Low water bassin’ at Henderson Lake

Andre Cazelot of Parks prepares to release a nice-sized bass he caught off wooden structure at Henderson Lake.

A St. Martin Parish lake that provides a spectacular view for Interstate 10 motorists is also one of angler Andre Cazelot’s top choices to fish for bass during October.

Cazelot, a 57-year-old territorial manager for US Foods, has some prime fall bassin’ areas near his home in Parks, such as the Atchafalaya Basin and Lake Fausse Pointe.

But he has plenty of confidence in another nearby large lake, even if there are some extra challenges this year.

“One place I can say I feel comfortable going blind is Henderson,” he said about one of his favorite October destinations. “If we get cold fronts then the bass get more active, more aggressive.”

He’s fished the lake since he got into bass fishing 35 years ago, soon after he graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

No room for mistakes

The former Louisiana B.A.S.S. Nation angler with the Atchafalaya Bassmasters had words of caution for anglers who want to point the bow of their boats on Henderson Lake waters this October. Barring unforeseen torrential rainfall or tropical disturbances unloading excessive amounts of rain on the area, the lake will be low. It will be extremely low, in fact, because of the drawdown that started Aug. 1 and ends Nov. 1.

“There’s no room for mistakes when it gets that low,” he said. “You’ve got to stay in the main chutes.”

That is to avoid underwater hazards such as stumps and deadfalls. He advised boaters to navigate in the middle of the oil field canals and use two main waterways — Bay Patin and Lake Bigeux — to traverse the lake. And don’t be in a hurry.

Bassin’ success might be a little lower, too, during the drawdown, he said.

“It’s tougher with it draining,” Cazelot said. “I think some of the fish leave town, go to another zip code.”

Nevertheless, a pretty good catch per angler can be 10 to 15 bass. Normally, it’s much better without a drawdown in the fall. But it is still a good bet for a successful trip.

“I did have a couple days over there when they weren’t draining when I’d catch 20-30 fish, at least 20,” he said. “If you figure it out, you can catch them, a bunch of them.”

Shallow water

No matter the lake level, Cazelot said he concentrates on shallow water and two of his primary areas are Opelousas Bay and North Lake Bigeux/South Lake Bigeux. He’ll also fish points in those areas.

“I’m looking for anything three feet or less,” he said. “I’m looking for wood in the water not far from deep water.”

During a non-drawdown October, he also fishes the flats near drains when they aren’t pulling water.

Cazelot, who fishes the popular New Iberia-based Wednesday Night Hawg Fights Bass Tournament Series, consistently catches bass on three artificial lures. Those are a KVD 1.5 “Easter egg” (blue/chartreuse) crankbait, a 3/8-ounce white War Eagle spinnerbait with gold/silver tandem willow leaf blades and a 3/8-ounce Z-Man Chatterbait, mostly with a green/pumpkin skirt.

Finding a wind-blown spot where shad are piled up can pay dividends with beaucoup bites and as many bass. That’s what October’s all about on Henderson Lake. Give it a shot, but remember to be extra careful during the drawdown.

About Don Shoopman 559 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.