Bass coming in bunches at Bussey Brake

Cool weather gangs-up shad, bass love it

When the “new” Bussey Brake opened to public fishing on July 15, conditions were hot and downright miserable. The 2,200-acre Morehouse Parish lake had been closed for almost 10 years while being drained and renovated, trying to turn it into a new lake. The re-opening brought major attention, and when two 10-pound largemouths were caught the first week, things were hopping.

Well, guess what? They still are. In fact, one fisherman who grew up fishing Bussey Brake thinks things are only getting better.

“When that first cool front came in, it started bunching up the shad, and the bass have started bunching up with them,” said Daron Bonz Goyne. “Fish are following the shad. You can see them busting the water chasing them up in the lily pads, and you can see them on the graph when they aren’t busting the water. I can tell you this; it’s just going to get better and better the next two months.”

Finding lily pads fields like this one with plenty of shad seems to be the key to finding fall bass at Bussey Brake.
Finding lily pads fields like this one with plenty of shad seems to be the key to finding fall bass at Bussey Brake.

Goyne said what he has found is, if you can get in a little cut or opening between lily pad fields and the wind is blowing through the opening, fish will be there. If there is hydrilla in the pocket, so much the better.

“The wind is your friend at Bussey,” he said. “The water is so clear, it gives you a chance to fish without the fish seeing you. When they start chasing the shad through the pads, it’s amazing. I’ve seen them knock big 3- and 4-inch shad up on the tops of the lily pads. Then they will come back, and they will blow up and eat the pad and all like Jaws.”

Go-to baits

There isn’t one bait that seems to be working for everybody, but Goyne has two go-to baits for November. He loves throwing a junebug or plum trick worm with a 3/8-ounce weight. He also has had great success with suspended jerkbaits in the same colors,  plus watermelon red. Goyne prefers to cast a jerkbait, reel it down a couple of turns and then use a “jerk-jerk-pause” retrieve. He said they nail it on the pause.

“I found one spot where I saw the fish feeding and caught seven on seven casts on a jerkbait,” he said. “Then, on the eighth cast in the same spot, I caught an 8-3. That’s my biggest so far out of the new lake.”

Goyne said Bussey Brake bass are super-aggressive and haven’t adjusted to fishing pressure yet, but they will. As time goes on, fish will get smarter and smarter, but they’ll still be there to catch. Bussey is still a little more than a foot below the expected pool stage; water is collected only through rain and water pumped in from Bayou Bartholomew.

The future of the fishery

Daron Bonz Goyne with a chunky Bussey Brake largemouth.

Special regulations have been put in place on Bussey Brake to protect the young and expanding fishery, and to hopefully ensure a quality fishing experience for all anglers. Anglers can keep five bass per day with a 16-inch maximum length limit with the exception that one bass longer than 16 inches may be kept.

Things are already good and just getting better on their own, but fisherman can help things out, too, Goyne said.

“Right now, most of us aren’t even keeping a bass, and that is very important for the future of Bussey,” Goyne said. “If we protect this fishery, there’s no doubt in my mind that it will be the next Caney Lake the next two or three years. It’s got lots of fish, but it’s in no way overpopulated. It’s amazing the numbers of 8-pounders that have been caught and released. They’ll be 10-pounders in two years if we treat them right.”

About Kinny Haddox 597 Articles
Kinny Haddox has been writing magazine and newspaper articles about the outdoors in Louisiana for 45 years. He publishes a daily website, and is a member of the Louisiana Chapter of the Outdoor Legends Hall of Fame. He and his wife, DiAnne, live in West Monroe.