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Staying flexible on Toledo Bend

Staying flexible on Toledo Bend
At the day one launch, most boats headed south, while a smaller number turned north.

MANY, La. - It's the largest man-made reservoir in the South, and Toledo Bend just got a little bigger - much to the delight of anglers tackling this lengthy lake for the final event of the 2009 Stren Series Texas Division.

Recent heavy rains - the kind that prompt flash flood warnings and bring forth the "High Water" signage on local roads - poured voluminous amounts of fresh water into the lake. This influx has raised the lake level nearly 2 feet, thereby opening up some new shoreline areas in which some of the shallow bass may expand.

Complementing the shallow vegetation, Toledo bend's deep structures, along with its many bays, covesRecent heavy rains have raised the lake and creeks, offer multiple options. The lake's middle to lower region holds plenty of dense grass beds, while the north end is typically more barren.

John Vogt will start his day by cranking and Carolina-rigging a creek channel at the lake's north end. Once he gets five, he'll transition into a quality-bite pattern.

"There's a bend in the channel where I've found a bunch of schooling fish," Vogt said of his early spot. "I plan on hopefully getting a limit there quick and then spending the rest of the day flipping a Berkley Chigger Craw in grass at the south end and trying to get some bigger fish.

"The grass at the south end of the lake is really doing good. There are a lot of fish. They're scattered, so you have to work at it, but I believe that (flipping) is the dominant pattern."

John Vogt will spend much of his day working crankbaits in creek channels at the lakeTexas pro Joe Setina will look for a topwater frog bite early and then move on to deeper presentations as the day warms. Dragging football-head jigs, Carolina-rigging and punching grass would be his deep options. Typically, the deeper patterns become more productive as sunlight increases and daytime temperatures rise. However, today's forecast for cloudy skies and possible thunderstorms may fiddle with that schedule, while extending the topwater bite throughout the day.

Laughing, Setina said that he, like most anglers, won't be too rattled by wet weather: "I don't think it will affect me too much - it's been like that for two weeks. If it gets real windy, you just have to take it easy and take your time. As far as fishing goes, you just get out there and try different things until you find something that works."

Setina said that although he's fishing mostly offshore, he recognizes that the shallow ranges present a viable opportunity.

"The (rising water) won't affect my fish too much, but that shallow bite should pick up with that new grass and all that fresh water coming in," he said.

Bud Pruitt of Sam Rayburn, Texas, said that given the lake's diversity, pinpointing the day's top pattern isTexas pro Bud Pruitt hopes to keep his landing net full today. anyone's guess: "There are several patterns going on from zero to 20 feet. I'm going to try jigs and dropping plastics in about 5 feet. With this front coming through, the fish should be active today."

Del Rio, Texas, co-angler Kevin Smedley said he'll be dragging a worm or a fluke in hopes of tempting bass feeding in and over the grass. In practice, he noticed that bass were chasing shad out of the grass later in the day, so he's hoping for a good afternoon rally.

Logistics

Anglers will take off from Cypress Bend Park, located at 3462 Cypress Bend Drive in Many, La., at 7:15 each morning. Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will be held at Cypress Bend Park beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday's weigh-in will be held at the Walmart store located at 155 San Antonio Drive in Many, beginning at 4 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

Cloudy skies foretold likely showers, as anglers pause for the national anthem.The Toledo Bend Stren Series tournament is hosted by the Sabine Parish Tourism Commission and the Sabine River Authority.

Pros will fish for a top award of $25,000 plus a 198VX Ranger powered by an Evinrude or Yamaha outboard and equipped with a Minn Kota trolling motor and Lowrance electronics if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. If the winner is not a Ranger Cup participant, Ranger will award $7,500 to the highest-finishing Ranger Cup participant in the contingency program.

Co-anglers will cast for a top award of a 177TR Ranger powered by an Evinrude or Yamaha outboard and trailer. If the co-angler meets the Ranger Cup guidelines, they will earn an additional $5,000. If the winner is not a Ranger Cup participant, Ranger will award $2,500 to the highest-finishing Ranger Cup participant in the contingency program.

On the Web

For bass-fishing fans who cannot make the Stren Series Texas weigh-ins in person, FLWOutdoors.com offers FLW Live, a real-time online leaderboard with video and audio. Today's weigh-in starts at 3 p.m. CDT.

Thursday's conditions

Sunrise: 7:17 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 71 degrees
Expected high temperature: 84 degrees
Water temperature: 71-72 degrees
Wind: SW at 8-10 mph
Max. humidity: 97 percent
Day's outlook: partly cloudy, scattered thunderstorms

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2009-10-15-toledo-bend 

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