Slow and steady wins the race — and it could also be the key to catch some nice prespawn bass this weekend in the Atchafalaya Basin.
While filming an upcoming episode of Sportsman TV yesterday on the Spillway side of the Basin in the Grand Lake area, Bassmaster Elite Series pro Greg Hackney caught lots of fish despite the cool temperatures.
Hackney was traveling to an out-of-state appearance Friday and couldn’t be reached for comment, but Sportsman TV producer Jared Serigné said a slow presentation was crucial.
“When they first started fishing, they were going too fast. They were blowing right past the fish,” Serigné said. “They had to really slow down to what Hackney called a snail’s pace, and then work at that snail’s pace and just barely move down the bank.
“It had to be a dead-end canal where the water had cleaned up a little bit to the back end.”
The group, including Hack’s longtime friend Jason Melancon, launched from Belle River Landing Thursday morning when the air temperature was 38 degrees, with a water temperature of 49. The warmest the water warmed up to was 51 degrees.
“You would throw to the bank and then see if the fish were shallow or on the edge. Yesterday it seemed like the fish were relating to structure that you couldn’t see on the bottom,” Serigné said. “Most of the bites didn’t come from up in the water column - fish were picking it up off the bottom.
“You basically had to get it very close to them. They weren’t chasing after it.”
Males seemed slightly shallower, while females were a bit further off the bank, he said.
Hackney was using a green 1-ounce Hack Attack jig with a green Rage Craw trailer, Serigné said.
“Everything you did had to be slow,” he said. “The trolling motor was on its slowest speed. You retrieve would come back in slow.
“Slow, slow, slow.”
In talking with Hackney yesterday, Serigné said it sounded like the fish were staged in place, just waiting for warmer temperatures to begin the spawn.
“It sounded like they’re already there, it’s just the activity is going to happen when we start getting warmer days,” he said. “They’re already moved into where they’re going to be and are setting up and getting ready to go.
“We just need some consecutive days of warm weather for it to actually happen.”
Footage from Thursday’s shoot will be featured in the next episode of Sportsman TV, which should air by mid-March.
“It was definitely cold, but it was definitely worth going,” Serigné said. “There’s no reason not to go. You couldn’t fish like you might want, where you just keep throwing fast.
“If you go, you definitely have to slow down.”