Outdoor Corner: State of the Pier Address

Lyle Johnson

It’s been quite a while since I’ve given a report on the State of the Pier. It’s a little like the president is mandated by law to bring a State of the Union address annually. So, I feel somewhat responsible to report what’s happening from my pier on the Diversion Canal, then out to other areas in our state.

The roadside bass I fooled on a Strike King Rage Tail Craw in watermelon red with chartreuse dye.

The past few months have been lower than my expectations as far as the catfish are concerned. I have not been catching that many, and I can’t quite put my finger (or hooks) on it but here goes.

The bait; catching shad with my cast net is not usually that difficult. At this time, it’s coming up empty way, way too many times. Then when I do get shad, the fish don’t seem interested in eating them at all.

My nephew, James Johnson pictured with his bass caught off of the pier.

Night crawlers are usually a pretty stable plan “B.” The fish readily eat the worms, but the size of the catfish leaves plenty to be desired. About one out of every 10 or so are keepers (even those are small) most are channel catfish in the four- to five-inch range.

I’m not complaining at all but I am scratching my head trying to figure them out. But hey, that’s fishing. I’ve been catching a few bream, chinquapin and sac a lait but not enough to get the juices flowing a top speed.

My Grandson, Canaan holds his bass up after landing it on our short road trip.

On Thanksgiving day, the Johnsons gathered at my house to celebrate. The weather was great and the pier is a magnet. Some like to sit and just watch the river while others like to watch the boats pass, although it’s not too crowded this time of the year.

Fishing is usually the favorite pastime of the visitors. This day I didn’t bait my catfish lines as they hadn’t been biting much at all. But I did have some worms down there so I let them know and the fishing was on!

Taylor Diez (a nephew) caught a bluegill while Alan (a brother) caught a nice sac a lait. But the crowd pleaser came when James Johnson (another nephew) hooked on to and landed a 3 ½ lb bass on a plastic crawfish bait. Everybody down on the pier was cheering him on as well as half of the crowd in the house as we could see the drama unfold through the windows. Things are looking up!

The next day, Canaan (a grandson) had a short time between rain showers to spend some time doing something. We decided to put a few rods and reels and head to a few spots we could fish from the bank.

Our first spot was a big double culvert that can sometimes produce a fish or two. The good thing was that the water was falling, so there was plenty of current. The bad thing was on one side water hyacinths made it impossible to fish and the other side had Salvinia pretty thick.

We tried both sides and struck gold on the Salvinia side. I was fishing with a Rage Tail Craw plastic making a cast past the stuff. While reeling next to some cypress knees a nice fish hit it on top but missed. Stopping the retrieve gave the fish another try and the scrappy 2½ lb bass swallowed the bait.

Tre’ Gautreau and Speedy Rettig got to take advantage of the hot bite in Venice catching limits of specs using a matrix shad and the bass were caught using blue Speed Craws.

An explosion of Salvinia hit the air several times as the fight was pretty intense trying to get the fish through all that junk. Fate went our way as I hoisted the fish out of the mess to unhook it to be returned to the water for another angler to enjoy another fight one day.

Our second stop was at a little slough that had some water running out. Canaan made a cast deep into the slough with a KVD stick worm. Didn’t take too long for a 13-inch bass to gobble up that offering and after a good fight our second bass was released to fight again another day.

I managed to coax an 11-inch bass to take the Rage Tail Craw and landed our third bass of the trip. We tried a couple more spots with no luck and the rain ran us back home to enjoy some Thanksgiving leftovers.

A little farther from home, there are a couple of spots that have been red hot. Venice has been producing great stringer of bass along with some occasional redfish pitching and flipping the roseau canes. The speckled trout are cooperating as well.

Down the bayou towards Grand Isle has been producing exceptional catches of specs and redfish fishing along the road. Bayou Lafourche along La 1 from Golden Meadow all the way to the island is providing anglers with above average catches using live shrimp and plastics. This scenario will last throughout the fall and stay pretty good in winter.

The state of the pier is not as good as usual but it’s always good to be out there. So until next time, remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. Have fun in the outdoors, be safe in the outdoors and may God truly bless you!