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redboat

Changing tactics on Toledo Bend

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I love Toledo Bend lake so much that my wife and I bought a house on the lake.  Beautiful lake, pelicans, eagles, gators, deer.  We have a red fox who runs through the back yard every day or two.

We decided on this lake after fishing a lot of other lakes, and we did fairly well on TB.  Caught a couple of six pounders, several fives, and a lot of two, three, and four pounders.  But all that ended around 2015 when the fishing dried up, and things have been getting steadily worse year after year.  I go two or three times a week and am currently in the five fish a year club.  The last bass I caught was a two pounder the first week of May.

 

And so it finally dawned on me - I've been doing it all wrong, I need to change tactics!  Instead of fishing Carolina and Texas rigged plastics, spinner baits, jigs, and crankbaits around main and secondary points, humps, and stumps I've decided to switch to a new pattern.

 

My back porch is about 150 feet from the lake.  If I sit on it and throw a one ounce practice plug down the driveway I can get to within about 50 or 75 feet of the water, and catch just as many fish as before!  And, this pattern has other advantages:

 

* I can legally drink beer while I fish

* I don't need a sixty thousand dollar bass boat, a six dollar lawn chair works just as well

* I use a lot less gas (but produce more)

* If I get hung up I can just walk down and free it by hand

* I can yell 'Fish on!!!' from time to time just to watch the neighbors reactions

* I probably wont get a hook stuck in my thumb

 

Of course the wife can find me for 'honeydo's', but I've learned to fake being sound asleep so I can avoid most of that.  Anyway, I'll keep everyone posted on my progress, I'm hoping for a double digit bass!

 

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When the lake lost most of its "grass" the bass simply moved the anglers didn't!

 

Funny post anyway 😉

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9 hours ago, Catt said:

When the lake lost most of its "grass" the bass simply moved the anglers didn't!

 

Funny post anyway 😉

Or they beat what little grass is left.  Last time I was there they had a good bit of grass in the coves off Six Mile, but it was also loaded with boats.  I think I counted something like 14 boats fishing that first cove on the right as you pull into six mile.

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13 hours ago, Catt said:

When the lake lost most of its "grass" the bass simply moved the anglers didn't!

 

Funny post anyway 😉

I haven't seen any reports on the estimated number of bass in TB now compared to 2012-2014, when fishing was good; I don't even know if such a thing exists.  It'd be interesting to see, but I'll bet the current population is way down.  Like, 90% down.

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4 hours ago, redboat said:

I haven't seen any reports on the estimated number of bass in TB now compared to 2012-2014, when fishing was good; I don't even know if such a thing exists.  It'd be interesting to see, but I'll bet the current population is way down.  Like, 90% down.

The fish are still there, they just moved because of the lack of grass. 2 weeks ago I had a 200 fish day and 2 100 fish days.  In May we averaged probably 50-75 fish every trip. They are there, just have to look for them.

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18 hours ago, redboat said:

I haven't seen any reports on the estimated number of bass in TB now compared to 2012-2014, when fishing was good; I don't even know if such a thing exists.  It'd be interesting to see, but I'll bet the current population is way down.  Like, 90% down.

 

That's funny right there 😉

 

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I’m not catching nowhere near the numbers as bassfanatic but I’ve been catching more fish every year since 2015. I started when the lake was full of grass but I’ve had better luck with the lack of grass. 

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On 7/8/2019 at 3:19 PM, Bass_Fanatic said:

The fish are still there, they just moved because of the lack of grass. 2 weeks ago I had a 200 fish day and 2 100 fish days.  In May we averaged probably 50-75 fish every trip. They are there, just have to look for them.

This is a great site; I've found the articles and videos to be insightful and generally very helpful.  That said, statements like this are the reason I seldom read the boards.

 

So: 200 fish in one day, assuming you fished constantly for ten hours, say (probably not realistic) you would have had to average 20 bass an hour or about one fish every five minutes.  Not anywhere nearly realistic.

 

Of course you COULD have been fishing a five hook Alabama rig and pulling multiple fish with every cast - or possibly you were referring to seining minnows?  Or maybe there were 20 guys in the boat, and you each caught one an hour?

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16 hours ago, redboat said:

This is a great site; I've found the articles and videos to be insightful and generally very helpful.  That said, statements like this are the reason I seldom read the boards.

 

So: 200 fish in one day, assuming you fished constantly for ten hours, say (probably not realistic) you would have had to average 20 bass an hour or about one fish every five minutes.  Not anywhere nearly realistic.

 

Of course you COULD have been fishing a five hook Alabama rig and pulling multiple fish with every cast - or possibly you were referring to seining minnows?  Or maybe there were 20 guys in the boat, and you each caught one an hour?

Think what you want, but I can assure you this is true.  When you get on a huge school of feeding fish, it is very possible.  When they are eating, we double up almost every cast on spoons.  You can catch 50-100 fish a lot faster than you think. 

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On 7/8/2019 at 11:12 AM, redboat said:

I haven't seen any reports on the estimated number of bass in TB now compared to 2012-2014, when fishing was good; I don't even know if such a thing exists.  It'd be interesting to see, but I'll bet the current population is way down.  Like, 90% down.

