By Andrew Schaeffer

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There must be something in the water at Toledo Bend. Located on the Sabine River straddling the Texas line, the 185,000-acre Toledo Bend Reservoir boasts a 1,200-mile shoreline filled with endless opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. The main attraction at the largest man-made body of water in the South is undoubtedly the fishing.

The bass are biting and they’re larger than life. Based on trends seen in past years, now’s the time to find your own big catch in the waters of west-central Louisiana.

Take Johnny Watkins of Lake Charles, La., for example. Over the course of one April day, he and his fishing partner Lance Melendy kept pulling in big catches. “Our five largest bass totaled over 26 pounds,” Watkins said. The largest the pair managed to catch was a lunker weighing in at 9.1 pounds. For Watkins, this was the third bass over 9 pounds caught this spring in Toledo Bend—with an additional 6- and 8-pounder, as well.

But the window of opportunity to snag the big bass is closing fast.

When the water starts to warm up in late spring, only the biggest bass are left swimming and spawning starts. After a few weeks, the newly hatched fry begin to take over and the big fish move down to deeper water. The smaller bass travel in schools and feed on increasingly larger food as spring turns to summer. As summer progresses, there’ll be more fish in the water, but it’ll be harder to break your personal record for the biggest catch. If you land a big one, share your fish tales with other proud anglers.

Fishing Tournaments at Toledo Bend

Even with the season for the biggest bass coming to an end, Toledo Bend hosts fishing events all summer long. With $440,000 given out in prizes over the course of three days, the Big Bass Splash tournament, hosted by Sealy Outdoors, lets amateur anglers win like professionals. The action takes place in early spring and other events throughout the year. Check the website for current event info.

Check out this full list of fishing rodeos and tournaments at Toledo Bend and around Sabine Parish.  One thousand fish swimming in Toledo Bend are tagged just waiting to be caught. 

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