Like most folks with two jobs and baseball-playing youngsters at home, Tony Landry stays busy.
Until last weekend, when he took the chance to dip both feet into the Sportsman’s Paradise.
“It helped to have a good guide,” Landry said after taking first-place money with fishing partner Willie Couch III.
Boyhood friends, Landry and Couch decided to fish Saturday’s BLT Open from the Belle River Public Landing. Couch, who usually partners with his dad, Willie II, is among a dedicated group of Donaldsonville-area fishermen who stays on top of south Louisiana bass fishing. That explains Landry’s “guide” comment, and explains why the two headed to the Grand Lake-Bayou Pigeon area.
“We stayed in the main bayous and concentrated on wood,” Landry said, noting “wood” translates into cypress trees. “It’s a basic summertime pattern after all the crawfish are gone. The fish start (feeding) on shad.”
That’s where it started Saturday. It ended back at the landing with a culled-through, winning, five-bass limit weighing 14.51 pounds, a pretty decent late summertime stringer. Peter Matasse and Vic Calvarusso finished next about a pound off the lead.
It’s the time in between that makes the Landry-Couch story big news.
It was simple. With the water in the Basin at summer low, and hot temperatures pushing water temperatures to the extreme in the clear-water canals, it’s time for Landry to explain “summertime pattern.”
“All we did was to stay in the main bayous. The water had to be moving and it had to be muddy,” Landry said.
And it’s here that novice anglers need to understand that muddy, moving water holds oxygen and is a lot more comfortable for bass and other predator fish than still, clear water.
Picking apart his “wood” comment is another major factor. Cypress trees in main bayous have a bowl shape expanse of roots on their deep-water side (opposite the bank). It’s deeper water, usually shaded with overhanging branches and full of places for hungry bass to live and wait for a tantalizing morsel to pass.
“The fish were in the front of the trees, and because they were feeding on shad — you’d see a bass explode on a shad every now and then — made it perfect for me ’cause I like throwing spinnerbaits,” Landry said.
Nothing fancy here, plain quarter-ounce, gold-and-gold tandem Colorado (round) blades rigged with a chartreuse-and-white skirt.
“I caught 50 bass on that bait,” Landry said. “I had no skirt left on it, well, almost none and we culled down to the top five.”
Landry further explained that he and Couch caught in clear-water areas, but those bass were on the small side and didn’t match the near 3-pound average the muddy-water spots produced.
“The quarter-ounce bait was perfect because it matched the profile (size) of the shad the bass were feeding on,” Landry said, adding that Couch caught a few bass on topwater lures.