Extra-large swim baits are starting to deliver the goods in the Bayou State.
Just one short week ago, bass were already starting to show up in the backs of the five creek arms on the north side of Caney Lake. Several cold nights coupled with some cold rain pushed them back out, though. They didn’t go very far according to guide Eddie Halbrook, and catching them just means finding them.
“These bass were already pretty thick in the back of Smith Creek,” Halbrook said. “People were catching them on Flukes and Senkos because the water had climbed up into the upper 50s. They’ve all but disappeared for now… but you can still catch them if you just follow their migration routes back out to deep water.”
These migration routes are the small and winding creek channels that lead from the main lake back to the backs of the creek arms. Barely wider than a bass boat, they can be tough to find and fish, but that’s precisely what you need to do right now to get bit.
I met Halbrook this past weekend at the Caney Lake Spillway Marina, and he could hardly contain his excitement as he idled up to the ramp.
“These fish are schooling out in the middle of Smith Branch,” he told me before he even said hello. “The water is 48 degrees… and the fish are schooling. Where’s your stuff… hurry up… we’ve got to get back out there on them.”
Halbrook rigged up my rod and reel with a tail spinner as he explained that the bass weren’t eating jigging spoons as they are usually want to do in January. He’s always been able to catch some on tail spinners, but the spoon has usually dominated.
We stopped in the middle of Smith Branch, and Halbrook began idling around with a sharp eye on his fish finder. An orange marker buoy splashed into the water as soon as he saw the edge of the ridge he was looking for. A loon surfaced about 50 yards away from us.
“Let your lure go all the way to the bottom, and just barely lift it off the bottom,” Halbrook instructed. “These fish are either right on the surface or right on the bottom. Since there’s no activity on the surface right now, they’ve got to be on bottom.”
As Halbrook went on to explain, the bass that had been in the back of Smith Branch simply followed the creek back out to deep water when the water temperature fell. Somewhere along the way, anglers can find them hovering over the lip of the channel drop or directly in the middle of the channel itself.
This isn’t just little fish action, either. While we didn’t land any lunkers this day, Halbrook has caught several bass over 10 pounds fishing this same way in the past.
“Don’t wait too late to get out here and try this,” he cautioned. “These bass on Caney are some of the earliest spawning bass I’ve ever seen, and you can catch the biggest bass of your life in late January and early February.”
For more information or to book Halbrook for a trip to Caney call 318-548-1375.