A Lake Charles outdoorsman who started fishing for bass in the Lacassine Pool of the Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge when he was in the eighth grade knows where some of the best bass fishing can be had in southwest Louisiana in May.

Lacassine Pool should give up bass big and small consistently in May, something Ron Castille has learned since he first wet a line there in 1966. The 63-year-old angler and hunter knows the marsh, as it’s called, very well, which is why he points trophy bass hunters as well as avid bass anglers here this time of the year.

“Basically, you’re looking at post-spawn conditions. The fish are roaming around, they have lost a low of weight in the spawning process, and they’re eating, they’re hungry,” Castille said the second week of April while driving with his wife to their camp on Toledo Bend.

The Lacassine Pool is such a sprawling marshy impoundment (16,000 acres) it’s best to know the hotspot(s), so based on his experience since the mid-1960s, Castille pointed bass anglers to his favorite, South Pond. Also, he said, close behind that hotspot this month will be the North Lake and Lone Cypress areas. All three are on the western end and North Lake is in the northwest corner of Lacassine Pool.

The federal management area opened March 15. Due to excessive rains that time of the year, the marsh was extra high and the bass were scattered, which should be a blessing because the spawn should be improved for this spring, Castille said.

The water level has settled since then, which means bassin’ success ought to be good, weather and water conditions permitting. Go to South Pond, “what’s left” of it after all these years, he said, and offer the bass a Senko, Fluke or Texas-rigged 10-inch long plastic worm — all fished weightless unless there’s a stiff wind that knocks your casts down. If that’s the case, there’s no choice but to add a 1/32- or 1/64-ounce weight to the front of the soft plastic, thus helping your casting ability and presentation, the veteran outdoorsman said.

Top colors are dark when it’s cloudy and translucent when it’s bright and sunny, he said.

Target areas of vegetation, particularly those places with open holes scattered throughout the underwater and matted greenery. Work the soft plastic, whatever you tied on, over the top and at the edge of the holes let it fall in the open area.

Another Castille favorite is a plastic frog, either a hollow body frog or a Stanley Ribbit. While many a bass blows up on those bogus frogs, Castille uses them mostly as a fish locator and has a comeback lure at the ready — either the Senko, Fluke or long plastic worm.