It’s the middle of summer, but there’s no vacation for the big largemouth bass on Louisiana’s premier lunker bass lake, Caney Lake in Jackson Parish.
Corey Harris can tell you that, and he can prove it.
One point of fact is the 9.14 bass he caught to win the recent Caney Lake Majestic Big Bass tournament and the stringer of five fish weighing 24.53 pounds that took the big stringer award. Need another witness? Harris was fishing with 2018 FLW College Fishing National Champion and now FLW touring pro Hunter Freeman earlier and caught a stringer of five fish weighing 36 pounds. That’s a once in a lifetime catch, but a 25-28 pound stringer is easily possible these days.
The point of Harris’ catch isn’t about tournaments or big stringers, it is that this is a great time of the year to catch big fish on the lake. The Caney big bass haven’t packed up and gone anywhere just because it is hot.
“Catching a 10-pounder, now that’s kind of random,” he said. “You’ve got to get a little bit lucky. But the five, six and seven pounders? You can pattern them and have a ball catching big fish.”
Fish the grass
One of the main reasons is the grass. Aquatic vegetation has found its way back into the lake and can be found in almost every area now.
“That’s the key,” Harris says. “They are starting to use the grass again more than ever. You can catch fish almost anywhere, but the bigger fish and bigger groups relate to points. That can be a land point, a point in the grass or a point on an underwater hump or ridge.”
Harris narrows down the best bait to one — a 10-inch Zoom worm in any color that has some green in it from green pumpkin to watermelon green. He rigs it Texas style and just fishes it slowly across the bottom. But not just anywhere.
“You still need to use your electronics to find the fish and find out where they are on the points,” he says. “The shad migrate around these points at various places and depths from 10-20 feet deep according to the time of day and your electronics can help you pinpoint that. Without it, you can catch some, but not many unless you get lucky.”
Right place at the right time
Harris never rules out the luck factor either. In fact, he wouldn’t have caught the nearly 10-pounder that won the last tournament without some luck — bad luck that turned out good.
He was fishing with his brother, who overslept. When his brother didn’t get there, he called and found out he was 30 minutes away, so he just eased the boat off the bank and fished a spot to keep busy. The second cast, he nailed the 9.14.
“That was just divine intervention,” he says with modest and sincere laugh.
Harris has one more tip for this time of year. He doesn’t like to do it, but some big fish and big limits are caught around boathouses and some points at night. Again, he recommends a big worm for bait, but for night fishing, the best place to concentrate is piers and boathouses, with or without lights.