HIGH WATER SLOWS LOCAL BITE
Last updated 4/14/2020 at Noon
The recent cool snap and more water than we need in both the river and bayous forced local fishermen to search for a productive Plan B.In some cases, simply launching the boat required rolling up the jeans in order to get the boat off the trailer and the water was a little on the cool side!
A number of anglers found that while higher water makes it much easier to access local marshes it does not equate with a good bite.Prior to the SRA opening the gates at Toledo Bend and a howling south wind combining to put at least another foot of water in the marshes, the bite had been about as good as it had been all year long.
The extra water scattered the bait and redfish cruising the shallow grass were hard to spot until you were right on top of them.That is too late!
Even the bass bite slowed down and I didn’t think that was possible as long as the water clarity held up.Everything from Wacky worms to shallow running square bills have been fooling not only 12 to 15-inch bass, but slot reds as well.
Easily, one of the most productive lures for this type fishing is an unweighted lizard Texas rigged.Every strike is a happening, the lure casts well in the wind and it is weedless.Even when the fish are not blowing it up on the surface they will often eat it as it slowly sinks in open pockets.
Any one of the numerous makes of plastic Frogs work just as well or better as long as the fish are attacking the lure on the surface, but the Frog does not work as well when allowed to sink.Aside from the fact that the fish like them, the most user-friendly feature is that color does not mean nearly as much when fishing the shallow marshes as it does on the deeper impoundments.
Even with the Frog, I have yet to find a color they will not hit when slowly retrieved over the grass and pads.As a matter of fact, I throw both used frogs and lizards that no longer work on Toledo Bend in a sandwich bag for use only in the marsh.Marsh fish are not nearly as finicky as their cousins concerning color or minor tears in the plastic.
Larry Germain said they had been doing very well fishing a Lil John Wacky rigged, but found that Texas rigging it and swimming it on the surface was deadly as well.They are using the larger Lil” John as it is slightly heavier, but still have to fish it on spinning gear.Larry said they are fishing it on 12 pound braid with a couple of feet of 15-pound fluorocarbon leader.
The wind has made it much tougher the past few days, but the handful of folks wading the Louisiana shoreline on Sabine Lake have been catching some very solid trout.Gerald Matthews called to say that he and his brother easily caught five fish limits twice last week and on both occasions caught at least one trout in the six pound class.
“I was beginning to think that we would never see trout like that again,” said Matthews.“We have caught a few fish swimming plastics, but every fish over four pounds has hit a pearl colored jerk bait.Once we pull it down we are not allowing it to ever get back to the surface.They are just crushing it when they strike!”
Gerald added that the pearl color worked better for them in the off-colored water.They had also done well with pink, but pearl was “The Color” last week.
While Governors’ orders have restricted border crossings due to the pandemic, there are still plenty of anglers chasing the tail end of the spawn on Toledo Bend.There is currently enough water exiting the lake due to generating and gates cracked open a foot or so to move the fish a little on the south end of the lake.
Darrell LeBlanc said their better fish were holding on the down current side of points regardless of wind direction and he only sees that happen when there is a little current in the lake.He fishes only the south end and adds, “It’s not like flood water pouring down a creek, but you can see the stringy grass bent over beneath the surface.”
He is still catching most of his bass, nothing big, on Wacky worms and said that his crappie bite is picking up again on his brush piles.Strolling the grass is becoming little more than a fond memory!