Joe Lavigne says three lures are all that’s needed to successfully float fish the Tangipahoa River for spotted bass: a spinner, a buzzbait and a topwater plug. The “day-in-and-day-out” skirt color for the spinner and the buzzbait is chartreuse and white.

He will shift to chartreuse and black if the water has a “little tint to it.” But he warns that if the water isn’t clear enough to see a lure 4 or 5 inches underwater, fishing the river is a waste of time.

He was specific in recommending Lunker Lures as buzzbaits and ¼-ounce Humdingers as the brand and size of spinner to use. “Pretty much everyone that fishes the river uses Humdingers,” he tossed off.

Typically (80 percent, he said) his blade choices for the spinner are a silver Colorado for the small blade and a #3 ½ gold willow leaf blade for the larger one, although for this day on the river he substituted a gold Indiana blade for the willow leaf blade.

His choice for a topwater plug was an odd one, a blue blood color ½-ounce Whopper Plopper, made by River2Sea. While he sometimes used it in deeper, slow current areas, its use was mostly very site specific. Every time he approached a steeply cut, high vertical bank, what he called a “clay bank,” he reached for the rod with that lure. 

Lure choices have evolved. “When I was a kid, we threw River Runts, Nip-I-Dittys, double spinner, black and yellow H & H spinners and Snagless Sallys with No. 4 blades and  No. 101 frog color Uncle Josh pork chunks.

“I still use Sallys, but now my main spinner is the Humdinger.”