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By Capt. Dickie Colburn
For the Record 

Slight Change In Tactics Helps


Last updated 3/30/2021 at 7:09pm

I don’t think that we are quite there, but it is evident that the spawn is at the very least in the final stages on both Rayburn and Toledo Bend. Smaller males and females can be seen running the banks in the back end of virtually every major creek and while that final rush to propagate affords the easiest bite of the year, it serves up very few trophy fish. Even if you have the patience and determination to target deeper water, you will still be hard-pressed to earn a swing at a life time best. What you can do, however, is greatly enhance your chances of catching a higher percentage of three to five pound fish. If your bass fishing is strictly a catch and release deal anyway, why not target those stockier fish. If you are a tournament fisherman, they are just what the Doctor ordered!

Ernie Sensat has been fishing that program for the past two weeks and the wind is the only thing that has slowed him down. I pulled a trailer

to the lake for him last week and earned four hours of better than average catching while fishing the south end of Toledo Bend. I don’t know how many fish we caught, but Ernie managed to unexpectedly fool two fish in the seven pound class. “Those are the first fish I have caught over five pounds exploiting this deeper pattern,” said Sensat, “but at the same time I have caught very few fish under three pounds.”Eight to twelve feet of water, whether it be on the far end of a main lake point or a break on a major flat, has absolutely been the most productive depth. We fished several spots before finishing off his only pack of plum colored Brush Hogs and I don’t think we caught a single bass under three pounds. We fished a Carolina Rig with a half-ounce weight exclusively, but fished it on an 18 to 24-inch leader. I seldom fish anything shorter than three feet, but Ernie is convinced that the extra foot does you no good when there is no grass present. His boat….his program…it worked. As a rule, the larger post-spawn bass will return to these staging areas to recoup, but Ernie says that he thinks that happened much quicker than usual due to the freeze. “Because the fish I am catching at that depth are so heathy, I believe there is plenty of food, but the big females just aren’t there. Tuesday, I talked with Eddie Hudson who is currently enjoying working from his lake house due to the pandemic and he agrees with Sensat’s findings. “I can catch smaller bass back in the creeks, but the bite I have most enjoyed is taking place on the deeper breaks.” While technique and choice of lures are basically the same, he is spending most of his time probing the deeper drains on the outside edge of flats. “My wife and I are not filling the boat, but the fish we are catching are all quality bass. ”He is obviously as pleased with her new-found addiction to waiting out the next bite as the bite itself! I promised not to share their secret color, but I spoke with a couple of local anglers Monday evening that were convinced that they had bought every Lil John in that color from Lake Charles to Beaumont. What was most surprising was they had been unable to make local bass eat any other color in that bait. That little non-descript four inch tail was designed to catch saltwater fish and it does, but the bass apparently like it as well. “We have

fished the Neches, the Sabine and every bayou in between,” stated the more talkative of the two, “and it’s the same color everywhere. It may well be the color as there was certainly nothing magic about the way they were fishing it. They were rigging it with the hook exposed on an eighth-ounce head with a 2/0 hook. They were either swimming it just outside floating vegetation or bouncing it off the bottom in the drains. They both said the only day they failed to catch bass last week was the day they were running the road looking for more Lil Johns. They wouldn’t elaborate on the size of the bass they were catching, but did say that a lot of them were still carrying eggs. That has to be encouraging news for the Bassmaster Elite pros headed this way next week!


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