I admit, when it comes to bass fishing I am only a novice at best. That doesn’t keep me from daydreaming, however, that I just might be able to hang with some of the pros if the conditions were right.
Like most fish stories, this “hanging with the pros” stuff sounds like stretching a 14-inch fish into another category. But isn’t a guy entitled to his dreams? Moreover, I realize that if I were a betting man, I certainly wouldn’t be betting on yours truly. Yet, note that I said, “I might be able to hang … if the conditions were right.”
My first condition would be to fish the canals south of the Intracoastal Waterway and east of Bayou Sale Bay. It is in these canals that I dream of going pro.
The second condition would be making sure I was ready to start fishing the moment the tide started to fall. The short time frame where the tide sort of stands motionless is when you should be running to the canals to rig up your favorite bait.
We encounter all sorts of light conditions out on the water, and they all affect the way the screens on our electronics look. […]
Spring inshore fishing can be such a tease. Specks are ready for their reproductive business, but extreme changes in the weather make fish extremely mobile, rendering even the most up-to-date information obsolete.
But that compares little to the games redfish play as they ease into the warm-weather pattern. Reds are more than willing to mass in the shallow ponds and show themselves in all their bronze glory, but getting them to bite is an entirely different matter. […]
It was a steamy summer afternoon, and we were fishing in Mama’s Pond in the western Atchafalaya Basin. The water was just high enough to back into the trees and bushes along the shoreline.
My partners and I were throwing chartreuse buzz baits into the cover as far as we could, and we got a few good strikes on top. Still, in some spots, we could see about 8 more feet of good-looking water that we couldn’t touch with those buzz baits. That was 8 feet of fish-holding water that we couldn’t access, and it deeply annoyed us.
We all fiddled with some of the lures in our tackle boxes, and the three of us probably all gave a frog or a rat bait a brief look. It was weedless and maybe suitable for the situation, but that kind of lure is more of a novelty isn’t it? It catches fishermen, right, not bass?
That was our thinking, and it probably cost us dearly.
Roland Martin is given credit for having coined the phrase “pattern fishing” during the 1970s. He was one of the first anglers in the country to understand that replicating the exact set of water conditions like depth, cover, structure, temperature, clarity and current prevalent when he got a bite would lead to many more bites. […]
In the days before any European set foot in the New World, the shorelines surrounding Lake Pontchartrain were inhabited by several Native American tribes. Bayougoula, Mougoulacha, Chitimacha, Colapissa, Quinipissalive and the “corn-gatherers,” or Tangipahoa Indians, fished the big lake they called “Okwa-ta,” the wide water. […]
As a biologist, Jerald Horst has cut out the livers of speckled trout, and examined them under microscopes.
He’s run his fingers through gravid ovaries packed with ripe, orange roe.
He’s opened stomachs to discover their contents.
But there was nothing scientific about Horst’s reaction last month when a trout as long as a man’s arm carved a hole in the water with its gaping maw, and sucked in his She Dog.
The sounds were loud enough to be heard on the other side of the small marsh lake — first from the fish crashing the bait, then from Horst, who jumped to his feet and squealed like a schoolgirl who just caught a glimpse of her favorite boy-band member.
After several earlier near-misses from other fish, Horst practiced great restraint in letting the big trout take the bait for a second or two before yanking the rod upward like Paul Bunyan starting a swing of his axe.
The light-action rod bowed like a noodle, its tip seeming to crawl along the line, refusing to miss a moment of the action.
A veteran angler who has logged more hours than he’d ever admit in the surf at Grand Isle, Fourchon and Elmer’s Island, Horst had caught bigger trout in his life, but this one was special, just like all fish lured to the surface by a topwater plug. […]