MLF pro talks Bartholomew Lake bass

Jake Ormond landed this Bartholomew toad on a wacky rigged Senko.

Keeping up with what and where the fish are biting can sometimes be a chore. But for Major League Fishing pro Jake Ormond, it’s a pretty easy thing to do on his favorite body of water, Bartholomew Lake in Sterlington.

That’s because it’s in his backyard. So gathering the latest fishing info simply involves backing his boat in the water and heading down the lake looking for fishy waters.

And in Bartholomew, that’s pretty easy to do.

“The hardest thing about finding fish on Bartholomew is that everywhere you look, it looks like you should catch a fish,” he said. “There are boat docks, cypress trees, grassbeds, laydowns, dropoffs …and sometimes they are all in the same place.”

Three ways

Right now, the bass bite on Bartholomew is mostly around the bases of the cypress trees and edges of the grassbeds, Ormond said. The fish have just moved off the shallow banks and structure from the spawn and only a few smaller bass are on the inside of the grass.

“There are three ways I like to catch them,” he said. “First, it’s hard to beat the Yamamoto Senko rigged wacky or Texas rig styles. I like the green pumpkin/purple color for this time of year. You can toss it out along the holes in the grass or skip it up under the cypress limbs and boat docks. They’ll nail it.”

His second choice is a Buckeye finesse jig that he can get right up into the cover and fish either in a swimming or a vertical jig technique, depending on what the bass seem to like. His other favorite is a MR6 Bill Lewis crankbait in any of the shad or chartreuse colors.

There’s a bonus for fishermen who aren’t stuck just on bass. The lake is lined with bream beds this time of year and that can give you some fast action.

“I’ve located several new bream beds this month and a couple of them are huge,” he said. “I’m talking 10 feet wide and 20 feet long. One spot I found had a big bluegill bed and then off to the side another smaller bed with nothing but chinquapins on it.They are some nice ones, too.”

His favorite way to catch bream is on an ultralight with a slip cork so you can get the most action out of the battle, not to mention something good to fry for supper.

Guide trips

Jake Ormond, right, and ULM head football coach Terry Bowden with some nice Bartholomew bass.

Ormond also guides on Bartholomew and other north Louisiana bodies of water within 100 miles. He also has a special summer fishing course for kids, primarily in the 10-15 year-old range. He has developed a “fishing skills assessment” that young anglers can fill out and he will develop a plan to teach them “basically everything I know” about the subjects they are interested in. That includes fishing techniques, how to work different types of baits, how to read water and what to look for, how to maneuver a boat and just how to be more efficient fishing. With so many youngsters getting into competitive fishing, this can give them a leg up on the learning curve.

You can get in touch with Ormond for more information at Jake Ormond Fishing on Facebook, by calling 318-366-0975 or by email at Ormond is sponsored on the pro circuit by Bill Lewis Lures, KastKing, Battery Pros, Ouachita Valley Credit Union, B&L Marine, Max Express Lub, Phoenix Boats and his biggest sponsor, wife Lena.

Bayou Bartholomew Lake is called the “Cutoff” by most local anglers. It’s the lake part of Bayou Bartholomew that was cut off from the original bayou on the Morehouse/Ouachita Parish line.

The area has two public access points. Barrett’s launch, located on Barrett’s Boat Dock Road just off of Highway 165, provides access and there is a ramp on the far north end of the lake on Levee Rd. Following the old bayou channel is difficult, so if you run it, make sure you watch where you are going as it winds from one end to the other.

About Kinny Haddox 595 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.