Thoughts on bass fishing by a novice

With photos of big double digit bass constantly showing up on social media, I began thinking about fishing for bass from the perspective of a novice, a non-pro, in other woods, from me. I love to fish for bass. Something about the explosion on top of the water when a bass smacks a topwater plug gives me the jitters. Ditto for when I feel the tap-tap on the line when fishing a plastic worm and seeing the line begin moving to the side. Catching a glimpse of white
beneath the surface when a bass smacks my spinner bait is something else that gets me worked up.

I don’t fish bass tournaments; never have. I fish for bass simply because I love the sport. It all started for me when as a kid, my dad gave me one of his old hand-me-down reels, a Pfleuger Akron casting reel without any of the fancy stuff reels come equipped with today. My reel was spooled with black line strong enough to pull a mule out of a bog; this was before monofilament line came on the market. The reel was fastened to a Tru-Temper steel rod.

I carried the lures he gave me in a brown paper bag and they included some that would likely be collector’s items today. When is the last time you went to the tackle shop and saw a Shakespeare Dopey; a River Runt; Dalton Special or Hawaiian Wiggler on the shelf? Those were the lures with which I learned to fish for bass. You could spend a couple of bucks and be pretty well outfitted with fishing lures. However, they were treasured products you didn’t want to
chance hanging up and losing.

I remember one time I was fishing for bass in Molido creek behind the house, a creek that was home to not only bass but sharp-toothed chain pickerel….we called them “jack fish”. I made a cast with my much loved River Runt and the lure plunked down next to a fallen log, a perfect hidey hole for a bass. I began my retrieve when I got a solid hit. Raring back on my rod, I was set to fight what felt like a really nice bass when the fish I had hooked sprang from the water with my River Runt dangling from it’s toothy jaw. I panicked when I realized this was no bass but a jack fish which
promptly severed my line taking the only River Runt I had with him. I have felt resentment and dislike for jack fish ever since.

I remember the first squirrel I ever shot; the first deer I brought down; the first gobbler I called in and downed, the first duck I ever shot and I remember the first bass I ever caught. I was a little bitty shaver and was fishing the same little creek behind our house. Casting a Hawaiian Wiggler next to a stump, I promptly got a strike, set the hook and six inches of bass was catapulted out of the creek and over my head. I grabbed the squirming fish and hot-footed it
through the woods to the house to show my mama what I had caught.BASS CULLEN SMITH

Last weekend while headed back home for our high school reunion, I paused when crossing the bridge over Saline Bayou and looked toward the railroad bridge just on the other side. This was a spot when as kids, we could seine crawfish, head for the sandy banks with cane poles and toss a hook baited with a crawfish into the current. If things went as I hoped, the line would straighten, quiver and I’d be setting the hook in a bass that used that sandy stretch of water for spawning. We called them smallmouth bass when in reality they were spotted or Kentucky bass.

I never dreamed of becoming a bass fishing pro nor did I ever want to. Having the chance to see the swirl, feel the tug and know I’m connected to a bass has given me a lifetime of fishing pleasure.


CANEY LAKE – A good many barfish have been caught trolling spoons while some bass are being caught on topwater lures fairly shallow. Some are being caught on deep diving crank baits and over-sized plastic worms along the drop-off to the deeper holes. Some are chasing shad on top and hitting a variety of shad imitation topwater lures and crank baits. Crappie are around the deeper tops and hitting jigs and shiners fished 12 feet deep in 15-25 foot water. Some bream are still around the beds and hitting crickets and worms. No report on catfish. For information contact Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
OUACHITA RIVER – The river is falling and crappie fishing is picking up around tops in the river and in the river lakes on shiners or jigs. Bass have been best in the mouth of the cuts on crank baits and soft plastics. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE D’ARBONNE – Bass fishing has been best in the deeper holes on plastic worms and crank baits while plastic frogs are working best early mornings around shallow grass and pads. Crappie are still on the flats with best catches made on jigs or shiners fished 4 feet deep in 8-10 foot water. Bream fishing is still good around the beds on worms and crickets while channel cats are biting cold worms off the banks. For latest reports, call Anderson’s Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE CLAIBORNE – Stripers are schooling and hitting topwater lures when they’re on top and trolling white bucktails when they’re down. Bass have been best fishing topwater lures fairly shallow with Brush Hogs picking up some as well. 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. For latest information, call Kel’s Cove at 927-2264 or Terzia Tackle at 278-4498.
BUSSEY BRAKE – Bream fishing continues to be good on worms and crickets. Crappie are scattered. Some bass are being caught around the willows on crank baits and jigs. No report on catfish. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
BLACK BAYOU – Bream fishing has been good on worms and crickets. Bass have been fair around the edges of the grass and brush on Wobbleheads, jigs and spinners. Crappie are scattered and fair on shiners or jigs. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – Catfishing has been good, bass have been fair on plastic worms. Bream are fair while crappie are slow. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318/878-0101.
LAKE ST. JOHN – No report. For information, call Ken Mahoney at 318-201-3821.
LAKE YUCATAN – The water is falling and fishing is starting to improve with some crappie being caught this week. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.

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