Wait was worth it for Bayou Black bream, sac-a-lait and catfish

Julie McCarty of Morgan City holds a chunky slab she caught while fishing the Bayou Black area in early summer with her husband, panfish maistro Bill McCarty.

You can’t rush a good fishin’ hole. Just give it time.

Bill McCarty knows that better than anyone, but still checked some of his favorite fishin’ holes in the Bayou Black area last month looking for some good fishing spots in the coming months. The combination of green stuff — grass, milfoil, hyacinths, etc. — was looking real good at the time, but the main ingredients for a fish fry weren’t available yet.

The Morgan City outdoorsman, a bona fide specialist at catching panfish and catfish in the area he has called home his entire life, knows the right time will be now in June. And now’s when he will be out to catch them in the sixth month of the year in places like Bayou Copasaw, Minor’s Canal, Trapper’s Canal and off Turtle Bayou Pipeline. June is the month it will be best. And the wait has been worth it.

Panfish and catfish pour into those canals when the marsh surrounding them starts baking in the heat of early summer, he said.

“It’ll be getting hot and getting too warm in there, so they’ll be coming out”, he said, speaking of the canals.

“It’s a good place to get the main ingredients,” he said about catching bream, goggle-eye, sac-a-lait and catfish.

A “decent day,” he said, would be 25-50 fish, a mixed bag. On a really good day, he said with a knowing chuckle, an angler can feed a family and neighbors. Even on a bad day, you can catch enough for the family to eat.

Coming from the west, as he does most of the time, he’ll put in at the public boat landing at Amelia. Coming from the east, a convenient access point would be Bob’s Bayou Black Marina in Gibson.

Clear water

McCarty looks for water with 18 to 24 inches of clarity. He doesn’t want the water crystal clear.

“Scattered grass or milfoil is a bonus, even hyacinths,” he said.

Bill McCarty’s go-to bait to trigger enough bites for a fish fry in June when he fishes the Bayou Black area.

His go-to bait is a blue/black/chartreuse jig, either tube or hair, on a 1/16-ounce lead head tipped with a chartreuse Berkley Powerbait Crappie Nibble. He’s seen plenty of fish caught on blue/white, chartreuse/red and brown/orange tube or hair jigs, too, he said.

“I think it’s more of a fisherman’s preference. I personally like blue/black/chartreuse,” he said. And you can’t go wrong with that combo.

McCarty, who owns WHM Services LLC, also uses the smallest cork he can get away with. Large corks are a no-no in his book.

“You’re not catching redfish, pal. I want to see any movement. I want to have an idea what’s going on,” he said.

He spools 6-pound monofilament line on a Zebco Delta spincast reel mounted on a 5 ½-foot casting rod. It’s a lethal combination, as he’s proven over the decades.

He fishes the tube jig or hair jig anywhere from 18 to 30 inches under the cork.

And one final tip. The fish usually bite better on a falling tide, he said.

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About Don Shoopman 472 Articles
Don Shoopman fishes for freshwater and saltwater species mostly in and around the Atchafalaya Basin and Vermilion Bay. He moved to the Sportsman’s Paradise in 1976, and he and his wife June live in New Iberia. They have two grown sons.

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