BULLETIN: We recently sold our 2016 FX 21 and have just ordered a new one. I have had over 25 bass boats and nothing performs better than a Skeeter FX. I just ordered my 8th 21 FX. Can't wait till it comes in...I still get as excited as a kid waiting for my new rig.
BASS: Looks like we will go into late summer with more water and less grass than normal. Most years at late August the lake level is 168’ to 170’. Currently the level is 171.39’. We did get a good bit of rain recently all over Toledo's watershed and generating has been more than normal since the lake level is higher. It won't be long before we start to get some cool fronts and with nights longer the mornings are cooler and the bass start to be more active.
Top water patterns are excellent currently and if we can have a cloudy day the fish will hit on top all day. My favorite top water tools includes a Gun Fish (Lucky Craft), Yellow Magic and Pro Pop (Bill Norman). One thing that all three of these baits have in common is a feathered tail. The Gun Fish and Yellow Magic come with a real feather treble hook on the back but the Prop Pop comes with a synthetic one which I always switch out. You can purchase a two pack of actual feathered treble hook for about $6. In the clear waters of Toledo, I think the actual feathers on the rear treble hook make a big difference over the synthetic version.
When you pause your lure, the feathers continue to move ever so life like. I catch numerous bass during the pause. My topwater rig consist of a 7’2 inch Fenwick Elite rod with medium action with medium tip action. My reel is a Abu Revo baitcast spooled with 15 lb. test Big Game monofilament line. Big Game is very affordable and I like mono line for top water applications as mono has some stretch which allows the bass a split second more to completely take the lure before you pull it out of its mouth. The Gun Fish (mentioned earlier) can be either “walked” or with a popping cadence.
I walk it at about 75% since that has worked best for me and seems to generate strikes form larger fish. Schooling activity is also great currently and who doesn’t get excited when a school of a hungrey bass are feeding all around your boat. I have my best schooling activity in the back 50% of a main creek. After the first couple of cool fronts in September, bass will follow baitfish (shad) to the backs of major creeks which is a normal migration. They will also go on a feeding frenzy because they know that winter isn’t far away. My schooling tools in September consist of the top water lures previously mentioned plus small/medium sized crankbaits in shad patterns.
I also have good luck on tail spinners (Little George) as well as jigging spoons. Sometimes the school will come up over a major creek that may be 20-30 feet. When they stop feeding on top I don’t leave the area as the fish are still close. I will keep my head in my Humminbird Helix 12 and find the school and then drop the Tail spinner and spoon down to them.
Another of my ‘go to rigs’ late August is a Texas rigged Havoc Bottom Hopper. Often I will start fishing it at first light on a main lake or main creek point. I like for that point to have deep water nearby as those points have the bigger bass since the big fish don’t have far to go to feed. I will start as shallow as 4’ at first light.
I use 17 lb Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon with a medium heavy 7’ Veritas rod and a Revo MTX reel with a Berkley Fusion 3/0 offset hook. I work the Bottom Hopper slowly with lots of pauses (dead sticking) and some days the only way they will hit it when it is still. The Bottom Hooper has a super feature as the tail floats so when its sitting still the tail moves slowly upward which is a very natural movement that often triggers a bite. I use a light lead from 1/8 to ¼ oz. but mostly use a 3/16 sinker.
CRAPPIE/YELLOW BASS : Crappie guide, Jack Adams, who fishes the Pendleton Bridge/San Miguel/1215 areas has had a super summer for Crappie. He continues to catch crappie in his brush piles in 20-28 feet with best bait being live shiners. The main bridges are also holding crappie with early morning, late afternoon and after dark all productive times.
Yellow bass are also being caught on brush piles with shiners. In addition, they will school with largemouth bass which is where I catch the most of them. Yellows are great table fare. I catch’em with small crankbaits and small spoons.
Joe Joslin is a syndicated writer and is published by numerous websites, newspapers and magazines plus is a pro guide on Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn and a TPWD licensed guide since 1998. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org, 337-463-3848/409-565-1288 and website www.joejoslinoutdoors.com.