After paying close attention to the dozens of guys weighing five-fish limits in Saturday’s Anglers Against Autism bass tournament, it’s difficult to render any verdict on where to go and what to do when you get there in either the Atchafalaya or Verret basins.
Despite a rising barometer, a chilly morning boat ride and March’s usually high water levels, most teams in the 95-boat field came back from Doiron’s Landing with fish to check their catches at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales.
It took near 14 pounds to draw a check for the 15 payout spots, and congrats to the $5,000 first-place winners Blake and Mark Sylvester for their 17.94-pound catch.
Here’s the confounding part: the Sylvesters were the first team to weigh, and, if memory serves, they said they caught Atchafalaya Spillway fish using soft plastics, a staple lure for south Louisiana bass.
There were many other healthy limits, too — 42 five-bass limits weighed, then quickly placed in Jimmy Lasseigne’s restocking boat and ferried back to native waters — and that’s where the reports turned messy.
Within minutes, one team reported they couldn’t get a strike on a moving bait, nothing, then three minutes later another five-bass, 14-pound stringer came on spinnerbaits and buzzbaits.
Then came word from a team that punching grass with heavily weighted soft plastics got them 15 pounds, then another team came in with near 16 pounds all on a jig-n-pig.
Still, soft-plastic creature baits — some crawfish imitations and others which defy description — did the trick.
Most among the top 15 came from the Atchafalaya, and with water levels possibly on a slow fall for the next several days, and warmer weather setting in, the big question: Is the Atchafalaya "getting right?"
At least two limits came from areas the teams said “were south,” which likely means the Bateman Island area, and there’s always the western side of the Atchafalaya where waters swell with the rising Atchafalaya River, but aren’t as affected by the muddy water the River sends into the bayous, swamps and canals on the river’s east side.
Other places? The freshwater areas in lower Terrebonne Parish are giving up solid bass catches, but the sac-a-lait action has slowed, and sac-a-lait action has picked up in all the Florida Parishes rivers except the still-high Pearl River.
And, False River is hot after the lake filled, and catches will depend a lot on whether the bass spawned on Tuesday's full moon.
The Mississippi hit respective 41.2-foot and 16.4-foot marks Tuesday and is projected to fall to 34.6 and 14.1 feet April 7.
Spots & dots
Speckled trout hot spots reported are in the Delacroix and MRGO areas, Yellow Cotton Bay near Buras and islands and marshes south of Lafitte. The east side of the Mississippi River near Buras and the Lafourche Parish marshes are giving up redfish.
Lots of folks know Bill Lake and his Bayou Guide Service in Theriot, and he’s asking for prayers after his youngest son, Christopher, was involved in a head-on highway collision Tuesday. Christopher was in surgery late Tuesday after being airlifted to a New Orleans area hospital.
What a giveaway
Remember last Thursday’s page about B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott weighing the tackle boxes of the first Bassmaster Classic anglers, and how he removed prized lures from boxes weighing more than 10 pounds?
Well, Scott kept those lures in one tackle box, and Plano is duplicating them for a “Retro Lure Giveaway.”
A Plano tackle box filled with what the company calls, “a set of rare collectible antique lures from Rebel, Cotton Cordell, Heddon, Lazy Ike and B Lures,” are stocked in the same Plano 777 Tacklebox the pros used in Classic I.
Even better, the giveaway winner will receive more, including a new Plano box loaded with new lures from Bandit, Bomber, BOOYAH, YUM and War Eagle.
You can enter every day through Sunday, March 15 at this website: bassmaster.com/retroluregiveaway.