the length of time available to take advantage of the spawn.
I was guiding full time on Toledo Bend when this all started and never had the time, inclination or money to chase one fish all over east Texas, but a number of bass fishermen that I knew did just that and were very successful.They would start in December on the power plant lakes, move to Rayburn and Toledo Bend a little later and finish up on Lake Fork as the weather continued to warm.When Lake Fork started yielding incredible numbers of huge bass, they spent the majority of their time there, but Toledo Bend has stolen some of that thunder over the past few years.
So…now that the conditions are more favorable and you can realistically eliminate ninety percent of the water, what else can you do to improve your chances?Aside from spending as much time on the water as possible, I advocate keeping your bait in four to six feet of water rather than shallower.
Should you be fortunate enough to locate the bass you are looking for protecting a bed in two or three feet of water I can’t blame you for burying the Power pole and trying to aggravate her into striking, but that approach can be both time consuming and frustrating.
For years I spent several days every spring fishing that program with Dr. John Lee on Houston County Lake and while we found more big fish than I ever saw on Toledo Bend, we caught very few of them.Aside from the fact that they were reluctant to bite, a kazillion other anglers also beat the same shorelines to death every day.The increased pressure factor is no different on Rayburn and T-Bend today.
Thus the reason for fishing slower in slightly deeper and less pressured water.At least on our closest major impoundments, that means fishing the water that most anglers sit over casting at the bank or fish the open water flats where more acreage is the right depth.When fishing these flats, an overlooked ditch or patch of grass can be a proverbial gold mine!
Fishing when other folks aren’t also works well.That means fishing these flats when it is a little too windy for most folks or fishing the shallow shorelines at night. The same fish that abandon their beds in the daytime will return at night.I cannot tell you how many times I eased away from the dock with clients at daylight when some of the best spawn fishermen I knew were just returning.
Your window is closing, but I believe you can still get it done on any of these lakes with a minor upgrade in your game plan!