Search Results

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
Laydowns are fished both along their edges and in the interior of the branches. This particular laydown rapidly produced nine sac-a-lait, one behind the other.

When and where to fish Atchafalaya Basin crappie

The Atchafalaya Basin is huge and its habitats are complex. Besides the main channel of the Atchafalaya River that runs the length of it, the Basin has major and minor bayous, pipeline and oilfield canals, sloughs, coves, lakes and back-swamps. 

May 15 at 7:00am
The Matrix Mini allows anglers to scratch the angling itch when trout are lethargic.

The Matrix Mini

Chas Champagne wishes it would have been as simple as pointing a futuristic-looking device at one of the most-popular speckled trout soft plastics on the market and reducing the size significantly, like in the 1989 movie “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.”

May 13 at 10:47am
The bream bite should be on fire by the time May opens, and only get better as the weather warms.

Henderson Lake is a bream heaven

“Amoco.”  That word should conjure up the image of a gas station sign beckoning motorists to come to the pump and gas up.

“Amoco Canal.”  Those words should bring to mind a bream fishing heaven on earth, er, water, at Henderson Lake.

May 02 at 11:28am
Shane Johnson displays the largest Toledo Bend sac-a-lait taken by four anglers fishing public artificial reefs under Pendleton Bridge and brushpiles just north offshore.

Pendleton Perch — How to catch Toledo Bend crappie

It was the day of the full moon of May 2015, and New Iberia’s Shane Johnson was pumped.

“This trip could not have worked out better with timing,” the 43-year-old Toledo Bend guide said.

May 01 at 7:00am
Rhett Buteau is totally absorbed by the pursuit of sac-a-lait, fishing for them over 120 days a year, mostly in the Atchafalaya Basin.

Ten feet high and fallin’ — Best Atchafalaya Basin sac-a-lait tips

“In a perfect world, it would be 10 feet on the Butte La Rose gauge with a slow fall, year around,” the rakish young man told me with an infectious grin. 

The Butte La Rose gauge on the Atchafalaya River is what most fishermen — whether for sac-a-lait, bass, bream or catfish — go by to decide when and where to fish the vast Atchafalaya Basin.

May 01 at 7:00am

Cover

Crappie fishing is still on fire at Toledo Bend and the Atchafalaya Basin this month, while speckled trout have invaded the coast. And we give you everything you need for success.

May 01 at 7:00am

Cover

Crappie fishing is still on fire at Toledo Bend and the Atchafalaya Basin this month, while speckled trout have invaded the coast. And we give you everything you need for success.

May 01 at 7:00am