Chillin’ on the Calcasieu

Doug and Annabelle Guins
Doug and Annabelle Guins hold the winning bass from a Wednesday afternoon dogfight this summer on the Calcasieu River. Many more bass like these will likely be caught in October.

Use topwaters for consistent bass action

Southwest Louisiana’s bass anglers were on Cloud Nine a few weeks ago because the Calcasieu River was in the best shape it has ever been going into September.

That, coupled with a heckuva summer of good bass fishing, gave them plenty of confidence that, barring a major weather event, the river would be in its prime the rest of that month. And with cooler weather on the way, hopefully that string will continue through October. No one knows this better than Ron Castille of Lake Charles, an all-around outdoorsman who has provided fishing reports for this magazine for many years. As Wednesday afternoon dogfights director the past 31 years for the weekly mini-bass tournament circuit on the Calcasieu, Castille just saw a remarkable summer of action at the scales.

How good was the bass fishing on those Wednesday evenings?

The average winning weight for the 20 weeks was 10.09 pounds — a 2-pound average — and there were several 7-pound-plus bass, including an 8-pound hawg.

Castille and others who love to fish the river system expect the fishing success to carry over into October.

One of the most consistent ways to put quality and quantity bass into the boat will be with topwaters early and late in the day, Castille said.

His favorite? Black Chug Bugs are irresistible most of the time when targeting the outgoing cuts. Those cuts usually have cypress trees or tupelo gum trees nearby, he said, so work the topwater back from the cut in a walk-the-dog pattern to the cypress trees or tupelo gum trees, then let it sit still for a second or two. If there isn’t a strike then, continue walking the dog. The same technique can be used successfully with your favorite floating hollow-body plastic frog.

Another surefire pattern is to use a dark-colored soft plastic craw worm under a 3/16-ounce worm weight early in the day (later in the day switch to watermelon/red), he said. Fish the cuts with the plastic craw worm after using the Chug Bug. Also target the bigger trees near the first dropoff while moving on to the next cut.

So where are the cuts that bass anglers love to target along the Calcasieu River?

Most of the productive cuts are located in Moss Bluff Bay, Old Town Bay, Dan’s Bay and Watermelon Bay, as well as several outside bends of the main river north of White Oak Park.

Castille reminded anglers that the Saltwater Barrier, built in an effort to keep saltwater out of the Calcasieu River, can cause tidal charts that many people rely on to be incorrect north of the barrier.

About Don Shoopman 563 Articles
Don Shoopman fishes for freshwater and saltwater species mostly in and around the Atchafalaya Basin and Vermilion Bay. He moved to the Sportsman’s Paradise in 1976, and he and his wife June live in New Iberia. They have two grown sons.