The little things in life — Bass fishing tips for Bayou Dularge

Bayou Dularge is famous for its redfish and trout, but there also are plenty of little green fish in the area this month. Here’s how to add bass to your box — but don’t wait because the bite is only a few weeks long.

As I’ve grown from a wild-eyed 13-year-old wondering what kind of hovercraft I would be driving in the year 2000 to a 45-year-old wondering where the time went, I’ve learned to appreciate the little things in life.

Whether the calls of the bobwhite quail that have reasserted themselves on my farm, getting off work when it’s still light outside or realizing that I have cellular service at Coon Point, it’s often the little things that put a big smile on my face.

The power in the little things is that they often appear when we least expect them.

Take Bayou Dularge for example.

Just about everybody running down the bayou expects to catch redfish and speckled trout.

Capt. Travis Miller with Miller-Time Fishing Charters (985-981-6434) is no exception. Whether he’s got a boat full of customers or out on his own searching for new spots, Miller knows what’s going to be tugging on his line.

Although nobody would ever call catching tons of speckled trout and redfish mundane, it’s the little things — like largemouth bass — that put just a little bit more bend in his grin.

He calls the green fish a “pure bonus for guides” because they can save a trip.

He starts dancing around his 2400 Pure Bay like Rick Flair after flipping one over the side.

He also knows the bite won’t last too long each year — at least in the southern reaches of Bayou DuLarge.

“We’ve always caught some bass out of here,” Miller said about where he keeps his boat at the Reel Inn Lodge, “but about three years ago we started catching some farther south. Normally we have to go up toward Decade and the Superior Canals to catch some bass, but they’re actually working their way south a little bit.”

By “farther south” Miller was referring to places like Deer Bayou and even the north side of Lake Mechant.

And it is these farthest reaches where the bass bite will only last two or three weeks.

Although he typically does his best bass work during November, Miller said that during a few weeks during March and maybe April these southern largemouth turn on big time.

“Once the water warms up a little bit, we get a couple of weeks in spring when we can target the bass farther south,” he said. “Now, you can fish for them up north most of the year, save for maybe August and September when it gets too hot, but down south — three weeks max.”

Admittedly, catching bass so far south out of Bayou Dularge doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, especially in a parish doing its best to prevent saltwater intrusion up north by trying to keep it all down south.

“I don’t really know why,” Miller said. “All I know is these bass are moving. I think a lot of it has to do with the structure and reduced salinity in what I would call the north part of the southern part of Dularge.”

Miller said the water in this zone has to be lower in salinity, since so many lily pads show up amongst the roseau cane.

“When you’ve got water fresh enough for lily pads, you’ve got water fresh enough for bass,” Miller added. “It’s just a natural that you’re going to find bass around those lilies.”

All this bass excitement started about three years ago when Miller started catching a handful of bass while he was also catching trout and redfish. Now, in the last two years, these bass have become like clockwork — they’re going to show up.

“Getting them to show up is not the problem,” Miller said. “The problem is that there is not a ton of area we get to fish, so they get hammered pretty quickly. You might have a couple hundred yards holding bass; between anglers who know about them and the guides, the full-force bite doesn’t last all that long.”

The best scenario, according to Miller, is that the bass stop biting for a week, which makes everybody leave them alone. Then he comes back a week or two later and gets another little run of them for another week or so.

“You’re not going to catch them in the southern part of Dularge all year long,” Miller insisted. “It’s just not going to happen.”

Since these bass are not everywhere and they tend to stack up together in small spots, Miller said the key to finding them is finding structure — anything that gives bass something to get next to — and tide.

One of the best kinds of spots is a stretch of roseau cane that has grabbed some broken marsh that has drained out. A lot of times, bass lie right under that.

“When you find that kind of structure, you’re good to catch a handful of fish in the same little 5-yard-radius area,” Miller said. “They hold really tight to each other, and sometimes you’ll catch 15 or 20 like that all in one little area.

“I’ve caught up to 30 in one spot without moving the boat.”

