False River in Pointe Coupee Parish was once one of the premier fisheries in the state, part of the Quality Lakes system stocked with Florida-strain bass. And then in the late 1990s, things just fell apart — siltation and water clarity suffered, and the fishery became a shade of its former glory.

But Blake Bourque said things seem to be getting better.

“It’s not what it once was, but it’s definitely showing some potential,” the tournament angler told LouisianaSportsman.com.

A recent trip to the Mississippi River oxbow lake gave proof of the quality fish the lake still holds: Bourque caught a 5.23-pound bass and another weighing 4 1/2 pounds.

He found three distinct patterns that put fish in the boat.

“The first (pattern) in the morning, I put the nose of the boat in the middle (section) of the docks and cast a (Smithwick Suspending Rattlin) Rogue to the corners (of the dock),” Bourque said.

Fish ate chrome/black-back/orange-belly Rattlin Rogues.

He fished the jerkbait on a 6-foot-6-inch medium-action Duckett Micro Magic rod and a Lew’s reel with 10-pound Berkley Vanish fluorocarbon.

Once the sun got up, he moved to working the back corners of docks in about 6 feet of water. Success came by switching his approach.

“I would pitch worms under the docks, in brush piles and to the ladders,” Bourque said. “When the water was a little cleaner, I used a Zoom Trick Worm with a 3/8-ounce weight, pegged.

“... (W)hen the water was a little more stained or muddy, I switched to a Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Worm in junebug,” Bourque said. “I felt like the vibration from the tail helped the fish find the bait better in muddy water.”

He chose 3/8-ounce weights to trigger bites, even if bass weren’t actively feeding.

“I wanted that worm to fall fast to get reaction strikes,” Bourque said. 

The Addis angler said he caught both of his heaviest fish that way.

His worm rig included a 7-foot-3-inch medium-heavy Duckett Micro Magic rod paired with an 8.3:1 Lew’s reel spooled with 17-pound Berkley Vanish.

He also caught bass with a third tactic.

“The third (pattern) I fished was nosing up to the bulkheads and paralleling a Bandit crankbait (along the seawalls),” Bourque explained. “If the water was shallow, I would use a 100 series (bait) in Tennessee Shad. When the water was a little deeper, I would switch to the 200 series (crankbait) in the same color.”

He chose a 7-foot medium-action Duckett rod and a Lew’s reel, along with 14-pound Berkley Vanish, when fishing the Bandits.