Goggle-eye chunky in Basin

Fishing not easy but worth the effort

I’ve always been taught catching a fish on the first cast is bad luck, so when my cork dipped beneath the surface of the water this morning (May 4) I was a little hesitant to set the hook.

OK, so I set it quickly. And soon was rewarded with a nice Atchafalaya Basin sac-a-lait flopping in the ice chest.I admitted I might have cursed the trip, but Jefferson’s Sam Ebeyer reassured me that it was just an old wives tale. He quickly put a chunky goggle-eye in the boat, seemingly to emphasize the point.

Then we both drowned crickets to no avail. I switched to a plastic jig, since I had gotten an X-marks-the-spot fishing report from buddy Eric Williamson who told me he, his dad and his son had caught 45 crappie and 65 bull bream in the very spot last weekend.

Nothing. We couldn’t buy another bite.

We were in a dead-end canal off Middle Fork in the heart of the Atchafalaya Basin, but i honestly didn’t like what I saw. There was a lot of submerged grass, which is to be expected, but what had me so alarmed was the solid carpet of salvinia that covered much of the canal — and was solid in the woods — throughout this portion of the Basin.

We left the canal, hopping from spot to spot and picking up one goggle-eye here, one goggle-eye there. However, the bite was less than spectacular despite beautiful water.

And everywhere we from the Intracoastal Canal, down the Williams Canal and in the Middle Fork area, salvinia made fishing difficult.

Finally, I told Sam we had to make a big move, and we headed south to a secret honey hole near Duck Lake all the way at the southern end of the Basin.

Twenty minutes later, we pushed into the isolated section of canal, and started picking up goggle-eye on jigs. We quickly added 10 or so huge warmouth.

These fish were just massive, with so much girth that it was hard to get our hands around them.

And then I broke off trying to get my jig unhung, and I decided to tie on a small spinner just for the heck of it.

Two cast later I was wrestling another monster goggle-eye into the boat, followed by another not long thereafter.

Sam quickly retied and we began adding fish to the box more frequently.

Honestly, the bite wasn’t easy; it just wasn’t one of those trips when you caught a fish on every cast. But the action was definitely better in the southern end of the Basin, and it was enough to keep us interested.

We simply fished back and forth along both banks of the canal, which is tucked into the woods and silted in on both ends. Several fish would be landed on each round.

The final count was 42 fish, almost all goggle-eye. We only had two crappie (Sam missed a third one at the boat), a chinquapin and a short handful of bream.

While not quite a box full of fish, we were proud of the stringer — especially after speaking with a number of other anglers who were struggling to put a couple of dozen fish in the boat using jigs, crickets and grass shrimp.

And’ we left the fish biting and headed back to the launch about 2;30 p.m.

Boats lined the 21 Inch Canal, and we saw a number of fish being caught on jigs under corks.

I now have almost 300 crickets sitting in my boat, just waiting for me to figure out what to do with them.

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About Andy Crawford 863 Articles
Andy Crawford has spent nearly his entire career writing about and photographing Louisiana’s hunting and fishing community. While he has written for national publications, even spending four years as a senior writer for B.A.S.S., Crawford never strayed far from the pages of Louisiana Sportsman. Learn more about his work at www.AndyCrawford.Photography.

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