Lake Sam Rayburn

Because Life is Better at the Lake

Patterns That Works in December and January


Tom Behrens has over 50 years experience in fishing and hunting across the United States. Much of this time was spent in Oklahoma and Texas where he became very familiar with the outdoor opportunities in these states. You may contact him by email at:

Deep or shallow for bass at this time of the year? Winter normally means dropping water temperatures, but Texas being Texas, if we have 3-4 days of the daily warming, the bass will get more active shallower.

John Dean, a well known bass fishing guide on Toledo Bend recently reported catching bass in ditches and along the shoreline with 4-inch, soft-plastic ringworms during a warming trend, especially from mid-day on. A suspending jerkbait bite was also a good bait choice.

On warmer days, he finds bass in 5- to 7-foot depths chasing and eating shad. When the water cools and they don’t feel like it, they stay deeper.

This is a time of year when horizontal baits come into play. Chatterbait-style lures, swim jigs, jerkbaits and ½- or ¾-ounce Rat-L-Traps (chrome/black, chrome/orange or crawfish-colored depending on the water color) and chrome/black or gold/orange jerkbaits can produce more than other artificials.

Offshore, the bass will likely be schooled up and the savvy angler will follow and keep up with these schools for weeks up into February.

Louisiana pro angler, Greg Hackney will be flipping a ½-ounce Strike King Hack Attack Flipping Jig that is compact and features a heavy wire, black-nickel Gamakatsu hook to deliver better penetration on the hookset when fishing Toledo Bend, Sam Rayburn and Fork. The Hack Attack produces best because of the 30-degree angle of the line tie that presents a better hookup ratio than other jigs. Its head configuration, weedguard and size make it extra weedless, and its corkscrew wire keeper secures the soft plastic trailer.

The jighead is built to slip through heavy cover, but it doesn’t go through cover as fast as plastic. “You have a tendency to fish slower,” he said. “When water temperature gets to 60, 50 degrees is when it really shines.”

Hackney’s favorite color combinations include a black/blue jig with a 4-inch black/blue Rage Craw, a 4-inch Sexy Craw jig with a “doubleheader” Rage Craw and a Peanut Butter Bug with a Junebug Rage Craw.
Hackney trims the skirt a little bit, which gives the silicone strands a little more life.

He fills his Lew’s Custom Pro reels with Strike King’s Tour Grade braid. He doesn’t use anything heavier than 50-pound test; the braid cuts through vegetation like a knife. He flips the jig on a 71/2-foot Hack Attack Flippin Stick.

Starting in December, several double-digit bass will start showing up at the marina and tackle shop weigh scales. Some real giants are caught during late December and early January. Stay tuned to the local weather forecasts for forecasted temperature trends. Just because the weather might get a little nasty, dress warmer and try your luck. Maybe you can start 2020 off with a double-digit trophy bass.



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Lake Sam Rayburn Current Weather Alerts

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Lake Sam Rayburn Weather Forecast

Martin Luther King Jr Day


Hi: 54

Monday Night


Lo: 31


Partly Sunny

Hi: 51

Tuesday Night

Chance Rain Showers

Lo: 36


Rain Showers Likely

Hi: 48

Wednesday Night

Rain Showers

Lo: 45


Rain Showers

Hi: 60

Thursday Night

Chance Rain Showers

Lo: 43

Lake Sam Rayburn Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 1/20: 163.33 (-1.07)

Lake Sam Rayburn Fishing Report from TPWD (Jan. 15)

GOOD. Water stained; 53 degrees; 1.82’ low. Largemouth bass are good on crankbaits, spinners and plastic worms working warm water, and ledges White bass are good on minnows and small cranks on humps. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs among deeper brush piles. Catfish are good on live and stinkbait.