Joe Joslin

Hello, anglers. By hook or crook? My opening subject this week is not one I am excited to address but the current situation makes it necessary. Simply put, thieves are after your fishing tackle! Tackle and boat accessories (depth finders/electronics) theft is occurring on a regular basis all around the lake. There have been several incidents in the mid lake area and one which involved 20 boats the night before a big bass tournament.

Others have taken place on the south end of the lake. I do not have any stats from law enforcement agencies but my info comes from very reliable, on the scene, sources. A prime example was last week, in broad daylight, thieves stole two depth finders and some tackle from one of my customer's boats which had been left at a very public ramp while we were out fishing. In the same general area several weeks ago, law enforcement did catch two criminals while in the process of breaking into a lakefront house. Officials were able to find and search thieves house and recovered a lot of stolen property taken from prior break-ins. It is very important to report all incidents and give description of stolen goods.

The citizens in these areas are aware of what is happening and have helped law enforcement to try to get this under control. However, anglers traveling to the lake need to know to take precautions. For the most part, these crooks are taking the easy pickings. As a whole, anglers are an honest, trustworthy lot and often leave rods/reels on the boat deck as well as leaving electronics on the boat when not in use. However, we might need to use more caution and secure all of our gear.

My Skeeter 21 i Class has an i-Force Locks/DMS Security System which I had never activated until this week. It has an alarm system with locks on 6 different storage areas. I have had the same system on my last three i-Class boats and had not felt a need to use it....until now. It is easy to activate/de-activate and only requires a 4 digit code to be entered on the control pad. Anglers are also encouraged to be on the look out for suspicious behavior around boat launches. Hopefully, with law enforcement efforts and the help from local citizens, we will be able to get this under control.

LAKE CONDITIONS: The lake level is 171.15 at press time with one unit running 24 hrs. Water temperatures have fallen and range from 57 to 60 degrees. These temps should come up this weekend. The north end of the lake is stained/heavily stained, mid-lake is stained and south Toledo is clear. All major feeder creeks have stained-to-muddy water with the most off-colored conditions in the extreme backs of creeks.

FISHING REPORTS/BASS: It has been interesting getting on a solid pattern the past few weeks as we have had a wide variety plus extreme weather conditions with winds averaging over 20 mph for the past week. The fish are everywhere and some days, no where. Late spawn or early stages of post spawn usually is a challenging time for many anglers. Some of the bass have yet to complete spawning, some started to spawn and the weather interfered (water temps plummeted) while others are in early stages of post spawn.

Add to that the lake rising several feet recently which also scattered the bass population. At mid-week, the unusually potent cold front was the main challenge with strong, north winds bringing the chill factor down into upper twenties on Tuesday morning. We have had lake wind advisories Saturday thru Tuesday. The good news is that by press time we will have experienced a warm-up, fishing activity will pick up so things are looking up.

We have had to work hard with clients but have managed to continue to catch some fish. The patterns we have found working include the use of a three-eights ounce Stanley Icon spinnerbait where we use it to work wind-blown points and there have been plenty of those. Behind a cold front we will work it slowly and slow-roll it over shallow, submerged grass. In moderate weather conditions we will fish it faster as bass are more aggressive. In ideal conditions we may even wake it where we run it just under the surface.

I tend to use spinnerbaits early in the morning, on windy days and also with cloudy conditions.

On tough days with north winds and high barometric pressure, I usually slow down and fish a lot of soft plastics and jigs. Basics for me right now include a light Texas rig with three-sixteenths or one-eighths ounce sinker using a 5 or 7 inch Berkley Wacky Crawler, Power Lizard or Finesse worm. My favorite hook for this is a 3/0 Daiichi or XPoint Offset worm hook. These hooks are both made from high carbon steel, very sharp, light weight but super strong and cost about .80 each.

Another go-to technique is a light Carolina rig using the same weight. Berkley and Zoom lizards, Critter Craws and Senkos are all super C.R, soft plastics. Top colors are water melon candy, w.m. seed, green pumpkin and Mardi Gras. We are working these in 2 to 12 feet. Also, we are catching bass on Norman's Baby N and Deep Little N in bumble bee and fire-tiger in 4 to 12 feet.

CRAPPIE: White perch fishing had been very good just prior to the cold front with good catches of quality slabs coming off of crappie jigs and Blakemore Road Runners and Beetle Spins. Most came from the outside edge of grass line in 8 to 14 feet with best concentrations on primary and secondary points. Don't forget to add a Berkley Power Crappie Nibble.

AUTHOR INFO: Joe Joslin is a syndicated columnist, tournament angler and pro guide on Toledo and Sam Rayburn. His sponsors include Skeeter Performance Boats, Yamaha Outboards, Lake Charles Toyota, Red River Marine/Alexandria, LA, Berkley, Fenwick, Abu Garcia, Bill Norman , Daiichi, The Floor Trader Alexandria and Lake Charles, Extermatrim Exterminating, Inc. and Stanley Jigs Inc. Contact him at 337-463-3848 or and WEBSITE

Fish Species: l.m.bass
Bait Used: Stanley Icon Spinnerbaits, Berkley wacky Crawlers, Berkley Power Lizards
Tackle Used: Fenwick Techna rods, Abu Garcia Revo and Soron reels
Method Used: Texas rigged Power lizards, Carolina rigged and wacky rigged Wacky Crawlers
Water Depth: 2 to 15
Water Temperature: 62
Wind Direction: s
Wind Speed: 5 to 30
another 9 lb lunker from Toledo
another 9 lb lunker from Toledo

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Joe Joslin

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

337 463 3848
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