 

That told me all I needed to know 😉

 

And yes the reports do exist and no the population aint down. Search Texas Parks and Wildlife not just on Google but actually do some old fashioned leg work.

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On 7/16/2019 at 3:55 PM, Catt said:

 

That told me all I needed to know 😉

 

And yes the reports do exist and no the population aint down. Search Texas Parks and Wildlife not just on Google but actually do some old fashioned leg work.

Think so?  So Catt: Caught any lately?

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1 hour ago, redboat said:

Think so?  So Catt: Caught any lately?

 

Yeah I caught the other 10% 😉

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Mr.Ken Smith’s videos recently had an interview with Texas biologist Todd Driscoll in which he stated the amount of bass that are caught and have a knife run through them at Toledo bend. I don’t remember they exact number but it’s a crazy high amount. That can’t be helping. I’m not trying to condemn eating fish by any means because I eat them myself. I don’t release fish for any other reason other than I feel I don’t need to kill every one I catch and I don’t need them for a tournament since I don’t tournament fish. I’m sure his numbers would show this trend in relationship to the days that fishing was better. 

 

These interview videos have a ton of interesting info in them and are well worth the time to watch. 

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13 hours ago, Catt said:

 

Yeah I caught the other 10% 😉

Did you catch all 200 on the same spot?

 

Look, apologies if this sounds like I'm maligning you but anyone who fishes TB regularly knows the lake is way off from when it really WAS a great fishery.  Rather than trying to insist nothing's changed or make wild claims about numbers I think it would be more productive to talk about things that could be done to bring TB back to what it once was.

 

Some suggestions:

 

1) Get SRA to agree to hold the level to 170 MSL plus or minus two feet, during the spawn.  I recently interviewed one of their senior Engineers, and yes, they can do that.  Enough letting it down ten feet to fix the dam then back up another ten the next week, that ruins the spawn;

2) While we're at it, how about no fishing during the spawn for a couple of years, to give the bass time to rebuild?  We had the same effect during the drought when almost all the launches were closed and nobody was fishing; that's why the years 2012 - 2013 immediately after the drought were spectacular;

3) How about developing a killer for Salvinia that wouldn't kill every form of vegetation EXCEPT Salvinia?  That might be nice;

4) How about replanting some of the Hydrilla beds, like the area around Carrice?  Several acres of Hydrilla were wiped out a couple of years ago by the Salvinia spraying, causing one of the best spots on TB to go to zero.

 

I'm certain other folks will have other suggestions.  Lets see what we can work together to do to bring Toledo Bend back.

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29 minutes ago, redboat said:

 

I'm certain other folks will have other suggestions.  Lets see what we can work together to do to bring Toledo Bend back

 

I'll put my trust in Todd Driscoll & his expertise as a biologist.

 

32 minutes ago, redboat said:

I recently interviewed one of their senior Engineers

 

What does an engineer know about fisheries biology?

 

34 minutes ago, redboat said:

While we're at it, how about no fishing during the spawn for a couple of years, to give the bass time to rebuild? 

 

Texas Parks and Wildlife has years of research data showing fishing during the spawn has little effect on the spawn. Are you aware that every year there is at least 500,000 fingerlings stocked into most Texas lakes?

 

3 & 4: Toledo Bend was an outstanding fishery before Hydrilla was mistakenly introduce into the lake. Many of the best anglers on this lake don't even fish "grass".

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23 hours ago, Walkerhuntfish said:

Mr.Ken Smith’s videos recently had an interview with Texas biologist Todd Driscoll in which he stated the amount of bass that are caught and have a knife run through them at Toledo bend. I don’t remember they exact number but it’s a crazy high amount. 

 

Todd said the numbers were down to around 57% which is still high but did you pay attention to what was said after that?

 

Ken mentioned there's still fish on that lake especially on the north end that have never seen a lure. Todd agreed & stated the sheer size of Toledo Bend offsets the amount of fish kept.

 

The average angler does not understand how big this lake is, they have the "community" areas they fish. At 185,000 acres there's tens of thousand of acres of offshore structure that never gets fished. 

 

There's 1,264 miles of shoreline, y'all think every bit gets fished?

 

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On 7/29/2019 at 9:39 AM, Catt said:

There's 1,264 miles of shoreline, y'all think every bit gets fished?

 

As a matter of fact I do.  Put ten thousand boats on even as big a lake as TB and yes, it'll all get fished.  Many times over.

 

And if you think this huge lake cant get fished out, look at the much MUCH larger oceans which have been overfished in many areas.  TB ain't a drop in the bucket next to that!

 

Anyway, I can see this is getting nowhere.  The solution may be the recent drawdown which will probably keep some people off the lake.  And maybe some grass can grow around areas that are currently dry but will be flooded when the lake comes back up. 

 

Until then I wish you well fishing those 1,264 miles of shoreline and bagging 200 fish every trip.  Let me know if Santa does a flyover.

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@redboat YouTube - Ken Smith Fishing - interviews with Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist Todd Driscoll 

 

Have a great day!  😉

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