Every time I come to East Texas, it brings back pleasant memories.
The Bassmaster Elites are at Toledo Bend this weekend and we're at nearby Sam Rayburn in May. I've been fortunate to win Bassmaster events on both lakes.
My first time on Toledo was very memorable. It was 1992 and I was practicing at Sam Rayburn for an upcoming tournament. I had a phenomenal day catching more than 100 bass on spinnerbaits that I worked through flooded bushes.
When Rayburn went off limits, I left there and drove to Toledo to fish with former Bassmaster Classic winner Tommy Martin and stay at his house. It was the beginning of a long, endearing friendship.
Just as it is now, Toledo Bend was a fabled lake back then. It created a lot of great pro anglers, such as Tommy, Larry Nixon, Lonnie Stanley, Bo Dowden and Harold Allen to name a few.
Bassmaster voted Toledo Bend the No. 1 bass lake, and for good reason. It churns out a lot of big fish and manages to maintain itself despite the tremendous amount of pressure it gets.
There are several reasons Toledo Bend is so good, but its mammoth size has a lot to do with it. When you have a lake that big with great habitat, you can sustain a good fishery. Another factor is the number of boat docks that have popped up on the lake, offering more good bass habitat along the shore.
Toledo Bend isn't just noted for its bass. It is an equally good crappie and catfish lake. The entire fishery draws thousands of anglers every year.
I was fortunate to win at Toledo last year when we fished here a month and half later in the season. That was a time when the lake was higher and the fish were pretty much done spawning and moving out to offshore structure, where I found a strong bite on the Strike King 10XD crankbait.
This year is a different story. The lake is low; there isn't much bank grass or cover on the flats. Most of the fish are still in the post-spawn cycle, lounging around the shallow areas.
At the time of this writing, I expect the strongest fishing will be shallow and not on offshore. But you never know what you might encounter on this lake. It's loaded with quality bass.
This region isn't known solely for its fishing; I really enjoy coming here because the area is rich in bass fishing history AND the people are so nice.
It's also a great place to come for a crawfish feast, which is one of my favorite foods in the entire world.
If you've never been fishing in East Texas, you're really depriving yourself of one of America's great bass fishing locations and a place where everyone feels welcome!
Remember, it's all about the attitude!