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Focusing on wood in the current of main bayous is the key to catching Atchafalaya Basin bass this month.

Best bets for Atchafalaya Basin bass

The long-awaited drop in the Atchafalaya River happened in late June, and that meant it was easy to catch bass in the Basin.

August 26 at 6:43am
Jerald Horst (rear) and his grandson Jake Gros spend a lot of time fishing, and they catch a lot of bream. Horst's goal for each trip is 200 fish.

6 tips to catch more bream

Louisiana Sportsman contributor Jerald Horst has a reputation as a serious bream killer. I’ve repeatedly heard stories of him returning to the landing with hundreds of bluegill and goggle-eye.

“My goal is 200,” Horst confirmed when he called and invited me to join him and his grandson on a trip yesterday to the sprawling Atchafalaya Basin. “If I don’t catch 200 it’s not a good trip.”

July 27 at 2:49pm
Creature baits are great for plucking Atchafalaya Basin bass from active drains.

Basin run-outs light up

When the nation’s last great overflow swamp is done taking its annual bath and the water level starts falling, Atchafalaya Basin bass anglers can have a grand time.

A veteran angler who has fished the Atchafalaya Basin since he was old enough to hold a fishing pole saids one of the bassing hotspots will be Grand Lake.

July 25 at 10:08am
Big, meaty goggle-eyes are common in the Atchafalaya and are willing biters, no matter how hot the weather is.

The best conditions for Atchafalaya Basin fishing success

While many factors come into play in successfully fishing the Atchafalaya Basin, what the Atchafalaya River is doing dominates decisions on whether and where to go fishing.

July 15 at 7:00am
A cold-worm tipped tube jig will catch crappie and bream such as bluegills, chinquapin (redears), and goggle-eyes equally well.

Langlois’ best Atchafalaya Basin fishing equipment

“I don’t have any fancy jig poles or expensive ultralights,” John Langlois growled. 

July 15 at 7:00am
Cokie Cormier snatched this nice bluegill off a gravel bed using a Cap Spider.

Along came a spider

Listen in on a group of a fanatical fly fishermen enjoying their favorite adult beverages, and pretty soon the fish get bigger and stories get weird.

Several of us had gathered after a day on the water and were recalling our most-unusual catches on the fly.

July 08 at 1:00pm
Bluegills are suckers for worm-tipped tube jigs.

Atchafalaya fruit salad — The Basin offers multi-species fishing opportunities this month

When the winter-spring floodwaters fall out of the Atchafalaya Basin, everything that swims bites.

Unless a fisherman is a single-species snob, a day’s catch can include, largemouth and spotted bass, white bass, yellow bass, two species of crappie, three or four species of bream, blue catfish, channel catfish and the odd flathead catfish.

July 01 at 7:00am
The author's dad, Allen Crawford, helped drag a mess of huge goggle-eye out of the Atchafalaya Basin last Monday.

Atchafalaya Basin fishing turned as river drops

If you're in South Louisiana and want to catch some bass or panfish, all you need to do is head to the Atchafalaya Basin. Water levels have finally dropped, and that means the runouts are holding bass, crappie and bream.

I learned that first hand while on vacation last week, during which I spent four of the five days fishing the Spillway from the Flat Lake area all the way to upper Bayou Sorrel.

June 27 at 10:41am
Kevin Diez (front) and Gene Hoover have been friends for many years and love to fish in the Atchafalaya Basin.

The making of two Atchafalaya Basin bass-fishing experts

Kevin Diez is an old friend.

I first met him fishing. We were both belly deep in the water at Elmer’s Island, clobbering speckled trout and white trout.

We were the only two on the island and the fishing was easy, so we started talking.

June 15 at 7:00am
During the summer low-water period, punching vegetation with short underhand casts is deadly effective for bass under vegetation.

Atchafalaya Basin bass-fishing calendar

Largemouth bass fishing is cyclic. Water temperatures, and with them oxygen levels, vary by season.

June 15 at 7:00am
Caleb Sumrall builds hefty stringers of bass by punching grass.

Punching practices

Submerged vegetation is to bass as politics is to lying — you won’t find one without the other.

That means when a nice, thick grass bed forms on pretty much any body of water, bass anglers will be punching soft-plastics through the mats.

June 13 at 6:00am
Both Bull and “pig” frogs abound in the more open, grassier regions of the Maurepas Swamp.

Midnight run — Tips for frogging in the Manchac Swamp WMA swamps

“Wind from the WEST!” Artie yelled, waving his arms crazily and looking around. “Fish bite BEST! Who on earth came up with DAT?”

He pointed at the flapping Saints flag on the porch of Doc’s camp as he yelled.

“Whoever it was sure didn’t live in Southeast Louisiana!” Eddie answered, pointing at the exposed mud stretching about 2 feet from the edge of the spartina grass to the muddy canal right below us. “Gonna be a skimpy Father’s Day fish fry!”

June 01 at 7:00am
Atchafalaya Basin largemouth bass fishing peaks during the drop from flood stage water levels that occurs early each summer.

The drop — Expert tips for Atchfalaya Basin bass fishing

“The drop is what everybody waits for,” the big dude said. “The fish have been swimming around in trees for months, and the falling water pulls them out into the canals and bayous.”

The big dude was Gene Hoover, a dedicated bass tournament competitor. With him was Kevin “Chef KD” Diez, a friend of 30 years who had introduced us.

We were in the Atchafalaya Basin, arguably the greatest and at the same time the most-frustrating (and massive) fishing hole in Louisiana.

June 01 at 7:00am
In a still shot from a video, Detective Jason McRight with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office talks to Elite Redfish Anglers at their captains' meeting in Orange, Texas last month about Louisiana's laws concerning trespassing and private waters.

Video: Captains' meeting rankles tournament redfish anglers

Capt. Steve Smith, a Lafayette-based charter guide who works out of both Cypremort Point and Big Lake, also fishes the Elite Redfish Series across the Southeastern U.S.

But when the tour visited the Sabine River in Orange, Texas, last month, Smith opted to stay away from his home state's waters - not because the fishing was better on the other side of the river, but because he didn't want to take a chance of being accused of trespassing on private property in Louisiana.

May 19 at 8:22am
The substantial profile of a dark colored jig is something bass can find in muddy water.

Bait choices for muddy-water bass

Fishing guide Darold Gleason follows a simple yet effective plan of covering water with reaction baits to locate active areas.

Once he finds a promising spot, he’ll slow down and pick it apart.

May 15 at 7:00am
With numbers like this, Rhett Buteau needs a stopwatch to keep track of his catch and stay within the limit.

Jeanerette angler is ‘overboard’ for sac-a-lait

Rhett Buteau admitted a little guiltily that he is obsessive about fishing.

“I’m probably a tad overboard, as any sac-a-lait (crappie) fisherman can get,” Buteau said. “It’s all I think about. I log every trip. I record date, catch, water level, moon phase, color of bait and style of bait. I tie my own jigs.

May 15 at 7:00am