This beautiful spring weekend is predicted to dissolve into a not-so-nice-weather week, and that could throw a monkey wrench into the works when it comes to setting out a fishing plan.
With the bass spawn on — or in some stages of it — in so many places, Wednesday night’s blustery weather and more than one inch of rain coming in a Tuesday-through-Friday stretch of heavy cloud cover might mean bass spawn Monday.
The current stretch of sun-warmed water in most south Louisiana spots could trigger bass to begin the ages-old process of restocking our lakes, rivers, bayous and marshes days in advance of March 28’s full moon.
But! Ah, that’s the rub, this full moon, a time of the month sunfish seem to favor this ritual.
We’ve come to know bass have a special sense to know when things aren’t just right, and the coming clouds and rain just might push the spawn to sometime next weekend.
It’s like this: somehow in the "Grand Plan," bass know their newly deposited and fertilized eggs need sunlight’s warmth to develop, and the chance of several days of clouds and muddy water brought on by cold rains diminish the odds for a successful hatch. And, somehow bass know, don't know how, but they do.
For any among us who’ve watched this once-a-year event for many years, we’ve seen female bass hold their eggs for as long as two months for conditions to “get right,” and rain, muddy water and the lack of sunlight are reasons enough for bass to delay the spawn.
We’ll know more next week.
In the marshes
Four days of mostly north winds will set up redfish, trout and bass for a turnaround when south winds return to south Louisiana this week.
Because most of these areas are broad and shallow, north winds remove water, and the south winds restore water levels.
When the water falls, baitfish, shrimp and crabs move on the fall and that concentrates fish around run-outs.
When the wind turns around, water from the big lakes in our major basins gets pushed back into the bayous, canals, rivers and the shallow marsh ponds.
For fishermen, this water transfer leaves a period when the predator fish remain in the deeper water where they were foraging on the falling water levels and before redfish and bass, particularly, and trout, to a lesser degree, will follow the swelling water back into the edges of the marsh and the marsh ponds.
While the conditions won’t be good — remember rains return this week — the chance for above-average catches likely will linger into the Thursday.
The best places? Try the MRGO and the nearby ICWW areas, the Leeville and The Fourchon, Cocodrie and Dulac-Theriot areas. And fish live and artificial lures under a cork in open water and soft-plastic swimbaits in the grassbeds, or try spinnerbaits.
Earlier in the week, it looked like the shad were making their spawning run into the shallows of False River. A check Wednesday morning showed Tuesday's rain slowed that marsh, and this migration took another hit Wednesday night.
Bass and catfish moved into the shallows in the early morning, then pulled away from bulkheads and rip-rap after 8:30 a.m. Spinnerbaits and swimbaits in shad colors worked best on bass up to 3 pounds. A jerkbait also was effective Friday morning, but it had to be worked slowly, just like the swimbaits.
Even though the Atchafalaya River is rising. It appears sac-a-lait didn’t get the message about not biting on rising water. This grand overflow swamp is producing sac-a-lait just in time for wonderful Lenten fish fries. Bass, while not biting as eagerly as they did two weeks ago, continue to take crawfish imitations, spinnerbaits and jerkbaits around cypress trees.
David Cavell’s advice from last week holds. Bass are move active in waters away from both the Atchafalaya River and the Intracoastal Waterway.
No word on bream or catfish in either the Atchafalaya or Verret basins, but rainfall runoff usually spurs a run on catfish in the Verret area, so get ready for some of that action next weekend.
As for the rivers, the Atchafalaya appears to be on a slow rise with the levels at 4.7 feet on the Morgan City gauge.
The Mississippi River is predicted to crest next week — 34.5 feet at Baton Rouge and 13 feet at New Orleans — with a forecast of a 27.1-foot reading at Baton Rouge and 10.8 feet at New Orleans come April 14.
The next generation
Walker High’s Peyton Matherne was joined by Wade Roberts of Lake Charles on the list of 47 named to the 2021 Bassmaster High School All-State Fishing Team presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors.
Hunter Hayes White of Sulphur was named to the honorable mention list.
According to the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, the students first were nominated by a coach, teacher or school official, then the more than 300 nominations were selected based on “their success in bass tournament competition, academic achievement and leadership in conservation and community service.”
Nominees came from grades 10-12 and had to maintain a minimum 2.5 grade-point average.
From the list of 47, 12 will be named to the All-American High School Fishing Team later this year.
Matherne and White made another list, too.
Louisiana had two teams place among the top 20 in the recent Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series held on the Harris Chain Of Lakes near Leesburg, Florida.
Walker High’s Jace Martello and Luke Ferachi weighed in a five-fish limit weighing 15 pounds, 1 ounce to place 10th in the 142-team field. A 13-2 catch by Levi Thibodaux and Holdyn Delatte put the Lafourche Bassmaster teammates in 18th place.
Parker Stalvey and Jacob Deel of Clay High in Florida won with a 22-12 total.
Louisiana’s other teams getting series points included Lafourche Bassmaster’s team of Dylan Breaux and Gage Boquet (31st, 11-1), Brusly High’s Kaden Holley and Caleb Pourciau (54th, 8-13), Denham Springs High’s Caleb Roblin and Blake Verberne (64th, 6-14), Sulphur High’s Blayne Carpenter and Drake Koonce (84th, 5-10) and White and Tiger Manuel (99th, 3-2) and Walker High’s Matherne and Stephen James (101st, 2-12).
Louisiana also had two teams place in the top 50 in the 261-team field in the first 2021 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops and held on Lake Hartwell in South Carolina.
Andrew Harp and John Higginbotham from Louisiana Tech finished 18th with a two-day, 10-bass catch weighing 26-8, and Nicholls State’s Cade Fortenberry and Landon Baudoin ended up in 48th with a 9-bass, 23-9 total. Ben Cully and Hayden Gaddis from Carson-Newman U. won with 35 pounds, 10 ounces.