Cover plenty of water for Ouachita River bass

Matty Wong with two chunky Ouachita River bass that helped him win a BASS Nation tournament.

Squarebill crankbaits will produce best fished around laydowns in productive areas

It’s a good bet this has never happened before — a Ouachita River bass fishing report provided by an angler from Hawaii.

But it is a good thing. Matty Wong won a recent BASS Nation tournament on the Ouachita out of Monroe’s Forsythe Boat Dock. A 33-year-old Hawaiian native now living in California, Wong was glad to share the latest on fishing the meandering river with other fishermen.

Wong said the patterns he used in the tournament should hold up through the rest of the year, barring excessive high water or a drastic change in temperature. He leaned on a variety of squarebill, balsa crankbaits for his best bass. He fished bluegill, shad and chartreuse baits but said he caught fish on other colors as well. His recommendation is to fish a natural bait color, or something that closely resembles it. He also had good luck fishing a brown jig.

“I basically call that trash fishing,” he said. “It’s fishing a lot of baits and covering a lot of water. The fish aren’t stacked up. It’s typical for this time of year. I think the key to catching them on the main-river channel, where I would concentrate for bigger bass, is to get the lure into cover and really burn it. The fast retrieve will work to trigger strikes.”

The balsa baits also have really good actions, especially at fast retrieve speeds. Wong fished a Kung Fu jig and a War Eagle spinnerbait with a chartreuse blade and chartreuse trailer. He felt like that matched the river’s water conditions.

Wong’s best tip for locating productive, main-river areas is to find unusual stretches of laydowns where something looks different. He also suggests looking for places that are on a bend in the river or appear right after a sandbar. He said areas that have long stretches of mud, then good laydowns, on a regular bank are good for holding fish.

Wong also said fishing up the popular Bayou D’Arbonne area is good. He caught several good fish there but didn’t want to make the long run far up the bayou.

“I was fishing the main-river channel because I thought that is where I could catch the biggest bass,” he said. “I think those better fish hang off the main river because that’s where most of the baitfish are. But fluctuating temperatures tend to pull them out into the edge of the river. That’s something important to remember.”

Wong said finding those key areas and then working the best nearby cover includes fishing mostly laydowns that have fallen into the river. Fish can be caught near the bank and on out in the laydowns. They reposition at different times of day in relation to the sun and water temperatures. On any given day, fishermen just have to figure it out.

Another faraway angler, Taylor Smith from Washington finished second. His catch proves the diversity of the bite on the river this time of year. He trailered his bass boat, borrowed a smaller aluminum boat and push-poled through shallow water into a backwater area with a deep spot in the back. He stuck with a white Bandit crankbait for his best catches and said that is a great approach because it mimics the baitfish in the river.

About Kinny Haddox 597 Articles
Kinny Haddox has been writing magazine and newspaper articles about the outdoors in Louisiana for 45 years. He publishes a daily website, and is a member of the Louisiana Chapter of the Outdoor Legends Hall of Fame. He and his wife, DiAnne, live in West Monroe.