Something old, something new; something borrowed, something blue belongs to a bride for wedding day. Right?
Not when it comes to the marriage of fishermen to the Atchafalaya Basin these days, and, last weekend, old and new — if you count 42 young anglers “new” — borrowed and blue carried through the days.
The “old” began Friday with the 14th Seniors Bass (only 55 and older) get-together at the Belle River Public Landing, the same place the Junior Southwest Bassmasters gathered Sunday.
Marvin Alleman and Aaron Verrett teamed to take first place in the Seniors with a near 10-pound, three-bass limit.
Because the idea of this morning-only competition is to bring guys who’ve fished against each other for more than four decades, it wasn’t surprising to see Alleman’s name atop the list of the 72 anglers.
Nor was it surprising he didn’t have much to say: Alleman has been a closed-lipped fishermen for a long, long time. All he said was “Spillway,” and when pressed, “lower Spillway.”
That was the case for most among the top 12 teams and individuals to earn back a few Senior dollars. The Atchafalaya Spillway has drawn a large share of the freshwater fishing action since a near 10-month-long period of high water kept bass fishermen looking for other locations.
Except for Charlie “Brown” Waguespack. He fished alone, and that’s where he borrowed on his knowledge of the Verret Basin to bring him a fourth-place finish. With the grinding season coming up soon for sugar cane farmers, he’s been using pre-grind time casting in the Atchafalaya, and coming up short — him and many others.
“It’s been tough finding good fish over there,” Waguespack said pointing west of the Atchafalaya Guide Levee. “I went on a hunch to Lake Verret and caught the fish I needed.”
And, like others, he said if he’d had a few more minutes — weigh-in deadline was noon — he could’ve done better.
“The fish were just starting to bite good when I had to leave,” he said.
Last year’s winner, John Scavona, found the same thing in the Atchafalaya. He launched from Doiron’s in Stephensville and ran near 30 minutes to a shallow lake west of the Atchafalaya River.
“We caught four fish in the last 10 minutes before we had to make a run,” Scavona said. “Fishing was slow in the early morning.”
He talked about the effects of the recent full moon on the bass bite, knowing full well the best action comes in the middle of the day.
And, that’s where the “blue” came in, because most of the 12 fish caught last Friday morning came on a blue/chartreuse/white spinnerbait. The muddy water dictated there be some blue in the bait’s skirt.
And the muddy water?
“Don’t know where it’s coming from,” Scavona said. “The river (level) is down, but maybe it as so high for so long that it needs to settle more before we start finding clearer water. When that happens, look out, the fishing’s going get great.”
It took better than a 2-pound average to make the top 12, and Scavona’s three fish missed that mark by less than one ounce.
Jeff McMorris’ 3.93-pounder was the morning’s big bass.
The new-bees showed the way for the older guys in Sunday’s Junior Southwest Bassmasters’ ninth 2019 tournament.
Luke Miller’s five-fish limit weighed out at 11.36 pounds to take the top spot in the 11-14 age group, and Blake LeRay’s 9.34 pounds was the 7-10 age group’s top catch, both of which far outpaced the 15-18 age-group winner Wyatt Ensminger’s 7.42 pounds.
And Cade Chadwick’s 4.03-pounder showed up in the 11-14s and was the day’s big bass.
Fact was the top three 11-14 group’s stringers weighed more than any in the older group.
Youth organizer Jim Breaux said the field was 31 strong — all weighed at least one bass — and with their adult “guides,” the day produced 133 bass including 12 five-bass limits among the young anglers.
“Most of the fish were caught on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, Speed Craw, worms and creature baits,” Breaux reported. “And punching mats of grass” proved to be a good method.
For more on this youth club, call Breaux at (225) 772-3026.
More bass spots
For most fishermen, Delacroix is an area, not a specific place, so when Jeff Bruhl passes along the info, he’s talking about waters covering several square miles.
“We fishing the Batola area back towards Spanish Lake and to Oak River,” he said after a 40-bass, five-redfish catch this week.
“The key is to find deep spots in the grass in 4-to-6 feet (water depth) and look for holes around the grass,” he said. “You need to put your trolling motor down and don’t stop until you catch them.”
He described the action as “silly,” because the catch came long before noon, long before a thunderstorm chased him back to the launch.
“We’re throwing a little spinnerbait in the grass. Swimbaits are working, too, but you have to keep moving,” Bruhl said. “You’ll catch four, five, six or seven in one spot, then there’s nothing for a hundred yards, then you find some more. We didn’t find any big fish, but there were a lot of 2-pounders.”
Bruhl said a buddy told him about action on topwater baits “on the other side of Orange Bayou.”
- Venice bass are turning on, and the report is the runs off Southeast Pass are good. This is a vast area, and catching bass is akin to finding a needle in a haystack. Look for clean water in the runs and flipping soft plastics along the edges of the canes is the best tactic.
- And, there’s been a run on 1-3 pound bass in the Des Allemands area. It’s a run from the Bayou Segnette State Park launch, and working flukes and other weedless lures over the grass in places like Lake Boeuf is the trick.
Ask the old-timers about speckled trout and they’ll talk about “transition” time, a period when trout are moving from the lower bays and near-coast habitat into the marsh to spend the fall and winter months.
Don’t take that to mean there are no specks living near the shorelines and reefs near and into the Gulf of Mexico. Some trout continue to feed there in places like Lake Borgne, island beaches and reefs east and west of Grand Isle, and in lower Terrebonne.
Be aware these fish are taking advantage of what looks like is a good white shrimp season, and trout know now is the time to make a meal of croakers and pogeys. And the big trout will eat finger mullets.
The point is “keeper” trout are looking for larger morsels these days, and that means casting larger hard- and soft-plastic lures. This is the time for queen-size cocahoe minnows, the lighter colors in Vudu Shrimp and other four-inch and longer soft plastics, and MirrOLures (the 52M18 color mimics a mullet), topwaters and blue/chrome jerkbaits.