“For more than two months my fishing partner and I planned a fishing
trip to Toledo Bend hoping to catch a bass over seven pounds,” said Paul
Degeter.“We decided back in December to fish the Bend because all the
good reports were coming from there.”

They planned their trip around everything from high school proms to
dance recitals, booked a room in Jasper and spent the past two months
reading reports and buying baits they had never fished.“Toledo Bend
didn’t look a whole lot like the Atchafalaya,” pointed out Degeter.

When the duo left New Iberia it was 70 degrees with a light south
wind.When they unloaded their truck at the motel it was starting to
rain, the wind had switched around and the thermometer on the dash board
was reading 54 degrees. The rain was just getting started!

“The lady at the tackle shop told us not to worry about the weather and
that we would probably do better on Rayburn than Toledo Bend.Two guys
had just won a tournament with five bass weighing almost fifty pounds
the weekend before,” said Degeter.

“We bought the crankbaits and lizards she suggested and drove over to
the Twin Dykes launch.We didn’t even get out of the truck,” added
Degeter.“I’ve seen a few big boat wakes, but never a real wave in the
Basin and there was no doubt that we needed a lot more boat just to get
to the area she suggested we fish.”

The weather only worsened so they launched at Fin and Feather and pinned
their hopes on the protected shorelines in the back of Housen. “We only
caught six bass in two and a half days,” said Degeter, “but Lawrence
caught a 7-pounds 3-ounce fish.”

“We were too embarrassed to weigh it at the Marina, but our friends at
home think it was a big deal.” His final assessment of their
well-planned, but disappointing adventure, was that Lawrence’s fish was
at least big enough to earn them another trip next year.”

Rayburn got the nod for next year after they learned on the way home
that Anthony Sharpe had won a tournament with 40-pounds on the last day
they fished Toledo Bend. “I don’t know what we are going to do with
these big crankbaits and half pound slip sinkers until then,” concluded
Degeter.Our poor little bass in the Basin would run from a bait that big!”

Judging by the information shared by the anglers that posted both the
five fish 49-pound catch and the five fish 40 pound catch, there are
still a lot of impatient big bass camped on deeper staging
areas.Carolina rigged plastics and deep diving crankbaits accounted for
all of those big fish.

Even more encouraging is the fact that so many of those big sows came
out of very tight areas.When you are catching 8 to 12 ½ pound bass cast
after cast without burning gas, it would lead you to believe that the
big bass population is in good shape on Rayburn.

The deeper pattern is very much the same on Toledo Bend as well.While
covering as much 3 to 7 feet of water will occasionally produce a shot
at a lifetime best, your odds increase dramatically when fishing deeper
staging area.

Remember…..these bass haven’t even decided where to build their
beds.They are just ganging up in small areas waiting to start their
search. When they are holding on these deeper breaks, a Carolina rigged
lizard or brush hog is hard to beat.When they move up in the nearest
shallow water to hunt, a deep diving crankbait or larger lipless
crankbait gets the nod.

Properly fishing either of these techniques is best learned fishing with
someone that has fished them for a while.Giving yourself the best chance
of success includes choosing not only the best lure, but rod, reel and
line as well.Both size and type of line are critical and this certainly
is not a case of “one size fits all.”Braid has its advantages when
fishing the Carolina rig or a jig while mono or fluorocarbon will
breathe life into a Crankbait.

I would recommend shopping a more fisherman-friendly tackle shop like
Rambo’s to minimize the learning curve.The anglers shopping these
smaller more personalized stores are not simply killing time while the
wife mills through less appealing aisles and, at the very least, the
person manning the cash register can tell you what folks are spending
their money on!