Major League fishing is an event that differs from some of the other types of competitive bass fishing and north Louisiana was in the spotlight as three of our lakes were home field for 80 of the nation’s best professional bass anglers.
Here’s how it worked; the anglers were divided into two groups for the first round of competition which took place on D’Arbonne. Half of the group fished two days, Saturday and Sunday and the remainder fished Monday and Tuesday with the top 30 earning the right to compete head to head on Caney Lake Wednesday for the Knock Out round. The top 10 fishermen who survived the Caney experience headed for Bussey Brake near Bastrop for the final round to see who would endure to the end and take home a check for $100,000.
Alabama angler, Randy Howell, survived the D’Arbonne fish fest and joined the top 30 anglers to give Caney Lake a try. Howell had never fished either lake and had to make use of maps to locate features that he calculated would have the best chance to hold big bass.
While Howell was trying to figure out Caney Lake’s bass, a pair of Ruston fans were hanging in the background watching the pro fish, and although there were 30 anglers scattered around the lake, the focus of Mike and Clay Brister were on Howell.
“I have kept up with Randy because he is a special fellow,” said Mike Brister. “He is not only a great bass angler but he’s a good Christian. He and his wife are affiliated with King’s Home, an organization that works with abused women.”
Brister was keeping up with the score tracker that pings every time one of the pro anglers caught a bass and as it started to light up while nothing was showing up in Howell’s corner, the duo started considering moving around the lake to where more action was going on.
“We thought about moving on but I was telling Clay we should just wait a few minutes more and a minute after saying that,” said Brister, “I saw Howell rare back as he was loaded up on a good fish.”
As they watched Howell fight the big bass, it was obvious he was into a really big one and excitement grew as they watched him bring the big Caney fish into the boat.
“We were anxiously watching and listening when he put the bass on the scale and Randy hollered out ’10-11!’ Clay and I did some hollering ourselves,” said Mike.
The bass was the biggest Howell had ever caught and proved to be the heaviest ever taken in the Major League Fishing event. Howell, however, was just getting started. Having now qualified for the final championship round where he would be included in the top ten anglers, Howell headed for Bussey Break Thursday for the finals.
Writer Lynn Burkhead wrote a description of what happened. “Like he had done barely 24 hours earlier, there was a magical thump at the end of the line and a fight to remember, this time with fans watching on-line,” wrote Burkhead. “Howell wrestled the giant double-digit lunker to the boat and then a couple of heart-stopping moments as he tried to land the fish. Eventually he was able to lip the huge bass, hoist it into the boat and wildly celebrate as the boat official let the scales do some talking to the tune of 12 pounds, 14 ounces.
Howell caught only one other fish that day, one under 4 pounds to go with his giant but his two fish netted him a sixth place finish and a nice check for his efforts.
“To say this was a memorable day would be an understatement,” Howell said. “I can’t believe I caught my two biggest bass ever and did it two days in a row.”
Burkhead summed it up like this….”Howell certainly has his own reasons to be thankful to the tune of two back-to-back bass weighing more than 23 pounds combined. That’s a dreamy week of bass fishing, no matter who you are.”
BLACK BAYOU – Fishing is slow. No report this week. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.
OUACHITA RIVER – Crappie fishing is best fishing the deep tops, 15 feet deep in 18-25 foot water on shiners or jigs. Bass are fair in the run-outs from river lakes to river with spinners, crank baits and soft plastics working best. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE D’ARBONNE – The big bass tournament last week has put lots of anglers on the lake trying for bass. Some good reports are coming from the bayou where some bass were moving toward the banks and hitting Rat-L-Traps. Flipping jigs or creature baits around the trees and bushes are taking some fish as well. Crappie fishing has been best fishing channel edges 20 feet deep in 25-30 foot water on jigs or shiners. Bream fishing is slow while catfish are still biting cold worms fished off the banks.. For latest reports, call Anderson’s Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE CLAIBORNE – Crappie fishing continues to be best fishing shiners in deep water out from the dam. Some are also being caught at night around the lighted piers. Some bass are starting to move up and have been caught off the banks on spinner baits. No report on bream, catfish or stripers.. For latest information, call Misty at Kel’s Cove at 331-2730 or Terzia Tackle at 278-4498.
CANEY LAKE – Bass fishing has gotten the attention of bass anglers after last week’s Major League Fishing event on the lake. A few good bass have been caught off the deep points on soft plastics or deep diving crank baits with one over 8 pounds reported. Crappie fishing has been fair to good with best fishing down by the dam in deep water with shiners producing best. No report on bream or catfish. For information contact Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – Catfishing has been good on cold worms with mostly frying sized fish caught. Crappie are off and on with some caught on shiners or jigs around the boat slips. Bass are fair. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318/878-0101.
LAKE ST. JOHN – The water is low; launching boats is a near impossibility. Some hybrid stripers are being caught off the piers. For information, call Ken Mahoney at 318-201-3821.
LAKE YUCATAN – The water is on a slow rise with water levels beginning to fall by this weekend. Not many anglers have been out this week. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.