Crappie Bite Solid at Toledo Bend

The crappie were biting consistently at Toledo Bend this week — at least before yesterday’s cool snap came through with the coolest air of the fall so far. Crappie specialist Tim Bye, of Luling, was at the Bend Sunday through Thursday this week and said the bite was pretty aggressive every day he fished. “They’re staging up to make their move in the wintertime before the spawn next spring,” Bye said. “They’re feeding real hard on shad, and they’re very fat.” Bye said his group wrapped up with 155 crappie — which equated to a whopping 49 pounds of fillets. “We were on the back side of the moon phase this week, and it looked like bigger fish were biting in the afternoon for me,” he said. “I had some really nice fish this week. I cleaned a lot of fish in the 1 ½- to 1 ¾-range.” Bye said he would focus on brush piles, or on pilings at the Pendleton or Lanan Bridges in about 20 feet of water. “You have to have the right electronics to find the brush piles, but they’re definitely staging up on them,” he said. “The lake has so much contouring on the bottom. You can sit on a little plateau in 15 feet of water where this brush pile was, and it drops down to 30 feet only 20 feet away. “It’s one little hilltop — those kinds of spots are crucial for these fish to group up.” Bye use a 9-foot pole, and tight-lines with 8-pound line and a 1½-inch salt-and-pepper Panfish Assassin lure on a 1/32-ounce jighead. About 6 inches above the hook, he uses a ¼-ounce split shot. The smaller-sized lure is important, he said.  “I think that makes a difference, too, especially if they’ve already got a belly-full,” Bye said. “They don’t want anything big. That just want a snack, like we want a cookie.  “It’s unreal how they latch on to that thing — but it works.” Live shiners hooked through the back near the dorsal fin also could be effective — if you can get some that are the right size. “I bought shiners and wasted my money. They were too small,” Bye said. “If you can find big shiners — because these are big fish — they’re going to hit a big shiner. “If you can find a bigger shiner than what I bought, it will probably be better. You’ll catch bigger fish.” Bye said he wasn’t sure exactly what kind of effect Thursday’s cool front would have on the bite, but suspected it would return relatively quickly. “They still have to eat,” he said. “They’re just going to follow the bait, I guess. If the bait goes deep, they’re going to follow the bait.”