Last updated 3/17/2020 at Noon

After mistakenly assuming that everyone in Orange was in line buying toilet paper in WalMart, I was dismayed to find that the remaining folks were all trying to renew driver’s licenses.That immediately prompted a drive to Jasper as I was running out of time with no guarantee that anything would be open the following day.

The best part of a short wait was listening to a handful of resident fishermen discussing the current status of bass fishing on Sam Rayburn.“I caught a couple of big bass in February,” said one of the anglers, “but I have had more slow days than good ones so far.” After several others agreed with his assessment, the general consensus was that the culprit was fishing pressure.“I don’t know how many tournaments they have every year, but there is a tournament going on at the main launches every weekend,” added a fishermen that had participated in at least two in the past month.

“Our bass just get pounded and I think that even catch and release kills a few, but most of them are just hiding in deeper water,” suggested the most vocal of the group.“I have never caught this many fish on a Carolina rig working deep breaks and I am still giving the Trap and Wacky worms a chance on occasion.” “We didn’t have a winter this year,” offered the most disgruntled of the group and every weekend it looks like Big Bass Splash.

I went to a weigh-in last month and there were five hundred teenagers fishing that tournament.

The majority of those kids can flat out fish!” More than once, Todd Driscoll’s name came up as the veteran bass fisherman and Parks and Wildlife biologist is the most trusted word on bass fishing on both Rayburn and Toledo Bend.

He apparently did a two part interview recently for You Tube and discussed the department’s findings of late.Todd has been in this area a long time and has seen the good and the bad on both reservoirs as far as the bass population is concerned.When Driscoll speaks….anglers listen! We have seen lake conditions change drastically in a very short period of time and I think that has contributed to making things more difficult than fronts, etc.Toledo Bend went from a “watch out” level to darn near full in a couple of weeks and that always moves the bass.If nothing else, it definitely leaves many anglers enamored with all of the newly flooded ambush spots.In many cases, they are sitting on top of the bass they are hunting! There is no better example of how scattered the bass are than two tournament days Russell Bottley and Melvin Dunn experienced last weekend.“We were just luckier than we deserve, but we caught enough bass over the two days to finish third in the tournament.” “Pattern……what is a pattern?” Russell said.“The first day we were all but done with a couple of swimmers in the livewell only to finish with a limit we caught in the last few minutes.We knew we were lucky, but we were still in the hunt!” Russell said that strictly out of frustration, one of them was fishing deep and the other was fishing shallow and they both caught bass that contributed to the cause.If they were lucky the first day, it only got more bizarre the next day.

“We ran right back to the bank where we caught the fish the day before and the bass just weren’t there.We were trying to decide if we were going to wait it out or hunt another bite,” when the bass started schooling right behind us,” said Bottley.“A couple of those bass were in the three pound class and once again we looked like we knew what we were doing.” If they hadn’t already exhausted more than their fair share of good luck, Bottley was, as he described it, fishing like an old man when a four pound kicker inhaled his Wacky Worm.“Melvin was working his tail off and I just threw the worm out behind the boat and let it sink.As soon as I set the hook I knew it was a good fish!” Dunn and Bottley weren’t the only fishermen with much the same reports last weekend.Dave Narbry and Cole Lentz won a small tournament with a twenty-six pound stringer and they caught their five keepers on a crankbait, a Carolina rigged lizard and a Wacky rigged Lil’ John.“Cole caught out seven pounder on the Lil John in four feet of water, but the rest of our bass were scattered in 12 to 18 feet of water.” No “wrong” lures right now!


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