Time to store decoys and get out the big bass fishing gear
South-Central Louisiana outdoorsmen were enjoying every minute of duck hunting in the West Zone in late December, but at the same time many couldn’t wait for the last day of the season Jan. 29.
That’s because Miller’s Lake near Ville Plate always opens for fishing the day after the waterfowl hunting season and that means Travis Meche Sr., who lives in nearby Branch, will be targeting pre-spawn and spawning bass in February.
February two years ago, with snow on the ground and the water temp that day starting in the 40s, Meche flipped a green pumpkin Zoom Speed Craw into some dead hyacinths around midday and pulled out a 6.25-pound bass.
Last February, Meche’s father, Neal Meche of Branch, who showed him at a young age how to fish the lake for chinquapin, sac-a-lait and bass, fished a team tournament and won with a 22-plus pound five-fish limit.
“If you get out of the wind you can see them. You can catch them on their beds,” the younger Meche said after a morning duck hunting trip on Christmas Eve in frozen south Louisiana.
Meche warmed up quickly to talk the topic of bassin’ at Miller’s Lake, 211 Rue Richaurne, Ville Platte. He is ready to fish the stands of tupelo gum trees, the duck blinds, the buckbrush and under and around the camps along the levee, probably in that order.
Start in the tupelo gums
When he gets to the tupelo gum trees, he’ll fish the clear water either with a 3/8-ounce bream-colored or black/blue jig or a green pumpkin Speed Craw under a ¼-ounce worm weight. If the bass there don’t cotton to one of those, he might try a 3/8-ounce chartreuse/white Stanley spinnerbait.
He’ll move on, if he must, to the recently abandoned duck blinds.
“They have all those duck blinds. That’s good for big ones,” he said. “You know we fish those duck blinds and might go around once without a fish, and the next time we go around and catch them. You’ve got to go slow.”
A few months from now, he said, he’ll go more to using GYCB Senkos around duck blinds.
Meche fishes with his son, Travis Meche Jr., more and more now that the teen is competing in Louisiana High School B.A.S.S. Nation. He relishes the opportunity to see bass on their beds in the acres of buckbrush in 1- to 2-foot depths. He fishes for them the same way.
“I’ll put a Speed Craw on ’em,” he said.
One of his other favorite patterns is to flip and pitch the soft plastic around pilings of the camps along the levee. While it isn’t his cup of tea, the 34-year-old accomplished bass angler who works in construction for his father’s company, Neal Meche Welding, said many successful anglers target lily pads — even if they’re just coming up — in the open with swim baits and Zoom Super Flukes.
“They catch plenty of fish,” he said.
Meche said he prefers putting in his boat at the south launch. He reminds anglers that Miller’s Lake is a private lake for hunting, but is available to the public for fishing. It is open from around sunrise to sunset.