River bass fishing red hot in cool, dry autumn

Bogue Chitto River, other streams provide great fishing options for paddlers.

During autumn in Louisiana, it’s not only the leaves that fall.

The rivers that twist and wind like capillaries through the body of the state also do, because October is, by far, our driest month of the year.

Even in the sultry, subtropical climate of New Orleans, average rainfall for the month is only 3.05 inches. Compare that with June, when average rainfall is more than double at 6.83 inches.

Without the rains to feed them, the state’s rivers fall to their lowest levels of the year, which slows them down and decreases their sediment-carrying energy. As such, they clear up to the transparency of drinking water, and more importantly, the low levels concentrate the feisty Kentucky bass that call the swift-running rivers home.

Drifting the rivers is my favorite thing to do this time of year, and I introduced LouisianaSportsman.com’s Andy Crawford to the sport on Thursday (Oct. 27).

All of my previous floats have been on the Tangipahoa River, but I’ve been eager to fish the Bogue Chitto, and since Crawford is always game to be a guinea pig, that’s where we decided to go.

After parking a truck downriver and looking for a suitable entry point, Crawford and I finally got on the river around 8:30 a.m. I immediately was taken with incredible beauty of the Bogue Chitto with its high bluff banks, rocky shorelines and swift current. It had a very different look and feel than the more humble Tangipahoa.

It also fished much differently, as I soon discovered. The best action on the Tangipahoa seems to always be on the banks, but I pounded the banks of the Bogue Chitto for an hour with only one bite (a fish that threw the hook
3 feet from the boat) while Crawford whacked the bass fishing the blowdowns and contour changes in the middle of the river.

Finally, I conceded defeat, and started fishing the same way, and my bites picked way up.

All of my previous floats had been in johnboats or canoes, but Thursday’s float was in Crawford’s kayaks, which worked exceptionally well on the river.

That is, at least, until Crawford forgot that you have to actually paddle AROUND blowdowns.

Ever see those Allstate commercials starring “Mayhem?” Well, that’s Crawford. He’s the guy who left several thousand dollars-worth of camera equipment unguarded on the floor of the Superdome, only to come back and find that it had been stolen (thieves in New Orleans? Imagine that.).

He’s also the guy who, just last week, used his face to stop a buddy’s Zara Spook on a backcast.

The stories are endless, so it’s not a surprise that Crawford ended up sideways against a blowdown, and tipped his kayak in the powerful current.
He lost the rod that was in his hands in the process.

So be warned: Floating the rivers can be dangerous.

If you want to do it, you’ll need a small, motorless boat (canoe, bateau or kayak), and a buddy with a truck. You’ll need to park one truck downriver, and use the other to transport you and the boat(s) upstream.

You’ll also need a well-thought-out but small tackle box. Bring H&H spinnerbaits, white buzz baits, floating frogs and crankbaits. We used Rebel Wee Craws most of the day, but Sportsman contributor Chris Ginn, who grew up on the banks of the Bogue Chitto and still lives there today, said Bandit 100 series crankbaits are mainstays for the river.

Also bring pliers, extra line and a dry case to hold your phone, keys and camera.

If you go, be sure to let us know how you do, and post your report on the LouisianaSportsman.com forum. If you’re not already a member of the Sportsman team, it only takes a few moments to fill out the short registration form!

About Todd Masson 743 Articles
Todd Masson has covered outdoors in Louisiana for a quarter century, and is host of the Marsh Man Masson channel on YouTube.