Pearl River offers great opportunity for wildlife, fishing

Lyle Johnson
Jeff Buhl and “Goosie” Guise display one of 30 bass that fell to plastic baits on a beautiful day along Pearl River this weekend.

This weekend, Goosie and I were blessed to be invited to fish the Pearl River with a friend and fellow Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association member, Jeff Buhl. We’d been trying to make this trip for a while as this was my first trip to the Pearl, so my anticipation was high to say the least.

Friday was a picture perfect day but a dry front moved through our area Thursday night leaving behind high barometric pressure and clear skies which can give bass a good case of the lockjaw, making them hard to catch.

But fishing took a back seat, at least for a while on our trip because of the wildlife we experienced on our ride out. Jeff made a turn off the East Pearl into the marsh and a coyote was taking a swim across the canal in front of us. They don’t like humans much so it wasted little time in getting away from us.

A little further in an owl flew across the canal, probably returning from a night of hunting its food. The boat settled down as Jeff let off the throttle just in time for the morning ritual to begin with our native population of wood ducks to stretch their wings. The pairs are mating and finding nests to raise their hatch of young ducklings.

Add in a few nutria swimming along the bank with a couple of squirrels scampering through the trees and you get the idea. Louisiana is certainly unique for its wildlife population and this day proved it once again to us.

Jeff spent a little time scouting the day before and caught the bass on a spinner bait so we all had that tied on for our start. We couldn’t get a buy a fish on the spinner baits so I picked up a plastic creature bait by Strike King and caught a couple of goggle-eyes.

That sort of tuned us in to the fact that the fish probably slowed down and were holding tighter to cover. I pitched the Strike King Rage Tail Space monkey to a cypress knee and hit the wood with the bait. A bass hit the lure as soon as it hit the water and that put one more piece of the puzzle together for us.

Jeff then went to his tackle box and pulled out a Berkley Chigger Craw, sapphire blue in color and installed it on a Texas rigged Challenger rod with an Ambassador Revo reel. A short while later he set the hook on his first bass of the day and the pattern was set for the rest of the day.

Goosie was running the camera for an upcoming episode of Ascension Outdoors, seen exclusively on EATEL Fiber Edge TV on channel 4 while Jeff and I slowly added a bass here and there.

We changed locations and positions as I took over the camera operation as Goosie joined Jeff fishing. He tied on a 6” black plastic worm that had a blue curl tail on the end. The blue color continued to pay off as Goosie began to catch a few fish and add to our numbers.

As the sun came up and began to heat the air along with the water, once sluggish bass began to stir around a little more and with the sun and warmth came the gators. Looking like spring break at the beach along the gulf, they began to line up on the bank to soak up the heat. Some of the toothy critters hit the water to get away from us but plenty of them just watched us pass by.

Each spot was a little different from the rest with water color and terrain but the action stayed pretty steady until we called it a day. The final tally was around 30 bass and the two goggle eyes I landed right at the beginning.

On the way back to the landing a pair of ospreys occupied a giant nest in a huge bald cypress tree right along the river and offered us a great view of their tree house. One of the rather large birds flew off and the other stayed as we passed by and just soaked the sight in.

What a way to end a near perfect day. Jeff thought we had sort of a slow day but a day like the one we spent with a great friend and fisherman is one that will stick with us for a long time.

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.

A nesting pair ospreys keeps a watchful eye high above Pearl River.