Almost on Toledo Bend

Toledo Bend offered me a fair shot at a win. That’s about all a guy can ask for when he’s fishing, so you won’t hear any complaints from me. I was on good fish, but they just weren’t quite good enough. When you’re up against the best you have to bring everything you have to the table. I tried to do that but fell a little short. Congratulations to Kevin on a great event.

While I’m at it I want to compliment the people at Toledo Bend. That’s a heck of a fishery. I weighed in over 88 pounds and didn’t win. That makes a statement. The anglers who live around there and fish it regularly are fortunate.

Most of my better fish were caught on three topwater baits, although I did catch some by flipping and pitching a Luck-E-Strike Drop Dead Craw. I fished a lot of topwater because of the time of the year it was and because there was a shad and bream spawn underway. All of that put together say “topwater” to this bass fisherman.

Another reason I went with lots of topwater is that I’ve learned they seem to catch the bigger bass. That’s not always the case but it’s true often enough that I was confident fishing them throughout the day.

I fished a couple of different frogs. They’re made by Snag Proof and Luck-E-Strike. I had a hand in designing them so I know they’ll catch bass. In my opinion they’re some of the best available.

They were my go-to choice when I was looking at thick grass and cypress trees. They’ll pull bass up out of the heavy stuff without getting hung on every cast.

When the vegetation was a little more scattered I fished a middle size Whopper Plopper, a number 130. I don’t think very many anglers know about them, or knew about them before I was filmed fishing with one. So now the secret is out. In fairness, though, other Elite guys were fishing them and almost everybody I know was aware they were out there.

If I saw open water that looked fishy I threw a Zara Spook. There was nothing fancy about what I did with it. I’d cast it out and walk it back to the boat all the while waiting for an explosion in the water under the lure.

I tried to match the hatch with all of my lures. Every color pattern was shad-like in some way or another. My size selections were made with the idea that I’d show them something that was about right for a bigger baitfish. I didn’t want to go too small because I needed big fish to be competitive.

My line was important, too. I fished 50-pound-test Stren Braid Superline on everything. It allowed me to wrestle big fish out of the heavy stuff without worrying about breaking my line. And, with that braid I had no backlashes and didn’t have to retie very often.

If there’s a lesson from Toledo Bend, it’s that you need to fish with what you know and have confidence that it’ll work for you. And, sometimes you don’t win even when things are going your way, especially when you’re going head-to-head with KVD.