Bass photo for Thursday Outdoors

Hayden Staley shows off the two heaviest largemouth bass he caught on his five-bass limit to win the 11-14 age group in Saturday's Junior Southwest Bassmasters club tournament held in the Atchafalaya Spillway. His five largemouths weighed 11.7 pounds and were the top catch among the 45 young anglers in three age groups in the club's monthly event.

Even the more experienced anglers among us — that’s another way of addressing old-timers — can take a hint from the young among us when it comes to catching Atchafalaya Spillway bass.

Saturday’s Junior Southwest Bassmasters’ September tournament went from the Belle River Public Landing. Jim Breaux’s report was that 30 of the 43 youngsters who were paired with an adult (most times a parent) came in with five-bass limits, the top among them Hayden Staley, the Denham Springs youth taking the 11-14 year-old age group with an 11.7-pound total.

“We had another first,” Breaux said. “Brothers Ethan and Evan Burris each weighed in a five-bass limit. It was awesome with a little breeze and plenty of September heat and 193 bass were weighed. Thanks to the guys, because we released 190 of the bass. That’s taking care of your catches and practicing good conservation in all this heat.”

Zachary’s Gage Collins, competing in the 11-14’s, had the day’s big bass, a 4.09-pounder.

Not that anyone could get the info from the adults in the boat, but the youngsters said they caught fish on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, Speed Craws, along with soft-plastic worms and creature baits. Punching mats of grass and water hyacinths was productive after the sun got high in the sky.

For more on the Denham Springs-based club, call Breaux at (225) 772-3026.

On the Verret side

Sac-a-lait catches are building in the Verret Basin, and most of the action is coming in the big lakes, that’s Verret, Grassy and Palourde.

Reports began filtering in a couple of weeks ago — remember that first cold front? — but those were sparse and the catches were scattered, some coming from the larger bayous and deeper canals.

That’s not the case today, now the autumnal equinox has passed and we’ve entered the first days of fall. And indications are that, while afternoon temperatures continue to climb near 90, sac-a-lait have moved to the outside trees and stumps.

The clue, no matter in lakes, canals or bayous, is to find small shad bunched up around the base of the tree and work live shiners or blue/clear sparkle, blue/white or black/chartreuse tubes in these spots. Small, soft-plastic shad imitations work, too.

While casting jigs under a slip-cork works, the best is to use a jigging pole, a method giving you the best to work the jig under low-hanging cypress branches.

The bonus is some big bluegill and chinquapin are hanging in those same places along with some 2-4 pound, tackle-busting channel catfish.

False River

The drawdown on this Pointe Coupee Parish oxbow is underway, and it’s clear larger bass have come through the annual “lake turnover” period and have taken to setting up home near the ends of the piers with smaller largemouths schooling in the flats.

Steve Fontana, Brad Bouy and Gene Andre reported taking bass on black buzzbaits early, then going to crankbaits and finesse worms later in the morning before heading back to the landing near 10 a.m.

Usually the best crankbait colors are Louisiana Shad and Tennessee Shad.

Coast watching

The beaches from Four Bayous Pass to Grand Isle and the Timbalier area, along with Lakes Pelto and Barre, continue to produce speckled trout with a mix of redfish. A few pompano are showing up in catches on live shrimp, too.

It looks like trout are off croaker, and live shrimp and cocahoe minnows are the best live bait. Chartreuse Sparkle Beetles, and Opening Night have been the best soft-plastic colors.

Farther offshore, yellowfin tuna and mangrove snapper are big-time catches with the yellowfins showing up as close as 20-25 miles outside Caminada and Belle passes, and 10-12 miles off the mouth of the Mississippi River.