The coldest string of winter arrives just when the string of charity bass tournaments hits full stride.
Hard, northerly winds will push lots of water around for the guys heading to the Atchafalaya Spillway and the Lake Verret Basin, but will cripple folks heading to the oxbow lakes.
Anyone heading to the coast should note the north winds that blew in last Wednesday will push lots of water from the marshes.
The best advice is to run the marshes carefully. The combination of 30-35 degree mornings and sticking your boat on a mud flat is a recipe for hypothermia.
No matter where you’re heading this weekend, make sure to dress in layers and use your best rain suit for a cover to fend off downright frigid early morning runs.
If you’re not fishing a tournament, wait until 8 or 9 a.m. to launch. Sunshine will warm the air quickly, and there a big difference between running in 32 degrees and 50.
Remember the water is cold, too, especially along the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers, and you’ll need extra protection when heading into those waters.
Cold and getting colder with another front moving in to keep the northwest winds blowing 10-20 knots through the weekend. By Tuesday, the afternoon high is predicted for the upper 60s.
There’s no point heading to the open waters because the forecast calls for 3-4 foot waves in Lake Pontchartrain and equally adverse conditions along the coast (5-8 footers offshore).
The major rivers are on a sharp fall with the Atchafalaya dropping from a 4.1- to a 3.6-foot reading Thursday through Sunday.
The marsh and the Venice area continue to provide solid bass action. The problem for Venice is the Mississippi River will be too rough to run, and you’ll have to stay on the west side and run to spots between the marinas in Venice and Red Pass.
Soft plastics in the flooded stands of Roseau canes continue to be the best bet at Venice. Just make sure you have a bait with red metal flakes to better mimic crabs and crawfish.
Slow down on chartreuse/white or shad-colored spinnerbaits in the marshes, but take along black/blue- and/or pumpkinseed-colored jigs and trailers to work around grass beds off the banks.
While there are few reports from the Atchafalaya and Verret-Belle River areas, north winds push a lot of water and move crawfish from the backwaters areas. Working run-outs and water rushing around points usually are productive spots.
Redfish continue to dominate catches. Using small soft plastics like the Bull Minnow on a quarter-ounce jighead (watermelon and avocado with red glitter) have been taking marsh redfish. Fish slowly on the bottom, or put the soft plastics or fresh shrimp under a cork and work run-outs and the flow down the banks.
Redfish are feeding (tailing) on crabs and other morsels on the bottom.