April 13, 2011
Toledo Bend Practice
We're going into the fourth Elite Series tournament of the year, and I'm in 36th place in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings. Obviously, I have lots of ground to make up.
Toledo Bend Reservoir is a great lake. It's full of fish, and I'm really looking forward to this event. Right now, the water is about eight feet down, so you have to be very careful when moving around the lake. A misstep can cost you a lower unit ... or worse.|
As I said, the lake is full of bass, and it's going to fish well this week, but high winds might hamper the bite a little. A lot of guys might disagree, but I think it could take 17 or 18 pounds a day to make the cut to the top 50 and fish on Saturday. I've heard some guys saying that it won't even take 15 pounds a day to make the cut, but they could be sandbagging. Maybe I'm more optimistic about the weights because I've had a pretty good practice and am on them a little better than some of the other guys. That would be nice.
The one thing you always know in the Elite Series is that these anglers are going to catch them. That never changes. They're the best in the world and someone -- usually a lot more than one -- always figures them out.
And Toledo Bend has something for everyone. Because it's so big and because it has just about every type of cover or structure imaginable, Toledo Bend is a good pattern lake. If you can develop and refine a pattern here, you've got 181,000 surface acres to exploit it.
Sometimes though, it's an area lake, and you'll find schools of good bass holding in one or two spots that you can't replicate for pattern purposes anywhere else. That's where I'm at right now. I've got a few areas and a couple of methods that are producing for me. I plan to keep my head down and grind away. I think I'll be OK here.
The big challenge this week is going to be the weather and -- most especially -- the wind. It's been rough and it makes the lake fish smaller. It's also going to make it difficult to stay with the fish.
It seems that about 80 percent of the bass are currently post-spawn and moving away from the shoreline and shallows. There are still a few bass up shallow, but they're skittish and tough to catch. For the guys who want to chase those shallow bass, they're there. I plan to be offshore. You can pick your poison this week.
As always, my goal is to stay focused and catch them one at a time. If I can catch 19 or 20 pounds today, that would be exceptional and put me up near the lead. As long as I can catch 16 pounds or so, I can stay in the hunt and be competitive.
We'll see how it goes.