Chicot is great park with even better bass

Ville Platte’s Lake Chicot sits on the border of the delta and the hill land. One side of the lake has a bluff bank, and the other side is as flat as the bottom of a cast-iron skillet. Chicot has numbers of cypress trees, so don’t try to get your boat up on plane there.

Lake Chicot has been one of the best lakes in Louisiana to catch bass weighing more than 8 pounds, and you won’t find much dead water where you’re not subject to getting a strike. In November, with most sportsmen hunting deer or squirrels in the state, there’s plenty of room on the lake for anglers.

Because the shad are starting to migrate up into the shallows, watch for shad flipping on top of the water. A school of shad moving down the bank or in open water is as attractive to a bass as dragging a freshly cut steak in front of a bulldog’s nose.

The weather will play a key role in how and where I fish. If the weather’s still warm, I’ll fish a buzz bait or a Strike King Spit-N-King.

If the weather’s a little cooler and there’s cloudy weather and some wind, you can’t beat reeling a Strike King Premier Elite spinnerbait with a double willowleaf blade and a green gizzard, a blue gizzard or a sexy shad skirt — any skirt that looks like a shad — pretty fast.

If the water temperature is still in the mid-60s, the bass in this lake will be suspended, even if they’re holding close to the trees in deeper water just 3 to 4 feet underneath the surface. When it’s cold on November mornings, the weather will usually warm up in the afternoons, causing the shad to come close to the surface.

I’ll start off in the morning casting to the bank with its pennywort and coontail moss. In fairly stable weather, you can fish the spinnerbait and the buzz bait all day long, just casting to the bank toward any type of structure or grass that looks like it may hold a bass and cover a lot of water with this lure.

Since the bass and the shad will have a tendency to be shallow, in the morning I may fish the spinnerbait high in the water. As the sun comes up, and the light gets brighter, I may let that spinnerbait sink down some and slow-roll it around the trees.

If for some reason the bass aren’t eating the spinnerbait, cast a Strike King Red Eye Shad toward any target that looks like it will hold bass. When you spot a school of shad, cast the Red Eye Shad around the school, and use a medium-fast retrieve.

On a cloudy day, I prefer the gold sexy shad color. In clear weather, I’ll use the chrome sexy shad or the original sexy shad color.

If you’re fishing right after a really hard cold front hits, Chicot is a productive jig lake, particularly on slick bluebird days with no wind. That’s the time I’ll fish a 1/2-ounce Strike King Hack Attack jig in the Okeechobee craw color with a blue Strike King chunk trailer or on Okeechobee craw-colored Rage Craw trailer.

If I decide that the fish are really suspended more than relating to the bottom, I’ll choose the Rage Craw, since it’s a more-active trailer and will get me more bites.

I’ll pitch the Hack Attack jig to the cover, let it fall all the way to the bottom and then swim the bait back to the boat.

On a bluebird day after a cold front, I may increase the size of my jig to 3/4- or even 1-ounce, and drop it through some of that matted grass to see if the bass are holding under the grass. When I’m punching the grass, I’ll be fishing with 50- or 60-pound-test braided line. And in clear water, I’ll choose a Hack Attack jig in either Alabama craw or sexy craw color.

November water at Chicot is at an optimum temperature for bass. Cool water really fires bass up to eat, because they know probably within the next 30-40 days, their metabolism will slow down due to the cold weather. So, they’ll eat all they can as fast as they can until the winter months, which are usually dormant times for bass.

I use at least a 6.3:1 gear ratio reel and 20-pound-test fluorocarbon line to fish in November. At this time of year, you can put the trolling motor down and just go. The lake has a really good population of bass in all year classes, so you may catch a 12-inch bass on one cast and a 6-pounder on the next cast.

During November, you’re really fishing for numbers of bass. On a good day, you may catch 15 to 20 at Chicot.