Fishing and relaxation at Rattlesnake Hill

Lyle Johnson
Joel Mayers with a six-pound bass he fooled with a lunker lure in the “Pond”

There’s a little café in Gonzales named Carlico’s where a group of men gather for breakfast. Luke Marchand puts four tables together to handle the crowd and more than just breakfast gets cooked.

There’s a little “bull” that can’t be found on the menu, but it gets served up whether you order it or not.

I usually get to make the “breakfast” on Fridays and it’s become a routine that I look forward to. The “cast of characters” is made up of locals that have lived in our community all their lives along with a sprinkle of imports that have chosen to establish residence and business here.

Two of the more colorful characters that have a place on my “favorites” list are “T-Boy” Argrave and Buck Banker. T-Boy owned Colonial Drive Inn, a burger joint that was the town hangout for the young crowd back in the day. If you remember Colonial you can get the senior discount at most establishments.

Buck along with one of his brothers was owner of EATEL, our local telephone company. We had 5 digit phone numbers and party lines back then. I’m really telling my age now! These two act like they can’t put up with one another but at heart they are really long time pals that couldn’t make it without the other. Ha, ha!

I was extended an invitation by T-Boy to spend some time at his place in Jones Village, Mississippi, a little northeast of Natchez to do some fishing. A few years ago he and Truvy, his son built a 20 acre pond on their place and stocked it with bass, copper nose bluegill and redear sunfish or chinquapin as we know them.

I took way too long accepting his invitation but last Friday I made the trip up Hwy 61 to enjoy a couple days of relaxation and of course, fishing. Usually hunting is the cause for that route to be taken for me and the colors are usually dull during the winter time. This time everything was green or blooming springtime colors. 

After making it to Patton Road, my journey ended at Rattlesnake Hill where the Argrave family built their settlement away from home; a hunting camp with a bunk house, cooking room and a skinning shed. Then came the fun part. T-Boy took me to the pond and showed me around.

Unpacking didn’t take long as the water was calling me for a visit. I loaded up my afternoon’s worth of fishing gear and made my way to the pier. You know me; I spent an hour fishing on the pier and caught several bass and one of the big bream before I even got in the boat.

My host and guide joined me in the boat and off we went in search of bass. The water was clear so I opted to go finesse style. I used a plastic worm rigged wacky style and spinning gear that paid off pretty good. I switched to a craw bait that produced lots of strikes but very few hook ups and I figured the profile of the bait was too big.

I tied on a Zoom finesse worm that I call my Mardi Gras color because it’s watermelon with green, gold and purple glitter. That turned to be my pay off bait for this portion of the trip as I boated 30 or so of the green trout.

At 5 p.m. three fish feeders went off, expelling their treats for the bream and the water at the middle feeder came alive with the pan fish hitting everywhere around me. I picked up my ultra light rig with a beetle spin and began what was the most fun of my trip; catching the biggest bream of my life. For the next 20 or so minutes my arm was nearly pulled off by the extra large bluegills, a couple of them going nearly a pound.

A cold front moved through on Friday, so we were awakened to a cool, crisp 45 degree morning with a beautiful moonset. I headed to the pond with visions of leaping bass in my mind and they didn’t let me down.

I had an inkling that top water would be the way to go because of the full moon, so I tied on a lunker lure on one rod and a chug bug on the other. The lunker lure produced eight strikes in about five minutes but no hook-ups. The chug bug came out next and it was paydirt.

After landing 10 or so bass that put on an aerial show, I tied a blue/sliver Rogue and fished it jerkbait style. I would reel it down and give it a couple of jerks and then pause it. They hammered it during the pauses. In a little over an hour I caught and released 35 or so of the feisty bass.

Truvy joined me fishing for a couple of hours and then took me on a tour of the nearly 1,400 acre tract of land they own part and lease part. We took a break for about an hour and hit the water once again and caught plenty more bass, mostly wacky style. A weekend at Rattlesnake Hill. Priceless. Thank you Argrave family for your hospitality.

Hey don’t forget about the photo contest sponsored by Ascension Outdoors and Cabela’s for kids 15 and under. Just bring an outdoor photo to the reel bar or customer service until April 30. The winning photo participant will receive a great prize and a guest appearance on our show.

Remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. So until next time be safe in the outdoors, have fun and may God truly bless you.

Truvy Argrave with a couple of “monster” bluegills he caught in the “Pond.”