A couple of weekends ago everybody must have been trying to shake all the cabin fever from this very cold winter and headed out to the Louisiana Sportsmen’s Show at Lamar Dixon.
A couple of weekends ago everybody must have been trying to shake all the cabin fever from this very cold winter and headed out to the Louisiana Sportsmen’s Show at Lamar Dixon. That place was packed! I’ve never seen so many vehicles in the parking lot.
But nature has a way of letting us know who’s in control, we’ve had another cold front pass through along with temperatures back down in the 30s. I’d gotten a call from Jeff Bruhl, a north shore bass fisherman that hosts www.marshbass.com about making a fishing trip with him on the Tchefuncte River in Madisonville.
Man, I was excited about the opportunity to fish an area that I’d never been to before and it should be prime spawning time. I could see visions of warm weather, calm winds and eager bass waiting to attack anything thrown their way.
The Tchefuncte River is a river system that feeds into Lake Ponchatrain in the same way that our Amite/Blind River system operates. So the cold front last weekend brought north and northwest winds along with the cold temperatures. So those visions I had about the trip slowly began to fade away.
I called Bruhl earlier in the week to see if we might want to postpone our trip to a later date but he assured me that the fish should bite. “The Tchefuncte River is a deep system and we can find some deep banks that should provide us with a chance to catch a few,” Jeff assured me but I had my doubts.
The weather was supposed to be spectacular; a mix of sun and clouds, temperatures warming to the mid 70s and a day off of work would help shake any remainder of cabin fever off that was left.
The wind was to blow from the south and southeast so that meant low water level (about 1 foot low) and a rising tide all day long. That my friend is the kiss of death for fishing a river system. But what the heck; I would be spending a day on the water with a great friend, experiencing some great weather and you can’t ask for more than that.
Our launching spot would be the coast guard marina where the river meets with Lake Ponchatrain and that took me through the “old” part of Madisonville. It was beautiful with those old homes and shops that had been around for a long time. Bruhl met me at Route 22 Gas and Bait and we were on our way.
There was no need to get an early start, so we put the Skeeter/Yamaha rig in at 8:30 a.m. and headed up river to our first location. Because of the low water level we started in the main river, fishing some cypress trees.
My host picked up a Ribbit frog which I thought was kind of odd but this would turn out to be a day of education for me instructed by Bruhl. I started with a gold top water bait and off we went. It wasn’t very long and a feisty pound and a quarter largemouth hammered the frog and the day began.
His hunch about the bass moving out to the main river was beginning to pan out as he landed three more on the Ribbit frog and a couple of more on a slow sinking worm. He’d won a tournament a couple of weeks earlier on some creeks, catching them on top water so we headed for his prime location.
We spent about two hours in these back water pockets going through a myriad of baits without any success. With all the fish Jeff had been catching in these areas we knew it would happen sooner than later. We left scratching our heads and fishless in those areas.
The next spot was an area with some cypress trees with deep water but Bruhl stopped the boat on a point and I made a cast in some lily pads with a red bug brush hog and got the tap, set the hook and landed a nice bass and something clicked; man, we should have stayed fishing in the main river.
After fishing down that bank and only catching a small bass on the brush hog, the decision to fish main river points would be how we would spent our remaining time. The wind had picked up pretty good, just right for spinner baits so our pattern of choice would be to hit points that the wind blew into and the pockets around them.
Jeff tied on a Stanley Compact spinner bait in the color with tandem, gold willow leaf blades in the 3/8 ounce size. It’s made with a smaller frame and smaller blades and he thought downsizing his lure a little was the way to go.
All of the pieces of the puzzle finally came together a little as we began to milk those points and pockets, picking up a fish or two in each location. This turned out to be our pattern for the day; main river points & pockets because the low water moved the fish out of the creeks, fishing the areas that the wind was blowing into, spinner baits because we could cover a lot of ground and downsizing the baits for a little more finesse.
How did it work out? We ended the day catching about 30 bass, the great majority on the Stanley Compact spinner bait.
That’s the way it’s suppose to work out; adapt to the conditions (even when they are bad) and end up with a successful trip. Thanks for the great day on the water, Jeff.
Remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. So until next time have fun in the outdoors, be safe and may God truly bless you.