It’s safe to say Ty Hibbs suffers from wanderlust.
His mantra is “whatever bites,” and he wears out his truck tires driving to catch fish whenever and wherever they’re biting.
But when classes are in session at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, where Hibbs is studying marine biology, he has to shorten his trips.
Fortunately, with Des Allemands and Lake Cataouatche so close, he doesn’t have far to drive to catch a mess of sac-a-lait just about any time he wants to during the spring semester.
Obviously two completely different fisheries, Hibbs says Des Allemands is the place to go for larger sac-a-lait, and Lake Cataouatche is the place to go for bigger numbers of fish.
The first of the two to turn on is Des Allemands. Hibbs says the bigger sac-a-lait start biting when the water temperature hits the 55- to 60-degree range.
“At Des Allemands, I fish a lot of the deep pipeline canals in the woods,” Hibbs said. “Some are anywhere from 12- to 18-feet deep. I like to find gum trees and cypress knees… not the ones in 2 or 3 feet… but those closest to the middle in 6- to 10-feet of water.”
Hibbs says these deeper 12- to 14-inch fish at Des Allemands will stay stacked up on this cover until the water warms up enough for them to spread out and spawn.
And just about the time the Des Allemands run starts to wind down, the Lake Cataouatche bite turns on.
This sac-a-lait “one-two punch” lasts from February to the end of March at Des Allemands and from March into May at Cataouatche.
“Sac-a-lait at Cataouatche get better when the water warms up to around 65 degrees,” Hibbs said. “The fishing is entirely different, too. Instead of deep woods, I wind up fishing shallow grass for a bunch of 8- to 12-inch fish.”
To get to his favorite canals at Des Allemands, Hibbs launches either at Bayou Gauche or the St. John public launch depending on what side he wants to fish.
For Lake Cataouatche, Hibbs launches either at Pier 90 or Bayou Segnette State Park.
No matter which area he fishes, Hibbs relies heavily on natural looking colors for sac-a-lait, and he’s been trying out some new prototype Matrix Minis in colors like ultra violet, midnight mullet, and magneto. Sometimes, though, he goes the opposite direction and fishes a black/chartreuse bait.
“I’m not too particular about jighead colors like a lot of sac-a-lait anglers,” Hibbs said, “but I’ve noticed that a pink head with those natural-colored, almost clear plastics work really well.”
At both places, Hibbs likes to fish his jigs about two feet under a cork. The only difference is that at Des Allemands, he fishes over the wood cover, and at Cataouatche he fishes the edges of grass beds.
“Actually, at Cataouatche, the thicker the grass the better,” Hibbs said. “I fish the outside grass right on the edge, but if you really want to smash them, get on the edge of a big grass bed that’s maybe 15 yards off the bank and poke some holes in the grass with your net. Some people take a rake. Then all you’ve got to do is pretend you’re ice fishing and drop your jig straight down in that hole.”
According to Hibbs, his best sac-a-lait trips are cloudy days with falling barometric pressure, warmer air temperatures in the upper 60s and a slight rain chance.
“You get just about all that on the days with a front coming through,” Hibbs said. “I don’t like to go on those bluebird, post-front days.”
Editor's Note: This is the final article in a series by Chris Ginn on the status of the crappie bite across the state. You can view his earlier reports on the Atchafalaya Basin, Lake D'Arbonne, Toledo Bend and Lake Bistineau by clicking on the links.