Joe Joslin

Hello, Anglers. I took a few days off for family and Christmas holidays but fished most of last week and plan to take out visiting family members between activities this week. We have had to dodge super bad weather to get in our fishing but such is normal for December. Well, let's put it this way, we dodged part of the weather but experienced some, too. At times, conditions were such that we could suck it up and keep fishing and were rewarded with some very nice bass.

Other times, we had to hurriedly put the boat back on the trailer and jump in the Toyota Tundra to escape lightning, winds and rain. I usually keep a thermos of hot coffee in the boat or truck for such times as these. An unplanned break from fishing and a cup of hot Community can be a pleasant experience on a cold, wet December morning. In winter fishing, major weather changes are common and comes with the territory. However, on the positive side of last weeks fishing, we saw less than a dozen boats but did see eagles each day, pelicans, foxes and thousands of ducks and geese. In addition, on one outing, we put two bass over six pounds in the boat which were both photographed and released. See Bass Fishing Reports in this column for details.

NEW FISHING TOOLS? If you received a new reel for Christmas, make sure you set the drag properly before you use it. New reels usually come with the drag backed off to the point where there is basically no resistance on it. When you get that first strike and set the hook you will, most likely, miss the first fish unless you tighten down the drag some. Also, if it is a bait cast reel, you will want to also adjust the tension gear settings which regulates the reel's casting characteristics. Lure selection and wind conditions will determine how you set up the reel to keep the line backlash/over-run problem to a minimum. It usually takes a few casts to get it set properly.

LAKE CONDITIONS: The lake level is up slightly to 168.15 feet and water temperatures are running from 55 to 58 degrees. Most all the lake has good water clarity with some stained water in the major creeks. Presently, there is very little generating at the dam.

FISHING REPORTS/BASS: Bass fishing continues to be good and at times, even better than that. Last week's trips netted close to 20 bass per day and we have had at least some bass in the 6-8 pound class each week for the past 5-6 weeks. However, we have had to work hard to get these results and used several different patterns to catch them. Last Friday we had two bass over six pounds with one hitting a Stanley Wedge three-eighths ounce double-willowleaf spinnerbait and the other hit a customer's green pumpkin Senko rigged wacky. We'll have these and other current big bass photos on our website (click on Trophy Room) in a few days.

Both of these quality bass came from about 6-8 feet depth with deep water nearby. Also, both came out of scattered, submerged grass. One was caught near the Louisiana Islands on south Toledo while the other was caught in Housen Bay which is about 15 miles north of the dam. On the spinnerbait bite, we are catching several of the bass on a fast retrieve, just under the surface. However, with water temperatures cooling significantly, we are having to slow-roll and pump our spinnerbaits sometimes to get a hit.

A Carolina rigged Berkley Powerbait 7 inch Shaky Worm (green pumpkin and watermelon candy) is also a good choice. The Berkley Shaky Worm has a flat tail which floats and is made to fish slowly. Don't rush the Carolina rig and fish it with a light weight in scattered grass from 8-14 feet. The Shaky Worm is also excellent on a Texas rig. When the bite gets tough, I fish it on Berkley's Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon 12 pound test with one-eighth ounce sinker.

Lipless crankbaits are also getting some action. I basically use two versions and those being Frenzy Rattl'r and Rat-L-Trap with top colors being chrome/blue, red craw and chrome threadfin shad. I use both the half and three quarter ounce versions. With water temperatures falling, the deep patterns on south Toledo should be getting better and those being drop shot and jigging spoon. I plan to fish deep structure a lot this week.

CRAPPIE: Here it is! The deep, winter pattern may be about to happen. Recent cold fronts have improved crappie fishing in 30-35 feet depths just off the river. Several reports of 25 to 30 fish per boat near the Chicken Coop as well as the Pendleton Bridge area have been reported using live shiners fished vertically. This is the best report for winter crappie this season.

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, Daiichi, Jay's Carpet One and Stanley Jigs Inc. Contact him at 337-463-3848 or and WEBSITE

Fish Species: Bass
Bait Used:
Tackle Used:
Method Used:
Water Depth: 4 to 12 feet
Water Temperature: 58
Wind Direction: east at 10
Wind Speed:

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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
Click Here For Past Fishing Reports by Captain Joe Joslin