Although these bass farther down south would eat typically bass baits, Miller doesn’t want to exclude the trout bite, so he sticks with the bait he throws just about any time and anywhere — a green hornet Matrix Shad.

He rigs the Matrix Shad on a ¼-ounce Golden Eye jighead and works it just like he might fish a plastic worm.

“I do a little bit of a bounce with it and let it sit,” he said. “Now, up north around Decade and the Superior Canals, I might switch to a Texas-rigged avocado-colored Brush Hog. But up there, I’m specifically targeting bass.”

When down south, Miller has discovered that there are three unique zones that produce different fish. By positioning his boat away from the cane and casting toward it, he is able to target all three zones in one cast.

“Right up against the roseau cane and in the lily pads is where we catch bass,” he said. “A couple feet out from that, we get in a zone where we start hitting our redfish. And off from that zone out in deeper water, we hit the trout zone.”

And it seems to Miller that there isn’t much mingling between the different zones. In his experience, if he hasn’t caught a bass within that first couple feet out from the cane, he’s not going to catch one because he’ll have moved into the redfish zone.

“The trout zone is obviously the largest of the zones,” Miller explained. “Since we’re casting up to the cane and working our baits down the ledge into deeper water, there’s just more deeper water than there is shallow water on the shelf by the cane.”

But, interestingly enough, Miller said he tends to catch more trout side by side with bass than he does redfish.

If the little things in life mean as much to you as they do to Miller, then you’re going to be happy to learn that these aren’t the largest bass you’ll ever catch.

In fact, the largest bass Miller has ever caught in the southern part of DuLarge is 3 ½ pounds.

“Sometimes they’re 8 to 10 inches,” he said. “Then you hit the conditions right and everything you catch is 1 to 1 ½ pounds. It’s hard to target the bigger ones because they are as random as it gets. Some days, you go out and everything is 1 ½ pounds or heavier.

“Then you have the days when everything is 10 inches. But when you have those 10-inch days, you just can’t keep them off your line. They’re kind of like mosquitoes; they’re everywhere.”

The funny thing about these bass out of Bayou Dularge is how Miller’s customers react to them — reaction that seems to depend almost entirely on where they are from.

His Louisiana anglers get excited when they start catching bass. Catching trout, redfish and bass all at the same time tends to push them over the edge of excitement.

“Man, their eyes light up,” me said. “But when the out-of-state folks start catching bass, they don’t even want to touch them.

“It’s really odd. They’ll tell me they don’t want the bass and that I can keep them — score! It’s like I just struck gold, right there.”

Regardless of whether they want anything to do them or not, Miller keeps them as long as they fall within the daily limit of 10 fish of any size.

“Some people see those 10-inch fish and toss them right back,” Miller said, “but I get a lot of people who fish sac-a-lait and bluegill, and they don’t think anything about keeping those 10-inch bass.

“They tell me they keep bream that small so they might as well keep the same-size bass.”

According to Miller, when you see how many thousands of these little bass are out there, you really have to start thinking about thinning them out a little bit. He’s found that when the little ones are really aggressive and out and about he just doesn’t catch the big ones because they beat the bigger bass to his bait.

Regardless of what one thinks about catching bass in the marsh, these green fish can save a trip because they are not quite as temperamental as trout.

“Especially if you get stuck out there on a windy day,” Miller concluded. “Come March or April … you get stuck in the marsh after the trout have already moved out — not only can you catch reds, (but) you’ve got bass as an option.

“Hey, the more the merrier, I say.”

They might not be giants — and they last just a few weeks — but for Miller and all the other devoted anglers fishing out of Bayou Dularge, largemouth bass are an unexpected treat during March.

Especially for those who have learned to appreciate the little things in life.

About Chris Ginn 778 Articles
Chris Ginn has been covering hunting and fishing in Louisiana since 1998. He lives with his wife Jennifer and children Matthew and Rebecca along the Bogue Chitto River in rural Washington Parish. His blog can be found at