On a recent trip to Toledo Bend on the border of Texas and Louisiana, my group found a lake swollen to full pool from recent heavy rains. With water creeping into lakefront lawns, lapping over low standing docks and swelling far into shoreline cover, you’d think you could send a bait just about anywhere into the cover and get a bite.

Truth be told, the rising water certainly puts a lot more of that shallow cover into play, but consistency comes through discernment—and accomplished shallow water angler Terry “Big Show” Scroggins is a man of disciplined preference.

“You always want to flip pitch your bait to the trunk of the tree because that’s where the biggest fish are going to hold,” Scroggins said. “If you’re flipping to bushes, flip your bait right into the center.”


Favoring a Texas-rigged YUM Bad Mama creature bait and a 1-ounce flipping weight, Scroggins won’t rule out any potential bass lairs, but he knows that a few particular cues can help him refine his search.

Creek Mouths
Flooded cypress or cedar trees and smaller bushes outside these seasonal travel lanes tend to hold more fish.

If you notice a tapering in the growth of trees and brush, you’re looking at an underwater point, which is always a natural fish aggregator.

Bushes in Bunches
The isolated spots can be good for one big, reclusive fish, but when Scroggins finds clusters of small trees and bushes, he’s expecting the rally.