It’s easy. It’s fun. It can be “flat-tastic!” Ask anyone in the tri-city area of Morgan City, Berwick and Patterson where is the best place to fish redear sunfish, fondly referred around these parts as chinquapins, and the first place they’ll tell you is Flat Lake. What’s more, the month of April is when it turns on.
No matter how ready you think you are, a smashing attack on a topwater plug by an aggressive springtime largemouth bass will make your heart stop.
And it wasnt even my chugger that the fish whacked.
Everything was perfect for a topwater bite. It was early April, and the warmth of spring was in the air. The sky was overcast, so the bass didnt want to stay in the weeds to avoid the glare. And the water level was A-1 about 8 inches over the dense beds of water plants in the small lakes and sloughs around Larto Lake.
Veteran turkey hunter Randy Stafford remembers well one late-season hunt for a very wizened longbeard. “This old gobbler would not roost in the same place two days in a row,” the 65-year-old president of the Louisiana Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation said. “On the morning after the first hunt for that bird, we heard him gobbling far away from us.” Stafford and his hunting partner saw the bird in a field with two other gobblers later in the afternoon.
Kaplans Skip Floyd and his wife Tanya had traveled east by boat all the way from Bridge City, Texas, to the Lambert weir on southern Lake Calcasieu. The husband-and-wife team were fishing a Gulf Coast redfish tournament, and they made the long run to boat two slot redfish to haul back to the weigh-in.
Tanya and I pulled up behind the weirs and began easing along while sight-fishing for redfish, the 47-year-old Skip Floyd said. We were fortunate to eventually see a group of birds hovering in one of the ponds, and there was a school of redfish beneath them.
Skip was throwing a pearl white, 6- inch Al Gag Whip-It Eel, while Tanya chunked a pink version of the lure.
Its been years since weve been able to head out to the rigs in the spring and bring home red snapper, but that all changes this year.
Yep, the season in Louisiana waters kicked off March 24 and the definition of what constitutes Louisiana waters has been broadened by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission to mean all waters within three marine leagues (10.357 miles) off the coast.
Hard late-April cold fronts are about as common as honest politicians.
But that was the exact scenario facing Capt. Charlie Thomason last April. He had been on a really strong big-trout bite in Lake of Two Trees during the first half of the month, but then Jack Frost, in a fit of rage during his death throes, blew some of the seasons chilliest weather down to South Louisiana.
Nighttime highs fell into the 40s, and water temperatures plummeted from 80 degrees to 60 degrees.
Many of the Trestles trout that ended their day in an icy coffin had a bat ray to thank.
Capt. Jonathan Allen, like most of the successful anglers on Lake Pontchartrains bridges, is a compulsive hook-setter. If so much as a single blade of hydrilla brushes the tail of his bait, Allen sets the hook.
As a result, he catches a ton of fish that other anglers would miss, but he also snags the bottom more than a jetty anchor.
I could tell wade-fishing turns Guy Stansel on by the way he jumped into the water. While his buddy Mark Jeanes quietly stepped down the transom ladder into Calcasieu Lake, Stansel leapt in with reckless abandon. The only thing more disturbing to the tranquil environment than the thunderous splash was the resulting cannonball-sized waves that rolled across Joe’s Cove.
Lots of folks launch at the Oak Ridge Park boat ramp in Golden Meadow during April. A great percentage of them aspire to fish East Timbalier. And why not? April means transition trout, and East Timbalier is the end of the line.
Big stringers of trout await this month across the Louisiana coast, while freshwater options abound for inland anglers.