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Last updated 2/25/2020 at Noon

“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!


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