Low Atchafalaya River means Basin bass biting

When the north winds blow and bring a chill to South Central Louisiana, or the tide moves, the lower end of the nation’s last great overflow swamp becomes a top bass fishing destination.

The Atchafalaya Basin will have settled down to a highly fishable low by November because of the falling Atchafalaya River. When those cold fronts start coming through the region, the wind blows the water out and drains start working — and in between cold fronts, tidal movement creates a current.

It’s a time to concentrate bass fishing efforts on intersections of natural bayous and often catch bass after bass.

That’s the time Bill McCarty of Morgan City is waiting for in between archery deer hunts on the Atchafalaya Delta Wildlife Management Area.

McCarty said the area on the east side of the Atchafalaya River from Old River south to Morgan City gets ripe for bassin’ as the fish feed up for both the winter ahead and next spring’s spawn.

It’s a great time to be out there because there is less fishing pressure, he said, as many outdoorsmen are deer hunting or duck hunting. Water clarity usually is ideal anywhere you stop to put down the trolling motor.

McCarty said the key is to fish water that’s moving around points and out of drains. One of his favorite areas is the winding Little Bayou Sorrel, particularly its intersections with Bayou February and Bayou April. Others potential hotspots include Mystic Crew, West Fork and Middle Fork and American Pass.

“The bass bite ought to be good that time of year,” McCarty said. “Try anything with moving water. Fish ought to be chasing shad, perch.”

Cold fronts bring water and, as a result, baitfish out of the woods and swamps, he said.

There are several different artificial lures in his arsenal for November. He definitely likes to throw a small crankbait, such as a Bandit or 1.5 KVD, in a shad color or one with chartreuse in it.

McCarty also uses a 7 ½-inch red shad plastic worm on a 3/0 hook under a ¼-ounce weight with fluorocarbon line. Also, try a green pumpkin Senko fished weightless, he said.

Often, bass will smack white or white/black ¼- or 3/8-ounce buzzbaits early in the morning or later on overcast days, he said.

Other baits that put bass in the boat are small profile spinnerbaits, such as white or chartreuse/white Humdingers, and if you find matted grass (which is prolific on the northern side in the Old River area) fish with a Spro popping frog. If they’re on that plastic frog, the color doesn’t matter, he said.

Mostly, he said, enjoy the beauty of the Basin while bassin’ this month.

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About Don Shoopman 472 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.