Rubber boots, rubber ducks and topwater frogs

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Alan McGuckin

Bassmaster Elite Series pro Brandon Lester was nowhere close to being born when John Fogerty wrote the famous song “Who’ll Stop the Rain” in 1970 about society’s unrest and struggles. But the well-grounded pro from Tennessee knows when it comes to Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, you’d better pack your rain boots and rubber duckies, because history dictates this awesome event just seems to attract a good soaker.

The good news is, the weekend will give way to sunshine, but Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday could bring heavy rainfall, and flash flood warnings have already been issued. For Lester that means Lake Fork’s famous big bass are likely to eat shallow.

“Normally this time of year, bass are mostly done spawning in this part of the country and looking to move deep, but with rain keeping the water high and dingy under heavy clouds and rain, it’s keeping a lot of fish shallower than what we expected coming into this event,” says the Team Toyota angler. 

“It’s been my experience that most bass don’t eat real well in 20 feet of water if the water is so dingy they can’t see their food,” he adds.

Rain and clouds make them chase the brighter colors

“As a rule of thumb, when I’m fishing in rain, I like to throw brighter colored lures like chartreuse or white, and lean on lures that move horizontal thorough the water like crankbaits, spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and topwaters. Bass just seem to be more willing to chase down their prey under cloudy skies and rain,” says Lester, a passionate spring turkey hunter as well.

Neither Lester nor largemouth like lightning

“I’ll tell you this though, there’s nothing that will kill a good topwater pattern faster than a bolt of lightning. Severe storms, especially those with lightning crashing around, really seem to kill the super shallow bite. And frankly, lightning scares me to death too,” he says.

Lures that will play this week and weight predictions

Asked to name four lures he thought would be major players this week, Lester put a topwater frog first on his list, and followed it up with swim jigs, a Texas-rigged creature bait and a shallow crankbait. All shallow water selections, and a notable deviation from the deep-water dredgers we’ve seen win past Texas Fest events on Lake Fork. 

As for top daily weights for a five-fish limit of bass here, Lester is guessing an impressive 22-pounds a day will land an angler in Monday’s final round.

Brandon Lester is clearly focused on this year’s edition of Texas Fest being mostly a shallow water bite, with plenty of famed Lake Fork bass being caught. And no matter the rainy weather, it’s gonna be a good one. Complete with big fish, a Saturday concert by Chris Knight, Cardboard Boat Races and possibly even a rubber ducky or two.