Although the sun had not yet appeared over the horizon, the air was already warm
and sticky, typical of the onset of another hot July day in Louisiana just like what we
woke up to this morning. This would have been a good day to work on articles in my airconditioned office but fishing guide and friend Eddie Halbrook’s call the night before had a sense of urgency about it.
“I don’t care what you have planned for tomorrow,” Halbrook said, “put it off.
The bass are schooling on Grand Bayou and you need to come with me.”
The “Grand Bayou” Halbrook mentioned is Grand Bayou Reservoir, a small 2500
acre impoundment located 50 miles south of Shreveport. I don’t mind admitting a degree of skepticism when Halbrook mentioned that for the past week, he’d been catching at least a hundred bass a day. Skeptical or not, I found myself in the back of Halbrook’s boat as the bright, and soon to be hot, sun made its appearance in a cloudless July sky.
Somewhere around 7 am, Halbrook caught the first bass of the day. At a little past
noon, I released bass number 100. We had, indeed, hit the century mark with bass in a half day of fishing that can only be described as “hot”…in more ways than one.
Grand Bayou Reservoir is like so many lakes around the country. The lake has a
thriving population of baitfish, in this case, threadfin shad, that seek the highest levels of oxygen. In warm months, oxygen is more plentiful in the top of the water column. Wave action near the surface continues to replenish dissolved oxygen and huge schools of baitfish move about in comfort just beneath the surface.
For predator fish like largemouth bass, these roaming pods of baitfish are seen as
a gourmet feast there for the taking. Slashing into baitfish schools, bass gorge themselves and in the process, make their presence known to alert bass fishermen from hundreds of yards away. Their feeding activity agitates the surface, often sending plumes of water flying in all directions.
Fishing for schooling bass can be at the same time exciting and frustrating. Here’s
a typical scenario…a couple of anglers see a school of feeding bass erupt from 100 yards away. Starting the engine, they rush to within casting distance of the school only to see the surface become quiet again before the first cast is made. Looking back to where they just came from, they’re frustrated to see the fish thrashing the surface back there.
Thus, patience is one of the key ingredients in fishing for schooling bass. When
the fish are active, the best bet is to avoid the temptation of dashing from school to
school. Just be patient; they’ll soon be thrashing the water’s surface where you are.
If you take a youngster along, there is no better way to spark an interest in bass
fishing that could last a lifetime than to introduce him/her/them to fishing for school bass.
For starters, school bass are generally easy to catch, the fishing experience is
filled with spine-tingling excitement, and the neophyte angler is almost always anxious to do it all over again another day. Equipment needs are simple and can be easily handled by a less-experienced angler.
As bass slash into baitfish on the surface, some of the bait will be injured or killed
in the process and will likely be floating in the area. Scoop up a couple and determine
their color but more importantly, the size. If they’re silver in color, as most baitfish are,
and are two inches long, it’s not brain surgery to know what to do next. Simply dig in your tackle box and select a silvery lure, two inches in length. If you’re hungry for an ice cream cone, you’re not likely to head for the refrigerator and go slap-happy over a celery stick. Bass are no different; they want what they want when they want it.
If you get excited at the sight of bass exploding on the surface all around you; if you thrill to strike after strike; if you get pleasure at the look on the face of your youngster fighting a tenacious bass, then school bass fishing may be right up your alley.
CANEY LAKE – Bass fishing has been best at night with Carolina rigs, big 10 inch
plastic worms and deep diving crank baits picking up some nice sized fish. Crappie are
fair around the deep brush on shiners or jigs. The bream bite is slowing as the spawn is
about over and they’ve moving from the shallow spawning areas. For information contact Caney Lake Landing at 259-6649, Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
BLACK BAYOU –Crappie and bass have both been biting around the grass and brush..
Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.
BUSSEY BRAKE –Bass fishing continues to be good with a 9 pounder caught this week. Spinners with trailers and flipping jigs around the brush have both been working. The crappie are scattered around the brush. Bream have slowed. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole at 323-8707.
OUACHITA RIVER – The river is on a slight rise. Bass are best fishing in the cuts where
there is a bit of current. Topwater lures, crank baits and spinners best. Crappie are best
fishing shiners or jigs in the river lakes as well as around sunken tops in the river. Bream are fair. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE D’ARBONNE – Crappie fishing has been best fishing the flats fishing 6 feet deep
in 8-12 foot water. Bass fishing has been good early mornings fishing topwater lures
around the grass. Later in the day, look for them on the points with square bills and swim baits picking up some good fish.. Bream are on starting to slow down off the beds on hitting worms and crickets. Catfish continue to be caught fishing cold worms and night crawlers off the banks. For latest information, call Anderson Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE CLAIBORNE – The Majestic Big Bass Classic is set for this weekend with
fishing beginning Friday night and concluding Saturday morning with pay-outs every two hours. Bass fishing has been best fishing around the docks and grass lines with swim baits and soft plastics or spinners. Night fishing has been best for crappie fishing shiners under the lights around the piers and boat houses. Some stripers are beginning to show up in the coves and hitting shad imitation lures. Bream are fair. Some nice catfish have been caught on noodles baited with live bream. For latest information, call Kel’s Cove at 927-2264 or Terzia Tackle at 278-4498.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – Catfish and bream are biting. Bass and crappie have slowed.
For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318/878-0101. For information, call
Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.
LAKE YUCATAN – The water is on a rise with lots of catfish being caught. Bass and
crappie have slowed. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.