When I was growing up out on the rural route, there were lots of activities to keep youngsters busy especially in summer when school was over for three months. High on the list of things to do was to go out behind the cow barn with a shovel and empty Prince Albert tobacco can and dig among the dried cow patties for earthworms. Cane poles that spent the winter on the back wall of the cow barn resting on nails to keep them straight were taken down, black braided line that had spent the winter in the closet was tied onto a pole, a bream hook, lead sinker and cork float were attached and it was time to head for the creek.
Molido, a clear and sparkling little creek with several dark holes snaked through the oaks and beeches behind our house and this was not only where we swam but the darker holes were lairs for a variety of fish – we called them all “perch”. There were the freckled little fish we called “red perch”, blue bills and goggle eyes, all of which offered kids lots of fun. Bringing a day’s catch home guaranteed a fish fry for supper that night. Bream fishing today is quite a bit different than those cane pole/earthworm forays to the creek years ago. Last weekend, a bream tournament was held on Lake D’Arbonne giving credence to the fact that catching big bream is pretty big business. This time of year, the lakes are crowded with fishermen armed with fiberglass poles or ultra-light spinning rods tipped with tiny spinners. Instead of messing with gooey earthworms, gray crickets are the preferred live bait for serious bream fishermen.
It has been decades since I fished on a creek and today I concentrate my bream fishing excursions to the friendly confines of a farm pond, one I have fished for years. It couldn’t be easier. I settle down in a comfortable folding chair beneath the shade of a big oak and toss my cricket into an area where year after year, big bream congregate this time of year for spawning. Watching the cork hovering over the cricket, it’s still exciting to me when I see it bobble and then go under. This means I’m hooked up with a bream. Most of the ones I catch are big bluegills but I can be assured that at least a couple will be red eared sunfish – around here we call them chinquapins.
Our part of the state doesn’t have a corner of good bream fishing. Every lake in the state of Louisiana has hefty populations of big bream that are there for the taking. I am fortunate that where I sit on my favorite pond is within a short cast from the bream bed I know is there. On lakes, because of so much more water surface to look for bream, it
usually takes little effort to troll slowly around the lake until you catch a big bream. You can usually drop anchor right there because you very likely are within casting distance of a bream bed that will keep you busy until you catch all you want to bring home.
To me, there is no better eating fish than bream, especially when coated with yellow mustard, dumped in a bag of Louisiana Fish Fry product and dropped into hot peanut oil. A big bluegill or chinquapin is easy to filet and if you catch enough, you have the makings of a fine fish fry. I usually save a few smaller ones that I scale, gut and fry whole. I’ll take one of these and first take a bite of the crispy tail; it’s like eating a potato chip. Then I “unzip” it by carefully removing the fin along the back and the smaller one on the underside and separate the fish into two parts. Remove the row of bones and you have a mouth-watering couple of bites that when dipped in tartar sauce or ketchup is flat-out hard to beat. Okay, so now I’ve made you hungry, there is no excuse for not heading out to a pond or lake and catch a mess of bream. This time of year, it’s happening big time.
CANEY LAKE – Bass have been best at night with Tyler Stewart hauling in 3 fish weighing 26 pounds topped by an 11.29 pounder. Some are starting to school with best fishing on Yellow Magic lures along with tail spinners around points on the main lake. Old Monster worms and crank baits are best on the deeper holes. Crappie are around the deeper tops and hitting jigs and shiners fished 12 feet deep in 15-25 foot water. Bream are on the beds and hitting crickets and worms. No report on catfish. For information contact Laine’s Landing on Caney Lake at 259-6649, Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323- 8707.
BUSSEY BRAKE – Bream fishing has been good fishing worms or crickets around the trees. Bass are fair around structure. Crappie are scattered and fair. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
BLACK BAYOU – Bass have been fair around the edges of the grass on jigs and spinners. Bream fishing is good around the tupelo gums. Crappie are scattered and slow. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.
OUACHITA RIVER – Crappie have been fair in the river lakes spider rigging jigs 5 feet deep in 8-10 foot water. Bass are in the deeper holes and hitting jigs and soft plastics. For the latest contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE D’ARBONNE –Crappie fishing continues to be best fishing the flats in 25 foot water fishing 8-10 feet deep on shiners or jigs. Bream fishing is good on worms and crickets. Catfishing continues to be good off the banks on night crawlers and cold worms. Bass fishing has been best fishing the deeper channel holes and old sloughs on jigs, crank. For latest reports, call Anderson’s Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE CLAIBORNE – Bass fishing has been best early morning fishing in the back of the
creeks on topwater lures such as the Zara Spook Jr. Later, try the main lake points with crank baits. The Bomber Fat Free Shad and Rapala DT 16 have been working. At night, fish around the lighted piers with Shaky Heads with finesse worm added. Crappie have been better at night around the lights in 20 foot deep water. Bream are still around the beds and catfishing has been fair on cold worms. at night fishing the lighted piers with crank baits. For latest information, call Kel’s Cove at 927-2264.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – Bass and crappie are fair. Catfish and bream are fair to good. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318/878-0101.
LAKE ST. JOHN – Crappie are fair in deeper water. Bass are best early mornings on topwaters with some in the 4-5 pound class reported. Catfishing is fair to good on yo-yos baited with shiners. For information, call Ken Mahoney at 318-201-3821.
LAKE YUCATAN – The water level is slowly falling with better reports this week on crappie and catfish with bar fish and a few bass also showing up. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.