MOORE COLUMN: Is it prime time for monster bass?

Published 11:06 pm Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Local anglers live within 90 minutes of two of the top five bass fisheries in America as judged by Bassmaster magazine.
Last year’s poll saw Toledo Bend at first place and Rayburn in fifth and this came as no surprise to me, especially looking at the upper end of the fishery.
There have been some truly huge fish caught there over the last few years and I have a feeling some giants are about to be caught.
Two weeks ago, we covered the unusually warm winter weather and how the biggest bass would spawn early, perhaps as early as January. I am already hearing of anglers catching egg-laden females.
The biggest bass spawn early and warm spells could see some monster fish moving into the shallows during a time when most anglers do not search them out there.
Looking at the Sharelunker program database which logs bass 13 pounds and larger caught and donated to the state for hatchery purposes it is obvious we are entering a very special time.
February a peak time on Rayburn and Toledo according to the statistics and with the weather we are having it could be even earlier this year.
Three of the seven Toledo Bend Sharelunkers were caught in February. Three in March and another in October.
Some eight of the 26 Rayburn Sharelunkers were caught in February, two in January, one in December and the most recent was last November.
Lake Conroe has had 17 Sharelunker catches and five of them came in February. Another three came in January and another three came in December.
For years I have written that big bass season in East Texas really kicks off in December and gets stronger going into spring and this year anything could happen with the weather conditions we are having.
Many of you inclined to seek trophy bass are making your fishing plans for 2016 and in fact, some of you may even be forgoing bass fishing until the traditional spawn happens. That could be a big mistake.
Lew’s staff pro and FLW Angler Andrew Upshaw is a regular on both Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn and said every year around this time Toledo in particular gets red hot.
“Over the last few years there have been some huge bass caught this time of year. It’s definitely big bass season,” he said.
And keep in mind it is not just the spawn that is an important period for catching big fish. The pre-spawn produces many of the best catches and there are some fish in pre spawn mode right now.
Our local reservoirs are experiencing a “new lake effect”.
The system becomes super rich in habitat and nutrients due to the vegetation that grew on the lakebed during drought. The lakes become red hot for a season or two for producing monster bass. Six years ago, Lake O.H. Ivie near San Angelo, TX went through one of these production spikes and produced more Sharelunkers than any other lake in the state by a long shot.
We could potentially see that same type of thing happening on Toledo, Rayburn, Conroe, Fork and many other Texas lakes right now because we are entering the second spring with full lakes after a monster drought.
Right now, there are big bass to be caught and there is little competition on the water. That means if you can safely access and navigate our East Texas lakes the opportunity is there right now to get those big bass.
Tie on a jig or your favorite big fish specific lure and throw it with the idea the next catch could be your biggest ever.
Monster bass are definitely out there. Right now.
(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at

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About Gabriel Pruett

Gabriel Pruett has worked with both the Port Arthur News and Orange Leader since 2000. A majority of the time has been spent covering all aspects of Southeast Texas high school sports. Pruett's claim to fame is...being able to write his own biographical information for this website.

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