The Mississippi River at this time of year is mostly in its banks and has pulled the bass out of the backwaters to the main river and passes. I look for roseau-cane points and cuts where currents break and move around the mouths of creeks and bayous.
Normally at this time of year, the bass will start to migrate out of the ponds and move to the main river, the passes or to the mouths of those main cuts, where there's plenty of current.
I like to locate hyacinth and lily-pad mats, and fish the Strike King Hack Attack jig there. If I can't get a 3/4- or a 1-ounce Hack Attack jig through those thick mats, I'll use a 1- or a 1 1/2-ounce Tru Tungsten sinker and a Strike King Rodent. If the water's clear, I like to use a Rodent in Bama Bug, a Double Header or a black-blue flake color to punch the lily pads around the mouths of those cuts.
If I find overhanging roseau cane at the mouths of the cuts, I'll drop a 3/4-ounce Hack Attack jig through it and use a Strike King Rodent as a trailer.
Depending on where the oil is this month, you may have to move farther up the river and look for logjams, brush or any type of thick cover that will provide shade for the bass. I like to fish the Rodent when I'm flipping or use it as a jig trailer, since it resembles a small baitfish.
But I also like the fact that the Rodent doesn't have any appendages that stick out, like the legs on the Strike King Lizard, the Wild Thang or other creature-type baits. That's why the Rodent can penetrate cover much better than other flipping-type baits. The Rodent's just the right-sized bait for August bass.
I'll flip the Rodent on 65-pound-test Cajun Braid line, because you never know what you'll catch — possibly a 3-pound largemouth on one flip, a 15-pound redfish on the next flip, a sheepshead or a speckled trout.
I hope we can clean-up the oil quickly, so Venice can return to its glory.
From Venice, you can go up the river. That flow coming down should help keep some of the oil pushed out from some of the places where you can fish. This estuary area allows you to catch freshwater and saltwater catfish in the same places you catch bass, speckled trout and redfish. Because the river's moving, the water will be cooler, which will generate many bites. You can catch so many fish there in August that you won't be thinking about the heat.
Also, at this time of year, I'll fish the Strike King Redfish Magic instead of a spinnerbait. If you're fishing a spinnerbait and a big redfish hits, it will tear up that spinnerbait. The Redfish Magic is very strong, has a heavy hook and will catch bass, redfish, speckled trout and anything else that swims. I prefer to use the 3/8-ounce Strike King Redfish Magic Flats Jighead rather than the standard 1/4-ounce jig.
Most of the time I prefer to fish the 3/8-ounce Redfish Magic to run it deeper around the grass, the stumps and the logs slower than it will run with the smaller head. Also, I like to run the bait a little deeper, because the speckled trout usually will hold closer to the bottom than the redfish.
I like the pearl-colored Redfish Magic this month, because it looks like a shadow, and the river's generally still off-color in August. I'll also fish solid chartreuse and white/chartreuse. Early in the morning, I prefer black with a chartreuse tail.
While none of us knows what this oil will do to our fishing, in the past, on an average August day in Venice, I've often caught largemouths, speckled trout, redfish and flounder in the same day — a grand slam of Venice inshore fishing.