Hot-weather sac-a-lait are on August menu
This time of year, one of the favorite things south Louisiana crappie fishermen do is catch a good mess of fish for a fish fry, and maybe a few packs for the freezer. If you aren’t sure where to go, this is a good time to be bringing ‘em back from Bayou Black south of Amelia.
“I’m telling you, this time of year Bayou Black is on fire,” said Clyde Folse, a fisherman, guide and owner of Crappie Psychic. “The bite is good, and it will continue on through September if nothing dramatic happens. They key for the Bayou Black area is pretty simple. Look for cuts coming out of the marsh, especially if the water is falling.
“Where that beautiful, dark, marsh water is coming out and mixing into the more muddy water; that’s where you’ll find fish. It’s where the baitfish will end up, and the sac-a-lait won’t be far behind. Those cuts are especially good if there are grasspiles in the cuts,” he said.
Dead-end canals are always good for sac-a-lait in this area, but late summer, they seem especially good, he said. If you don’t know what to fish with, he has some good suggestions. In fact, it’s not a hard choice for him. It’s as simple as black and white.
“That’s it. Black and white,” he said. “Everybody who knows me knows that I start out with black and white. I just think it is the top color, bar none,” he said. “A lot of times on guide trips, I’ll start with black and white and let my clients pick colors they like. Usually, it isn’t long until we are all fishing — you guessed it — black and white.”
Folse is partial to his Crappie Psychic Crappie Weapon, Petite Minnow and rejuvenated Iddy Biddy Shrimp hair jig. He tips them with chartreuse Crappie Ammo and trailers. He puts them to the test in a lot of different places, but right now, it’s Bayou Black. He depends on a technique and some time-tested tips to put sac-a-lait in the boat.
“Grass,” Folse said, “that’s the key. Any of the main canals that hold grass also hold crappie unless the water is just too muddy. I love the dead-end pockets with grass, but I don’t fish them like most others. You’ll see people come up in the canal and go down one bank, then the other. I like to turn around and cast to the middle. If I see one stem of grass sticking up, I know there’s crappie around it. And if there is one stick of grass, I’m sure there is a lot more down there that I can’t see.”
Folse said sac-a-lait love to hide in the grass and ambush bait as it comes past. They also hide in the cover to keep from getting eaten by big catfish.
“Don’t cast right at the grass,” he said “Cast beyond it, and bring it back by the grass as close as you can. Another thing: be quiet. Don’t run up in the canal. Ease up in there, and be quiet. I don’t even use my trolling motor any more than I have to. They spook so easily.”
Folse doesn’t do a lot of jig-pole fishing; he likes to cast, and his favorite technique is putting his bait under a cork. He prefers a 2-inch, weighted Mr. Crappie clip-on cork. The weight helps him cast accurately and into a wind, and the splash of the cork seems to help attract fish. On occasion, he’s had sac-a-lait hit the cork before the bait. And any color cork is okay, as long as it is chartreuse.
“Some folks may laugh, but that does make a difference,” he said. “Get in the boat with me and you use an orange cork. We’ll see how long it takes you to swap over.”
Two good places to launch in Bayou Black are Bob’s Bayou Black Marina in Gibson and Cannon’s Boat Launch off Highway 311 closer to Houma. A word of caution at Cannon’s — you have to go through a tight water-control structure, and in a tall boat, you may have to take down some gear to pass through.
JOIN THE CLUB, get unlimited access for $2.99/month
Become the most informed Sportsman you know, with a membership to the Louisiana Sportsman Magazine and LouisianaSportsman.com.