Derek Hudnall’s south Louisiana bass-fishing experience over the past few decades tells him that just because it’s October, doesn’t mean it’s fall in the Sportsman’s Paradise. So, he fishes accordingly.
“If I had to have one bait in my hand in October, hmmmmm, I would have a big stick in my hand and I’d be punching,” Hudnall said. “I’d have a 11/2-ounce tungsten weight, a 4/0 Gamakatsu Super Heavy Cover hook and I’d be flipping 100% a Missile Baits D Bomb on 65-pound braided line. I use Power Pro,” tsaid Hudnall, who fishes the Bassmaster Elite Series.
Why a soft-plastic creature bait? Unlike other parts of the country, Hudnall believes October isn’t fall in Louisiana, but late summer, at the least, making it a good time to coax bass to bite that aren’t reached by other, conventional bass-fishing tactics.
The key, he said, is to find matted vegetation: grass or lily pads, anything that creates a canopy for bass to get under. And especially in Louisiana, he looks for isolated cover. The more, the better.
“At that time of year, fish tend to scatter,” said Hudnall, who is from Baton Rouge. “The fish really love to put their head under something,” he said, adding there’s got to be at least 8 to 10 inches of water under the mat that, preferably, is near deep water or, especially, current. Natural or wind-blown flow water movement will suffice.
Finding the right spot
Trying to locate isolated, bass-producing patches in football field-sized areas of matted vegetation is a challenge, but it’s worth it, he knows from his hours on the water.
“I will, absolutely, cover as much water as I can doing that. Then I specifically look for those isolated patches,” he said. “I could typically go an entire practice and shake off everything. (During a tournament) I’m looking for bites, as many bites as I can, because eventually I’ll run into the right one,” said Hudnall, who favors a bait in a dark color.
“You know, for punching under cover, where it’s dark, you can never go wrong with a black/red flake,” he said. “Typically, in south Louisiana, crawfish are really dark that time of the year. That black/red flake is really hard to beat.”
Hudnall doesn’t soak the D Bomb. It’s drop-and-move most of the time.
“Really, I don’t think about it, but I punch once or twice, then I’m gone,” he said. “Ninety percent of the time, a fish will hit it as soon as it breaks the surface. It’s very important to watch your line as it breaks through.”
Sometimes he’ll drop it five to eight times if he suspects a fish is there.
Hudnall fishes the soft plastic creature bait with a 7-foot-6 St. Croix Legend Xtreme Heavy Action rod and a high-speed reel, at least a 7:1 ratio.
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