Late fall in south Louisiana is a time when anglers' minds usually turn to the coastal marshes, and hardly consider the interior freshwater spots to suit their fancy.
OK, so the lure of catching speckled trout and redfish throughout a day makes it an easy choice to head to any of two dozen spots from the lower Pearl River on the east all the way to Vermilion Bay — and farther west to Big Lake.
But with little rain lately, stable water levels, mild cold fronts and enough sunlight to keep water temperatures in the comfortable levels (for the fish, not humans), there are nearly as many freshwater haunts as saltwater hauntingly inviting fishermen now that we’re between the two big holiday periods.
Even then, you’ll not likely to put Henderson Lake on that list. This place has more of a sac-a-lait reputation in the late fall and winter than it does to producing healthy stringers of bass.
Think again, and consider it took nearly three dozen young anglers and their adult fishing partners to show the error in that way.
The Saturday before Thanksgiving, 33 youngsters showed up at McGee’s Landing in Henderson for the final 2017 tournament for the Denham Springs-based Junior Southwest Bassmasters.
Their timing couldn’t have been better: A cold front was on the way, and although the bite was slow in the chilly early morning, a bright, warming sun kicked the midday action into high gear.
So the 33 teams — club members fish with a parent or adult guardian — brought in 194 bass to the scales at the 3 p.m. weigh-in (all fish were released alive), and that included 31 five-bass, tournament limits.
All in all, it was the club’s most successful 2017 event, and even better was that the teams reported catching fish all over the lake, so there wasn’t a “secret hole” to know to have of success on future trips. (Just don’t plan for this kind of action to continue for an extended period.)
Proof lay in the first-place stringers in the club’s three age groups: Cade Fortenberry took the 15-18 group with a 15.69-pound total; Logan Guy led the 11-14’s with 14.52 pounds; and, Caden Sellers’s five-bass weighing 8.08 pounds topped the 7-10 group, and Guy’s 4.4 pounder was the day’s heaviest largemouth.
Club sponsor Jim Breaux reported the best action came on spinnerbaits, crankbaits (presumably shad colors) and soft-plastic “creature” baits.
And, Breaux took time to single out Fortenberry, a five-year club member who’s graduating from high school and competed in his last club event.
“He is moving into the college ranks and will be fishing on the college circuit next year. Cade has had many fishing accomplishments in his young life, including (the) 2017 B.A.S.S. High School National All-American Team, (the) 2015 B.A.S.S. High School National Championship, a runner-up finish on Kentucky Lake (137 Teams), and many top finishes in our club monthly tournaments,” Breaux said. “We wish him well in all his future endeavors.”
The club will end its year with a mid-December awards banquet.
For information on the club, call Cindy Breaux (225) 772-3025 or Jim Breaux (225) 772-3026.
Help duck hunters
It’s time to mention something about fishermen taking to the marshes. Guys and gals, give the duck hunters their time in blinds in the early morning.
Most duck hunters don’t linger in their shallow-water bays and ponds after mid-morning, so have a second cup of coffee before heading out and work the canals and bayous when you get there. There’s plenty of time to catch fish after the morning flights are over.
Deer & wind
Enticed by an email from The Sportsman Channel, went to a story entitled “10 Best Whitetail Deer Hunting Tips from the Pros,” to find out the first two among the 10 had to deal with paying attention to the wind and wind direction.
Very important hint especially around here because northerly winds, at least to me, carry scents more strongly than to warmer easterly and southerly winds. It’s why, in Baton Rouge during the dead of winter and on strong north winds, we get a whiff of eau du West Feliciana paper mill.
For hunters, the tip here is deer are much more familiar with their territory than you are, and that’s not limited to the sights and sounds you make in the woods or fields, but also includes the smells, the odors you bring with you on a hunt, and the higher you are off the ground, the farther a wind will carry that odor.
Wind direction might be why you want to set up in temporary ground blind opposite your tree stand, because climbing into that stand might tell a big buck you’ve been scouting — and you know his path into a feeding spot — that something’s just not right and to find another food source.
For the full story, go to website: thesportsmanchannel.com/2017/09/10-best-whitetail-deer-hunting-tips-from-the-pros/
Another email pointed to listening to the Nov. 23 edition of The Revolution, a 56-minute show “Piggin’ Out,” for pointers on taking feral hogs. Listened to it, and the best was Zach Waterman’s (he’s from Nosler bullets) on the best hog-huting calibers and ammo. There was info on bows (including crossbows), scouting, tracking and cooking.
And since there was a Texas flavor to the show, there was the feral hog-hunt from helicopters and hot air balloons.
For more, go to the website: outdoortrailsnetwork.com/the-rev/the-revolution-11-23-2017.
-National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Forecasts: nws.noaa.gov. Find the “Coastal/Great Lakes Forecasts by Zones — Gulf — New Orleans, La.” and a map with 13 different nearshore, offshore and Lake Pontchartrain wind and waves predictions for the next five days.
-Weather Underground: wunderground.com. Current conditions, a 10-day forecast, and hour-by-hour predicted temperatures, winds, precipitation and barometric pressure.
-National Weather Service’s River Forecast Center: water.weather.gov for river stages.