Caddo Lake in Northwest Louisiana is known for three things: cypress trees, oil platforms, and lunker bass. It was formed by the ‘Great Raft’ log jam of the Red River, and spans over the Louisiana state line into Texas. The twenty-five thousand acre lake averages 8-feet deep; which is just deep enough to hide some trophy bass.
I was fortunate to find a local Caddo Lake expert who did not mind sharing some of his secrets. Rex Moncrief has been on a hot shallow water bite for the past few weeks. The overall shallow depth of the lake causes the bass to push shad into extremely low water, and knowing how to target these fish can result in double digit catches.
“Any cast could result in a double digit fish,” Moncrief said.
Catching monster bass on Caddo does not require any high tech equipment. Moncrief uses Google Earth satellite imaging combined with the Navionics Boating app to find productive spots that others may overlook.
“I like to watch for subtle changes in bank or tree line contours,” Moncrief said. “Because Caddo is so shallow; even a change of six inches can be enough to hold fish. The bass even school up in the shallow water this time of year.
“Most of the time my trolling motor is churning mud and silt. You would be surprised how shallow the bass can push shad this time of year. Do not be afraid to go really shallow.”
Moncrief utilizes three main baits to target these fish. In the early morning and evening he depends on a Spro Bronzeye Frog 65 in Red Ear color.
“Once the water temperature hits 80 degrees these bass will try to destroy a frog,” he said. “Also the frog can be worked through virtually any cover. The frog is one of my confidence lures, and draws vicious strikes.”
When Moncrief sees a school of bass ripping through the shallow water; he switches to a 6-inch Slug-Go in Silver Pepper Shiner.
“The Slug-Go creates a very realistic dying shad look,” he said. “I will throw it around trees using a jerk bait style retrieve.”
Moncrief’s favorite afternoon bait is a Wesley Warbird 1.0 in Sunfish Spawn color. He also attaches a Rage Baby Menace as a trailer.
“This is a great bladed jig with a distinct noise,” he said. “The blades actually hit the head of the jig and eventually beat the paint off by design. It also tends to ride high in the water which makes it perfect for the shallows.”
Caddo Lake newbies
New anglers on Caddo should use caution when navigating the lake due to the shallow water and other numerous hazards.
“Caddo has a lot of cypress knees, stumps, and other obstacles,” Moncrief said. “However, it is marked well, and all the major GPS units have great maps for navigation.”
Following these tips from Moncrief will give anyone a good start to catching fish on Caddo Lake. When in doubt; find some shallow water and start fishing.
“Do not let the shallow water and millions of trees confuse you, and do not be afraid to go really shallow,” Moncrief said.
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