The day dawned with thick fog blanketing the waters near Bob's Bayou Black Marina, but that didn't bother Kurt and Adam Cook. The uncle/nephew fishing team knew they didn't need to go far to put fish in the boat.
A short run to a series of dead-end canals later, the Cook boys arrived to find bass that seemingly couldn't wait to get in the boat. By 10 a.m., about 40 Bayou Black chunks had crossed the gunnel.
"They're moving into these dead-end canals right now," uncle Kurt Cook explained. "They are positioning themselves for the spawn.
"We can come back in February and catch them right up on the banks."
This month, however, the fish will be in a little deeper water. How deep depends on the prevaling weather.
"They'll be on underwater stumps and stuff," the elder Cook said. "When a front comes through, they might be out deeper, in 6 to 8 feet of water. When you have a warm spell, they'll pull up a little shallower."
The Cooks fish together pretty much every weekend, and Bayou Black is where they usually head when they leave their Prairieville homes.
"The population of fish down here is just awesome," Kurt Cook said. "You can come out here and catch 20, 30, 40 fish."
And the variety of habitat — from cypress swamps up north to brackish marsh farther south — offers a lot of variety.
"Every form of fishing you want to do is right here," Adam Cook said. "You can flip roseau canes, fish grass, flip cypress trees, fish marsh ponds, whatever your strength is."
This pair of anglers stand shoulder to shoulder on the front deck, encouraging each other as they work the banks. Their go-to lures include Strike King KVD 1 and 1.5 crankbaits, Humdinger spinnerbaits and soft plastics.
On this day, they caught fish early by running the KVD cranks and spinnerbaits around cypress trees and submerged cover.
Kurt Cook said the key to spinnerbaits this time of year is beefing up the blades.
"Usually you have a No. 3.5 blade, but I like to go up to a No. 5," he explained. "You want to use those round blades — either Indianas or Colorados — instead of willowleafs because they give off more vibration."
Adam Cook was first to pick up a flipping rod, which was rigged with a Zoom Brush Hog.
"They love this bait," he said with a slight grin.
Productive colors include black/red, watermelon/red, junebug and junebug/red, the Cooks agreed.
Adam Cook said he ups his weights during the winter months.
"It gets down to the fish faster," he said. "You want to get it down there and get a reaction bite."
It didn't take long for the younger Cook to start picking up fish.
The key to success as water temperatures begin to fall is to take your time.
"You want to slow down your retrieve," Kurt Cook said. "The slower the better this time of year. If I'm using a spinnerbait, I just slow-roll it."
Adam Cook agreed.
"They're not going to move a lot," he said.