Following his most successful season on the Bassmaster Elite circuit in 2023, Tyler Rivet has been enjoying the offseason, every now and then wetting a line, usually for species other than bass.
The Raceland all-around outdoorsman who hoisted his first coveted blue Bassmaster Elite tournament trophy in mid-February at Lake Okeechobee, then finished ninth in the Angler of the Year standings on the diverse and difficult Elite bass tournament trail, honed his bass fishing skills while he was growing up by fishing waters close to Raceland.
Rivet, 29, a five-time college national championship qualifier who started the fishing team at Nicholls State University, knows a few places to definitely hit in November.
It’s a hotspot
One “hotspot” Rivet frequented quite often when he was younger during the next-to-last month of the year was the Bayou Black area and another area nearby in the marsh of south central Louisiana.
“It’s always good this time of year. Normally in November, you’ve got fronts with north winds blowing water out of the cuts,” he said. “Those canals with cuts in them tend to hold fish. Pipelines, stuff like that. The Bayou Coppersaw area’s there. Then you could head toward the (Bayou) Dularge area,” he said.
“I used to tournament fish for bass down there. If I’m fishing down there now, I’m sac-a-lait fishing.”
But he keeps his bass poles baited, too. Rivet had some great days on the water in those areas using either a moving bait, such as a ¼-ounce chartreuse/white Delta Lures model or a Humdinger, mostly the former because of its durability, he said, or slowing down and focusing on punchin’ whatever matted vegetation he can find.
Closer to cover
Why is punchin’ soft plastics so effective following a cold front? The clear blue, high skies and rising barometric pressure combine during post-cold front conditions to push bass closer to cover, Rivet said.
“So I guess that’s why punchin’ does help on those days,” he said.
His go-to bait when he chooses to punch whatever vegetation he can find along the pipeline canals and bayous is an Xcite Baits product.
When it’s time to thread a soft plastic, Rivet reaches for one he designed himself, a Sucka Punch. His top two color choices are June bug and green pumpkin.
“It’s a good bait. I made it with no appendages on the sides,” he said, noting the shape allows him to punch it more easily through vegetation. And that means he can use a lighter weight, like a ¾-ounce, rather than a 1- or 1 ¼-ounce weight. What’s more, he said, the slot for the hook point is on the side, which covers it up and that setup makes it more weedless.
Topwaters like poppers, chuggers, buzz baits, prop baits (including Whopper Ploppers), etc., also put bass in the boat in November, weather and water conditions permitting.
“The topwater bite can be fun that time of year if it’s warmer,” he said.
Rivet, who won that first Elite tournament of the year that we mentioned earlier, also finished out his year of competition on a gold medal-winning team in September as Team USA captured the Pan American Bass Fishing Championship on Lake Hamilton near Hot Springs, Arkansas.
But for now, it’s just for fun, whether it’s bass or crappie on Bayou Black. Or both.