Bass fishing is as much a passion in south Louisiana as, well, maybe, football.
OK, so there’s the old saying around here about two seasons, football and spring football, but that hardly spans the days south Louisiana’s climes allow the folks chasing ol’ Mr. Largemouth and his smaller cousin, the spotted bass.
Fact is, there’s hardly a day in the calendar year when there’s no “somewhere” to wet a line. Even in the depths of winter and under summer’s skin-baking sun, there’s a chance to catch fish.
Compare that to the number of days your favorite college team — the Saints, too — and football take a backseat to those so passionate about their piscatorial pursuits.
Yeah, then there are these days: rivers are swollen and have been for a record number of months — the Mississippi River has been abnormally high for more than six months — and the Atchafalaya River isn’t that far behind in that race.
Recent rains have put most Florida Parishes rivers in a fishing “hold” pattern, all of which leaves few chances for bass anglers.
There are options. If you have a dear friend who just happens to own land with a pond, that’s one friend you want to call.
False River is the fall-back spot under these conditions, and the relatively stable water levels in this oxbow lake at New Roads is getting more than its fair share of fishing pressure.
What makes False River a good spot is that just about this time, just like it should be in most south Louisiana waters, shad begins to spawn. That activity coincides with bass coming out of their post-spawn doldrums. Shad are everywhere and shad to a bass is like presenting a thick steak to a starving wolf. Thing is, the shad are small and there’s little use in splashing the water with a big spinnerbait or three-inch long crankbait. That’s not what the bass are targeting.
Think small and you’ll increase your chances of catching bass.
It’s only remembering back many years ago when Jake Donachricha won a big-money bass tournament on False River by going to a small white jig he fashioned from squirrel hair and thread. He had to fish on the longest rod made back then — it was a limber 7-foot, pistol grip rod (if memory serves correctly) — and because the lure was so small he had to match it with light line.
Donachricha caught a bunch of bass and let local fishermen know just how to adapt fishing techniques to the situation.
Another place to try is the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet. The marsh is loaded with bass up to three pounds and redfish are everywhere. So, there’s the chance to catch a little bit of everything there. Folks have caught flounder, speckled trout and black drum by rolling a spinnerbait in the marshes and along grass beds.
That said, all we can do is pray the big rivers will fall, but that’s not going to happen any time to soon.
Larry Doiron has opened the landing at his family store on the Belle River side, but “No Wake” zones continue to be enforced throughout the Belle River and Verret Basin.
Covey Rise in Husser will be set up Sunday for a NSCA Sporting Clays Tournament.
Registration opens at 8 a.m. for the two 100-target events and a 5-Stand competition. For details, call (985) 747-0310 or go to website: coveyriselodge.com.