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October 2016 Fishing Report

The latter part of September has brought some cool fronts and quite a bit of rain. Those fronts in turn have lowered the surface temperature about six to eight degrees and that lowering has caused a marked improvement in all species on Ray Hubbard. This happens every year at about this time and the drop in surface temperature triggers a shad migration toward the shallows. The combination of falling surface temperature and shorter solar hours tells these little baitfish that winter is coming and that it is time to get busy and prepare for it. They do this by going on a spawning run to attempt to create enough new shad so that some of them will make it through the winter to propagate the species when warmer weather returns. Knowing this will help one plan a fishing trip that will likely be much more fruitful than a haphazard approach of just going to the lake and begin to chunk and wind! Stick with me and I will try to show you how to take advantage of this phenomena.

Black bass too sense this change in water temperature and they instinctively know that the shad are coming. On some lakes like Lake Fork or Toledo Bend these bass will form large schools and actively chase these shad as they come into shallow water but that is usually not the case at Lake Ray Hubbard. For the most part the bass will set up ambush points along break lines on lake surface contours. Too many bass anglers cast toward the bank, when in fact, they should be casting out into the lake. To the untrained eye the water out from the bank on most lakes looks the same but in fact, if one learns to read and interrupt a contour map, some strange things happen. The lake has thousands of coves that lie hidden by the water. Almost all anglers know that bass like coves, so everyone rushes to those visible ones, while ignoring literally hundreds more that are probably just under their boat. Find these contours where the lines come in very close to each other. This signals a rapid depth change and a place where the bass like to lie in wait for the shad approaching from the open water. For the next few weeks the bass will be holding on these breaks in eight to ten feet of water that rises rapidly from the twelve to twenty feet depths. Locate several of these over breakfast and then get on the lake and work them with a deep diving crankbait or a Carolina rigged four to six inch worm. Once you see how deadly this pattern is you just might stop casting toward that bank that fifty anglers have already fished!

Hybrid Stripers and Sandbass are on the move and these fish will readily form into schools and chase the shad as they come into the shallows. They like to be able to force the shad into an area where the shad have to swim into the wind. They do this by finding a place in the lake where the wind is blowing across a shallow area into deeper water on each side. Some of the more energetic fish will round up the shad and force them into this trap. Larger sandbass and hybrids will cruise the deeper water on the lee side of the shoal or levee and wait until the shad or driven to them. At this point they charge into the hapless little fish and a melee begins. Keep your boat a good cast away from the breaking fish and follow them back across the shallow area as they now attempt to flee from the aggressive feeding larger fish. But this is a no win situation for the shad because the smaller sandies and hybrids are still waiting on the other side and the melee continues. This can go on for a few minutes, or if one is in the right place, for over an hour. The right place during October will be on the flat adjacent to the old Robertson Park and on the east side of the hot water jetty. In line spinners like the Rooster Tail or Mepps will often get a fish on every cast. If it is top water action this is the time. The smaller Zaras and Chug Bugs will often catch bigger fish and the hybrids seem to prefer these types. As the weather cools and the big fronts move in, be sure to try the lipless crankbaits like the Rattle Trap on long points where the wind is blowing across them. The big hybrids want big baits and they want them retrieved in a fast manner. Make sure you have a good hold on your rod and that your sea legs are ready for a jarring strike!

Catfish will begin to move shallow and it is not uncommon to catch them in water as shallow as a foot in depth. Find a spot along the riprap where the wind is blowing into or at an angle to these rocks. Throw out a handful of range cubes in several places and then return to your first baited hole. Fresh shad are hard to beat for bait but some of the prepared punch baits will also produce. Use several rods set at different depths with a Santee Rig and get ready for action.

Crappie will move into the areas under the three bridges. They will be easily spotted with good electronics or one can do it the old fashion way and try each column until the paper mouths are located. Minnows or jigs will do the trick. The thing to remembers is to fish slow-very slow. Once a school is located stay with them. They may stop for a bit but there was some reason they were in that spot to begin with and they will likely return. These crappie will probably stay in these areas until it gets too cold to be on the lake if that is possible with crappie anglers!

I hope that some of the things I write helps some of you catch more fish and that you take time to think about what I suggest. I have been making a living from guiding folks for over fifty years and during that time I have been blessed to have fished with some of the best anglers in the world. All the things I write did not necessarily originate from my astute thinking, but heck, I do not mind taking credit for it! See you all next month on these pages. Be safe and keep an eye on the weather because October can throw some tough stuff at us!

The Cajun Guide/Johnny Procell

September 2016 Fishing Report

It seemed summer would never end but it appears that we have seen the last of the 100 degree days. Not that I am complaining but it sure made fishing harder1 Why is that you may ask? Well for starters the fish had just settled into a predictable pattern when the fronts began coming in. That scattered the fish and stopped them, at least for now [...] Read More »

August 2016 Fishing Report

Get a can or two of cat food and stick a hole through the sides just wide enough to pass a wire or heavy line. If you are going to use two or more cans, knot the string or wire on each side of the can and tie it to a line allowing about three feet between the cans. Now punch several holes in each can on top and bottom and slowly lower them over t [...] Read More »

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