Cold-weather fishing on the Tchefuncte River

Bass fishermen in South Louisiana, for the most part, are one-track-minded: They like flipping and power fishing shallow water.

Although there is a time and place for that this time of year, if you do that when it gets frigid, you’ll likely go home with an empty livewell.

Avid Tchefuncte River angler Jason Pittman likes to get a little bit away from super shallow water this time of year.

“If it does get cold, we’re fishing the deeper swing banks, where the fish have access to deeper water than normal,” he said. “If it’s super cold — like miserably cold — (my bait’s) in 8 to 10 feet.”

When fishing that deep of water, Pittman keeps it simple and tosses a 3/8-ounce Texas-rigged junebug-colored worm.

Pittman likes to look for downed trees in the water, and said that’s a bonus. However, even if anglers can’t see the structure, he said there’s still a lot down there.

“There’s more brush piles on the Tchefuncte than people think, and a laydown is always a good place to start in the winter,” he said.

Pittman almost always fishes in the main river this time of year rather than the oxbows off the river, and for good reason.

“The cuts don’t have the depth that can support those fish if a hard front comes through,” he said.

Tchefuncte River fish can be extremely tough to catch when the river gets too clear. The fish feel vulnerable to predators, and they simply don’t feed nearly as well.

Pittman said he prefers a little cloudiness to the water, and fortunately, there’s been one factor keeping it slightly stained over the past few years.

“One thing that’s helped the Tchefuncte not clear up completely is all the construction from the development,” he said.

On warmer days when the water temperature is on the rise, Pittman likes to fish shallow cover for bass, and throws squarebill crankbaits to cover water and trigger strikes.

About Joel Masson 175 Articles
Joel Masson is an avid angler who has fished South Louisiana his whole life. He lives in Mandeville and can be reached at

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