UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Lake Mead

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Trying times on Toledo Bend

Day one dawned with mostly clear conditions, but cloudy and rainy weather would soon overtake Toledo Bend.

MANY, La. - Toledo Bend has long enjoyed a well-deserved reputation as one of the premier East Texas bass lakes. This week, however, competitors in the EverStart Series Texas Division event will have to work hard to earn their share of the bounty.

For starters, most Toledo Bend bass are in post-spawn - always a funky time. Also, the water level in this Sabine River impoundment has risen significantly this year and that has had a scattering effect on the shallow bite. Yes, the expansive grass and brush that sprouted during the lake's drought-driven decline offers more bass habitat, but that also means more looking.

On top of that, extreme heat has been ending that shallow action within a couple of hours of sunrise. With surface temperatures in the low 80s, bass are generally opting for deeper, cooler abodes. And if Kelloggall that weren't enough, today's forecast shows a weather system moving across Texas and threatening thunderstorms by late morning.

Kellogg's Rice Krispies Treats pro Jim Tutt said that while experienced anglers know how to cope with tough seasonal conditions, the stormy weather will throw the proverbial monkey wrench into many a game plan.

"We might have some high wind, so the people fishing way offshore may have a difficult time holding on their places - not that the fish won't bite, but it will be hard to hold," Tutt said. "We have some rain coming, so I think some of the schooling fish aren't going to be schooling.

"I think it's going to be a good tournament; this is a great lake. But the conditions are going to make it harder than it (already) was. It's just hard to move around when it's windy because the lake is so big."

Ranger pro Stephen Johnston thinks that the stormy weather headed to Toledo Bend will stimulate a good bite on day one.Ranger pro Stephen Johnston agrees that day one is serving up a significant level of challenge, but he believes the approaching storms will stimulate the bass and push them into an aggressive feeding. He agrees that if the storms whip up the lake, the rough water will limit some competitors, but Toledo Bend's inherent diversity will offer plenty of options.

"There's going to be a bunch of different ways to catch them," he said. "We have a north wind this morning for the guys fishing the south end on the grass, the big wind will mess some of that up. But there's going to be a lot of fish caught mid-lake, there's going to be a lot of fish caught north.

"Tomorrow, we have an east-northest wind blowing after this little front comes through, so it might get a little bit tougher, but there will be some big sacks caught today. I honestly think it's going to take about 37 pounds to make the cut after two days."

Tutt said a lean practice has him scratching his head a little, but he's no stranger to this lake, so he believes he has a plan that he can deliver what he needs. Tutt will look for a shallow bite early with a frog or a Pop-R and then head to deeper points where he'll mix it up with a crankbait and a football jig.For the early morning bite and any subsequent schooling activity, Kellogg

"It seems like with the early bite, the fish that are schooling on top aren't the (big ones) - they're not the 3- to 5-pouners; most of them are keepers," Tutt said. "But a limit of keepers would go a long way, I believe."

Louisiana pro Kevin Lasyone identified a pattern in practice that he believes he can run throughout the tournament. He's running a crankbait and a 10-inch Texas-rigged Berkley Power Worm past brush piles on ridge edges in 12-16 feet. It's hit or miss, he said, but the hits are definitely worth the search.

"If you find a school of them and they're feeding, you'll catch a bunch of them," Lasyone said. "But if they're not biting, it's like they're a no fish there. There are plenty of fish on the end of the ridges, but they're just feeding in spurts.

Louisiana pro Kevin Lasyone will give his crankbait a good workout today."For me, it's been early in the morning until about 9 o'clock. After that it's tough to get a bite, so I go to the (submerged) swing sets and drag a big worm or a jig. If you fish it, you will catch one."

Texas pro Cody Bird is looking to find his fortune in the deeper grass. In practice, he fared well with jigs and spinnerbaits, so he'll keep those handy. He'll also try dragging a Carolina rig with a Kicker Fish Bubble Fry in chartreuse pepper.

"The lake's full and healthy and there's a lot of fat fish," he said. "There's also a lot of schoolers to fill in limits, so this will be a good tournament."

Logistics

Anglers will take off from Cypress Bend Park located at 3462 Cypress Bend Drive in Many, La., at 6 Texas pro Cody Bird hopes to entice a few bites with a Kicker Fish Bubble Fry on a Carolina rig.a.m. daily. Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will also be held at the marina beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at Walmart located at 25800 Highway 171 in Many starting at 3 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

Pros will fish for a top award of $35,000 plus a 198VX Ranger boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers will cast for a top award consisting of a Ranger 177TR with 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met.

The EverStart Series consists of five divisions - Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of four tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the Strike King Angler of the Year title along with $5,000 for the pro and $2,000 for the co-angler. The top 40 pros and co-anglers from each respective division will qualify for the EverStart Series Championship that will be held on the Ouachita River in Monroe, La., Nov. 1-4.

The EverStart Series tournament on Toledo Bend is being hosted by Sabine-Parish Tourist Commission & Sabine River Authority.Cary Fisher believes that his best opportunities will come deep, so he

Thursday's conditions:

Sunrise: 6:11 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 74 degrees
Expected high temperature: 85 degrees
Water temperature: 83-84 degrees
Wind: WSW to NW 5-10 with higher gusts during storms
Humidity: 60 percent
Day's outlook: cloudy and windy, scattered thunderstorms

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2012-05-31-toledo-bend 

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