High pressure, bluebird skies and temperatures in the lower 40s can threaten any angler’s frustration threshold.
When even a mild cool front arrives, bass often get lockjaw, leaving many anglers regretting getting out of bed early in the morning.
But Louisiana’s river systems – especially the Ouachita River - often seem to defy that old fishing truism.
More than 40 fish were taken on just such a day recently, producing a diverse box of largemouths, spots and white bass.
Jena’s Stephen Mitchell found the first fish of the morning by halting his Bass Cat near a submerged sand flat right off the Ouachita, near where it meets the Tensas River.
The 40-year-old owner of Town & Country Sportsman’s Haven & Marine in Trout then began casting a Carolina-rigged Zoom Super Fluke onto the hard shelf.
“Here’s one now,” he said, reeling in a largemouth to the boat. “This spot is just super in holding fish off the channel – especially when you see all that baitfish in there.”
Opelousas’ Kyle Guidry was also using a Carolina rig with a Mister Twister green-pumpkin, purple-flake BUZZ Bug cast from a Power Tackle rod.
Almost at will, both anglers repeatedly caught largemouths and scrappy white bass as the baits were worked slowly off the shelf.
Most of the fish, however, were black bass.
“It sure is fun catching those white bass, too,” Mitchell said. “And the smaller ones serve to attract the larger bass in here.”
No sooner had he said those words when he hooked up on a 3-pound largemouth.
Guidry also kept on catching fish and was especially thrilled at catching white bass on a Carolina rig.
“I bet those barfish fillets would taste good in some Camp Dog Cajun Seasoning Fish Fry,” Guidry said.
Observant of Guidry’s fun with the white bass, Mitchell then tied on a War Eagle SP3 white Jiggin’ Spoon.
The angler’s switch in lures translated to numbers of white bass.
“These spoons are real good here in catching barfish and spotted bass,” Mitchell said. “It’s like these fish get a little dazzled by them.”
When the sandbar bite tapered down, Mitchell picked up and headed upriver to the mouth of a cut where shad were moving through submerged stumps.
Cast after cast with a Strike King powder-blue-back-chartreuse 3XD Series crankbait delivered football-sized largemouths.
“They’ll hold up in here in good numbers when the water is moving and the bait is here,” he said.
Guidry kept working his Carolina-rigged Mister Twister BUZZ Bug and caught a few more largemouths in the corners and back of the cut.
“This fishing will be steady from now (mid-November) and throughout December and even into January,” Mitchell said. “The white bass fishing even gets better as the waters get colder.”
White bass have a tendency to spawn earlier and in colder waters, therefore they will readily gorge on baitfish throughout the late fall and winter.
“In the Ouachita here, the largemouths and spotted bass won’t be far from them,” Mitchell said.
According to the angler, fishermen venturing from landing sites such as the Jonesville Landing Recreation Area and the Harrisonburg Recreation Area will find access to cuts, drains and sandbars in the Ouachita and other connecting streams and rivers.
Best lures include Carolina rigs, War Eagle spoons, crankbaits and War Eagle spinnerbaits. Drop-shot plastics also can produce when largemouths go deeper off the ledges near the river channel.
Plastics such as Zoom Super Flukes and Mister Twister BUZZ Bugs produce well on the river.
Surprisingly Mitchell and Guidry observed only two other boats in a 30-mile stretch of the river on a Sunday, and one of the vessels was filled with hunters. The lack of fishing pressure here even on a weekend is a solid plus for visiting anglers.
Anglers wanting to give this area a try are welcomed to call Stephen Mitchell at Town & Country Sportsman’s Haven & Marine 318-992-6310 or 318-730-8496 for more information.