Topwater plug is go-to bait in August’s heat
Sometimes, even with all the baits in the world, a tackle box full of bass angling knowledge in your head and a strong competitive spirit, you still need a little bit of help to land largemouth bass.
That’s when you just might need to turn to some magic. While fishing wanes a bit in the heat of summer on some lakes, that isn’t the case on Bayou Bartholomew in Morehouse and Ouachita parishes in north Louisiana. All you need to get things going is a little magic, as in “Yellow Magic” — a top-of-the-line topwater bait that gets rave reviews almost everywhere.
Plenty of good baits work on the old oxbow of Bayou Bartholomew near Sterlington, a body of water that is cut off from the main channel of the Ouachita River often called the “Cutoff.” When fishing there this time of year, always keep a “Magic” lure close by.
“I’ll tell you, it’s hard to beat that lure in Bayou Bartholomew,” says Greg Terzia, a veteran tournament fisherman and owner of Terzia’s Bait and Tackle in Ruston. “What makes Yellow Magic so good here is that Bayou Bartholomew has high banks and is not affected by the wind. There’s lots of good cover right by the banks, and it’s just perfect. The Magic works best in still water, and that is what you have most days.”
On a recent trip to the Cutoff, Terzia didn’t waste a lot of time finding the bass. He saw a few wakes up in the dime pads along the shore and, on his third cast, he landed a 4-pounder. He caught fish for more than an hour, until the sun came up and changed the pattern. His bait of choice: Yellow Magic.
“I like two colors for Bartholomew,” he said. “The Japanese Shad and the Smoking Shad are my go-to baits. There are other baits you can try, but as long as they are on the Magic, I’ll stay with it.”
When the sun comes up, fish will move out closer to the edges of the channel but will still hold close to trees or pads — something to give them shade and cover, Terzia said.
“When the fish get on the trees a little deeper, they are still going to suspend up fairly shallow, so I like to fish a square-bill crankbait like the Spro Little John,” he said. “It’s a flat-sided bait that fish just love. You have to really pay attention, because a lot of times when you toss it past a tree and start to reel it in, the fish have already hit it.”
Plastics also work well, but again you need to be around the trees of pads. The lake used to be full of aquatic vegetation, but it was killed out several years ago, and that didn’t help the fishing any. Fishing is good around boat docks and piers as well. The Cutoff is still loaded with largemouth.
“When I go to plastics, I have a number of baits I like to try, but there’s a new one out that I absolutely love: the Zoom Z-Craw. It’s thick like a Senko, but with a craw tail,” he said, pointing to junebug as his favorite color.
Another go-to bait is the local favorite Wobble-head worm, a bent metal head with a straight-tail worm trailer that swims through with an action like a little snake.
“Bartholomew basically all looks alike, but it has bass in it from one end to the other,” Terzia said. “They key is to pattern the fish, then use that pattern anywhere you go on the bayou. If it works in one spot, it will work pretty much everywhere. And don’t be scared if you find some muddy water in one area. There are probably fish there, you just need to go to a louder bait like a buzzbait or loud spinnerbait to let them find your lure.”