Gabriel Bunch, 10, Mendoza, Illnios.JPG

Gabriel Bunch, 10, of Mendota, Illinois, reeled in a 3-pound bass using a rod and spinnerbaits gifted from Jim Blassingame.

Let’s talk about something a lot of us fishermen find hard to do, and that’s picking the right color of lure. With all the different colors of lures and soft plastic baits, no wonder it’s so hard to select the right color.

According to several fisheries researchers, bass have the ability to see colors. We see colors through the air, but bass are looking at them through water. Just like our colors can change if the weather is dusty or if we are in shade, it changes for the fish too. In clear water, and I mean gin clear, bass can see the color blue as deep as 30 to 40 feet, while they see the color red at only about 5 to 6 feet, with the color white falling in the middle.

When I’m picking a lure, I like to stay with natural colors — shad, crawfish, perch or bream, barr fish — even crappie. Crawfish are usually brown with a little blue on the tips of their pincers, and they can also be a greenish color. A brown colored jig and trailer, or a black and blue jig and trailer, resembles a crawfish. Perch and bream have bold, bright colors with chartreuse and orange. Shad are more shiny, and they are flashier, so silver colored baits are of course our best choice.

On your soft plastics like worms, swimbaits or creature baits, you have the ability to add different colors with Dip ’N Dye. For example, if you are using a green pumpkin worm or creature bait, you can dip the tail section with a chartreuse dye to get more bites. You can also add color to your crankbaits with a permanent Marks A Lot. Red, black and orange are good choices, or you can get fingernail polish — it dries quickly and there are some really wild colors to choose from. With all these different colors of dye, ink and polish, you can “match the hatch” or you can come up with something wild and new to experiment with.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a young fishing enthusiast, 10-year-old Gabriel Bunch from Mendota, Illinois, along with his father, Dalen Bunch. I gave Gabriel a rod and a couple of Outlaw spinnerbaits that I make, and his dad bought him a reel. That kid was set and ready to go fishing. When he got back home to Mendota, he sent me a picture where he took his combo to a private pond and caught a 3-pound bass on his first cast. How about that smile? I’ll remember this forever. Way to go, Gabriel!

Fishing Reports

Bob Sandlin: Water lightly stained; 85 degrees; 0.13 high. Black bass are fair on skirted jigs, swimbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms in 8-15 feet near creek channels, timber and boat docks. Plastic frogs and topwater plugs are still effective early in near grass lines and lily pads. Crappie are good on jigs and minnows in brush piles and standing timber. Catfish are good on earthworms, live bait and chicken liver in 10-20 feet.

Caddo: Water lightly stained; 81-84 degrees; 0.57 high. Largemouth bass are good in shallow water near trees and vegetation fishing plastic creatures and frogs, topwater and jerk baits. Crankbaits, jigs, and TX rigged plastic worms in deeper areas near structure and vegetation are productive as well. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs near brush piles and timber in 12-22 feet. White bass are good on jigs and small crankbaits in the main lake. Chain pickerel are fair. Catfish are good on prepared bait and live bait in 12-20 feet fishing channels and timber edges.

Cooper: Water lightly stained; 84 degrees; 0.30 low. Largemouth bass are good on Texas rigged plastic worms, crankbaits, and jigs in 12-18 feet. The white bass are excellent in 12-30 feet with slabs, jigs and jigging spoons over humps and flats. Crappie are good with minnows in standing timber and brush piles. Catfish are good on live and cut bait in 10-25 feet.

Fork: Water lightly stained; 83-85 degrees; 0.39 low. Largemouth bass are good on blue plastic worms, bladed jigs and crankbaits near drop-offs,windy points, grass lines, and humps in 8-22 feet. Topwater plugs and plastic frogs are productive early in grass patches and lily pads. White and yellow bass are good in deeper water of main lake points, flats, and humps. Crappie are excellent on jigs and minnows in 18-25 feet in brush piles and standing timber. Catfish are good on cut bait and live bait in 10-20 feet.

Sulphur Springs: Water lightly stained; 85 degrees; 0.32 low. Largemouth bass are fair on plastic worms and crankbaits along grass lines, drop-offs, and creek banks. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs in 12-22 feet. Catfish are good on cut shad and live bait in 6-15 feet.

Tawakoni: Water lightly stained; 82-85 degrees; 0.02 low. Catfish are excellent on live bait and cut bait in 10-20 feet. Largemouth bass are good on spinnerbaits, blue or purple plastic worms, and crankbaits. White bass and hybrid stripers are excellent on swimbaits and slabs. Watch for diving birds to mark feeding schools or use sonar to locate fish feeding in schools of bait near drop-offs, flats and humps in the main lake. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs around brush piles, docks, and marinas.

Broken Bow: Elevation below normal, water 82. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass good on Alabama rigs, crankbaits and plastic baits around brush structure, points and standing timber. Crappie fair on jigs and minnows around brush structure and standing timber.

Lower Mountain Fork: Elevation normal, water clear. Rainbow trout good on small lures, tube jigs and worms along creek channels, rocks and spillway.

McGee Creek: Elevation normal, water 77. Largemouth, spotted and white bass good on spinnerbaits and topwater lures in coves, along creek channels, flats and points. Crappie fair on jigs and minnows around brush structure, creek channels and standing timber.

Pine Creek: Elevation normal, water clear. Largemouth bass fair on plastic baits and topwater lures in coves and around standing timber. Crappie good on jigs, minnows, small lures and tube jigs around brush structure and standing timber. Channel catfish good on hotdogs, punch bait and worms below the dam, along channels and spillway.

Texoma: Water lightly stained; 81-86 degrees; 2.89 high. Striped bass and white bass are good on live bait and topwater baits when fish are near the surface. Diving birds are marking feeding schools on the surface throughout the lake. Use sonar to mark schools along the river channel. Largemouth bass are fair fishing shaky worms, swimbaits, and crankbaits in 10-24 feet Crappie are good on minnows and jigs by boathouses, marinas and brush piles in 12-25 feet. Catfish are excellent on cut bait, live bait, and chicken liver in 8-24 feet.

Fish smart, be safe, and I’ll see you on the lake.

Jim Blassingame is a Paris resident and an avid angler.

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