Tournament week on Rayburn
It has been cooler, for the most part on Rayburn this week and the days have been much more comfortable. Big Sam will host another major tournament this Saturday, July 25 as Dawson Marine and Skeeter Boats will sponsor the Dawson Marine Big Bass Open with headquarters at Umphrey Pavilion. This is basically a similar format as the McDonald Big Bass events. First place prize is a Skeeter SX 190 with a Yamaha 150 plus ten places every hour from $500 to $120. Skeeter Bass Champs will host the event. For more info call 817-439-3274 or 409-489-9600.
I spend most of my time on Rayburn targeting either shallow structure or deep drop offs and spend little time fishing mid-depths. I have fished the mid-depths (10-15 feet) and have caught some fish but I have much more confidence fishing the other two. Shallow water on Rayburn always has fish and I mean always...no matter how hot or how cold. East Texas fishing legion, Lonnie Stanley, convinced me of that several years ago when talking about habits of Rayburn's bass. They love shallow water! With the lake level slowly falling and all shoreline grasses growing rapidly, there is more than ample shallow habitat for thin-water lovin' bass with lots of Florida bass genes.
Speaking of Lonnie Stanley, his Ribbit frog (made by Stanley Lures) and his Stanley Wedge Plus 3/8 ounce spinnerbait are two of my favorite lures for fishing Rayburn's 2 to 8 feet depths currently. I run the spinnerbait along the edge and into the openings of the grass while I fish the Ribbit on 50 lb test Spider Wire Braid on top of the hydrilla and pepper grass. I also target scattered, small patches of isolated grass. Don't put the Ribbit down too quick in the morning.
Rayburn's bass will also hit it as noon on a bright day.
I will sometimes change to a solid white or white/chartreuse feet on bright days and also sometimes go to the bigger Bull Ribbit to attract the bass holding down in the thick grass. Fishing the Ribbit you just never know when you will get attached to a huge bass. The Spider braid also floats and helps to keep the Ribbit riding high over the grass.
The other pattern is the deep structure where I fish mostly a Texas rig with big worms (usually a 10 inch Berkley Power Worm). I do also fish a Carolina rig but seem to fish a TX rig more in hot weather. I like where a ridge or hump drops from 10-12 down to 25-30 feet and spend a lot of time around the 18 to 22 feet depths. I basically use 17 lb test Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon on most all of my Texas and Carolina rigs and have been doing so for the past year. It gets the job done, very sensitive, highly abrasive resistant, stands up to hard fishing and can be used several days before being replaced. Also, it is virtually invisible in water.
AUTHOR INFO: Joe Joslin is a syndicated outdoor columnist, tournament angler and pro guide on Toledo and Sam Rayburn. Contact him at 337-463-3848 or firstname.lastname@example.org. and WEBSITE www.joejoslinoutdoors.com.
This big bass came out of 22 feet with Berkley Power Worms
About The Author: Captain Joe Joslin
Company: joe joslin outdoors
Area Reporting: South Toledo Bend
Bio: Joe Joslin is a syndicated outdoor writer and writes for several Louisiana newspapers and numerous magazines including Texas Game and Fish, Louisiana Game and Fish, CenLa Sportsman, Louisiana Sportsman and LakeCaster. Joe has been fishing Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn for 25+ years and is a frequent tournament angler. Joe has been a full time pro guide on Toledo Bend/Sam Rayburn since 1998.Joe Joslin Outdoors Fishing Guide Service Wholesome atmosphere * Safety minded * Latest equipment, featuring 21i Class Skeeter with 300 hp Yamaha HPDI * Tackle supplied upon request * References available upon request * Available Year-Round. E-Mail Joe at email@example.com