Caney Lake bass offer anglers two choices

A big bass like this one full of shad caught by Hunter Freeman is why many anglers go to Caney, but it’s the exception rather than the rule this month.
A big bass like this one full of shad caught by Hunter Freeman is why many anglers go to Caney, but it’s the exception rather than the rule this month.

Target shallows around grass beds, or focus on offshore schools

If you want to catch Caney Lake bass in November, they basically give you two choices: Chase them around the grass beds shallow, or focus on finding offshore schools.

Either way, the cooler days of fall provide excellent largemouth angling for the lake just outside of Chatham.

“Caney Lake has a mind of it’s own,” Hunter Freeman said. “It’s a breed all it’s own. I was fortunate enough to grow up right by the lake, so I’ve learned a lot and built some really strong suits fishing there.”

That’s how Freeman, who will be taking on the FLW pro bass tour next year as a rookie, knows how to do well in November. And he doesn’t mind sharing his tips.

“This month the water is cooling off and the shallow bite can be pretty frenzied,” he said. “Shad start piling up around the shallow grass in the coves and out in the big lake. We’ve got milfoil, hydrilla, and eel grass, and the fish get around all of them. The key is finding grass with shad.”

A big bass like this one full of shad caught by Hunter Freeman is why many anglers go to Caney, but it’s the exception rather than the rule this month.
A big bass like this one full of shad caught by Hunter Freeman is why many anglers go to Caney, but it’s the exception rather than the rule this month.

For shallow bass, Freeman’s favorite bait is an Xcite Shadnasty swimbait in pearl color. He also throws frogs around lily pads when it’s calm, and spinnerbaits or Flukes around the grass when it’s windy. The common thread among baits this month is to make them pearl or shad color.

When he has time to go deep, he looks for any cover with a hard bottom — the tops of humps, old road beds or a ridge with lots of timber laying on it. The shad seem to prefer those spots. This approach takes more work, and he says he often spends an hour at a time scanning areas with his Lowrance electronics.

When he finds fish offshore, he’ll start with another of his favorite lures, a Bryant’s Custom swim jig in anything from green pumpkin to black or brown. Carolina rigs and drop shots will also work when the fish are less aggressive. Because he fishes a lot of different lures, Freeman said a versatile rod like Falcon’s 7-foot, 3-inch Cara Amistad is very efficient.

There is one unique thing about November on Caney: It’s known for trophy bass (six of the top 10 largemouths in the state grew up here), but this is definitely not the best month to catch thee, Freeman said. You’ll catch a 7- or 8-pounder mixed in with other fish this time of year, but they don’t get isolated as much as they do the rest of the time. November is mostly about numbers — and the numbers are usually pretty good.

Kinny Haddox
About Kinny Haddox 301 Articles
Kinny Haddox has been writing magazine and newspaper articles about the outdoors in Louisiana for 45 years. He publishes a daily website, lakedarbonnelife.com and is a member of the Louisiana Chapter of the Outdoor Legends Hall of Fame. He and his wife, DiAnne, live in West Monroe.