The skinny side of bass fishing is game on right now

Chuck Simmons used a 4-inch Big Bite craw tube to catch this Lake Waco bass and

I just got in from a bass fishing road trip that took me from Sam Rayburn to Lake Waco in five days. This is definitely my favorite time of year to target bass. They are up shallow and spawning. It’s the only time of year in Texas when you can actually see bass on the beds. And if you hit it just right the fishing can be phenomenal.

Right now bass fishing on Rayburn and Toledo Bend is excellent. It’s not unusual to see bass on the beds at both of these lakes. In fact, last Wednesday was a fantastic day to be on Rayburn. Bass were all over the shallows spawning, many could be seen and a whole lot were easily caught on Yamamoto Senko’s and Zoom lizards in chartreuse/pepper. I talked to a couple of guys that fished Rayburn last week and they had 27 bass to 6 pounds on 5-inch Yamasenko worms.

Catching big bass on Rayburn is not that unusual during March. Out of the 26 ShareLunker bass caught on Rayburn about half of them were caught during March.

On Toledo Bend, three of the seven ShareLunkers caught there were caught during March. The heaviest weighed 14.25 pounds. That’s something to keep in mind while fishing this lake that, by the way, has been voted the best bass fishing lake in the nation for the past two years.

Last week I also managed to fish the Brazos River that runs right through the middle of Waco and Baylor University. We had bass to four pounds there while fishing 5-inch Yum Money Minnows over spawning beds. From there we headed over to Lake Waco and racked up about 17 bass to 6 pounds while fishing in one to three feet of water around logs and brush. Most of those bass were caught on Big Bite 4-inch Craw Tubes in a tilapia (brownish/black glitter) color.  We had them rigged on 4/0 flipping hooks.  Bass went crazy over this particular soft plastic.

Spring turkey season is looking very good

East Texas hunters that were on birds last year can expect more of the same in the Pineywoods this spring. Eastern spring turkey hunting in the counties having an open season is April 15-May 14. Hunters are required to report harvest of eastern turkeys electronically to TPWD within 24 hours of harvest. Reports can be made through the TPWD My Texas Hunt Harvest App or online from the TPWD turkey page at www.tpwd.texas.gov/turkey. The app is available for free download from Google Play or the App Store. Hunters will be issued a confirmation number upon completion of the reporting process. Hunters still have to tag harvested birds.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologists report that Rio Grande wild turkey numbers have boomed over the past few years thanks to timely rainfall and relatively cool summer conditions that have set the stage for optimum reproduction and recruitment. As a result, turkeys are making a comeback in many areas where they had been lost due to extended periods of drought.

Biologists predict the early spring green-up and abundance of juvenile hens could have a profound impact on breeding behavior or at least on a gobbler’s willingness to come to the call this season.

“Field observations indicate flocks have already begun to break up and toms have been strutting for weeks,” said Jason Hardin, TPWD Upland Game Bird Program specialist. “That means many hens could become interested in breeding near opening day of the season, effectively hampering a hunter’s chances of luring love-struck gobblers. If you do go early in the season, some of the best hunting could be mid-day after hens split off from males.

“However, by mid-season most of the hens should be bred and incubating eggs leaving a large number of mature gobblers looking for love,” he noted. “Also, if conditions remain mild and if we get a few more timely rain events, Texas can expect another good year of nesting and population growth.”

The spring season for Rio Grande turkey runs March 18-April 30 and then culminates with a youth-only weekend May 6-7. In the North Zone, the youth-only weekend seasons are March 25-26 and May 20-21. The North Zone general season opens April 1 and runs through May 14. A special one-gobbler limit season runs April 1-30 in Bastrop, Caldwell, Colorado, Fayette, Jackson, Lavaca, Lee, Matagorda, Milam, and Wharton counties.

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