Picking one place to fish in Southeast Louisiana is a bit of a pipe dream.
“What’s the point in picking one place when everywhere you go has dead-end canals?” asked Covington bass angler Jason Pittman. “It doesn’t matter if you’re fishing Delacroix, Bayou Black or anywhere in between, it’s all about the dead-end canals in March.”
With so many likely places to fish, no one place will outshine all the rest.That’s why Pittman picked dead-end canals as the most productive water in Southeast Louisiana during March.
“If you’re going to fish dead-end canals this time of year, rig up a rod with a plastic crawfish - I like a Mister Twister Poc’it Craw - with a 1 1/2-ounce tungsten weight, a 5/0 extra wide gap super-line hook and braided line,” he said.
Pittman, who says he doesn’t even own a 1/4-ounce weight anymore, prefers this heavy, compact package to reach bass that have retreated under thick vegetation in heavily pressured dead-end canals.
Fishing a Texas-rigged soft plastic in matted grass like this is called punching because the heavy weight helps punch the plastic crawfish down through the grass.
But even with the heavy weight, Pittman says he sometimes needs a little extra help. That’s when applying a fish attractant like Rage Liquid Mayhem can come in handy. By making the bait slick, it helps his crawfish slide through the mat.
“Just about every one of those canals will have two or three boats in them during March,” Pittman said. “All that pressure will push bass into the thickest vegetation they can find… gator vine, hyacinths, and lily pads… places that the bank beaters just won’t bother to fish.”
Targeting bass in the hard-to-fish grass means Pittman is fishing for virtually untouched bass that haven’t seen a bait in a while.
“There are no secrets anymore,” he said. “With all the information available on the Internet, people know where the fish should be. So to catch fish, you’ve got to take it to the next level and go to where people might not have fished for the fish they think they’ve found.”
The benefits of Pittman’s Texas-rigged crawfish are many, but his number one reason for punching it through matted vegetation is that it will force bass to eat.When bass are deep in thick cover, they have no idea where their next meal is coming from. Therefore, when Pittman’s Poc’it Craw flashes in front of them, they either eat it or go hungry.
“This is full-contact fishing,” Pittman said. “That’s why I use the big hook tied to FINS braided line and a 7-foot 9-inch rod. You’ve got to hook them and get them out all at the same time.”
Although just about any dead-end canal is likely to set up perfectly for punching soft plastics, Pittman singled out the Gulf Canals off Lake Salvador and any of the dead-end canals off the Intracoastal Waterway between Delacroix and Des Allemands.
“I love finding a dead-end canal that has a little drain in the back of it,” Pittman said. “Just about every canal looks right for punching grass, but those that have the little drains where the vegetation stacks up are the very best, especially with a falling tide.”
During March, Pittman says bass under matted vegetation could be in any phase of the spawn and that his Texas-rigged crawfish will catch fish in all three phases.
“We had a little wave of spawning with the full moon around the 7th,” Pittman said, “and we’ll get another wave of spawning fish with the new moon around the 20th.
“That’s a bunch of bass moving under all that matted vegetation.”
Editor’s Note: This is the second article in a weeklong series by Chris Ginn on effective bass baits for March at locations around the state. Yesterday, he covered Lake D’Arbonne, and tomorrow he’ll highlight the Red River.