Spring is about to crack open its delights down in south Louisiana. That means the oak trees are starting to create those little “popcorn” hulls that fall in my pool. The small song birds are busy collecting twigs to build nests. The crane flies have begun their mating ritual, the Canada geese are chasing each other, and the blackberry bushes are beginning to bloom. So, what does that have to do with fishing, you might ask? Lots. The bass are fattening up and are getting ready to sit on their beds. The crappie and the bream won’t be far behind them.
We have had some unusually warm weather (in the 80’s) the past couple of days and I was wondering if the water had warmed up a bit in our neighborhood lake. I checked and it was still in the upper 50’s yesterday. This afternoon, it was 61, so I decided to make a quick hour-and-a-half trip after work. I began by trying my go-to spots for crappie (we call them sacalait). I didn’t get a bump. I then decided to try hitting the banks for some bass with my old, and I mean old (beat up) LSU deer hair diver. I saw a swirl about a foot off the bank and one nice cast later, I was fighting a 3 pound bass.
About 5 minutes later, I hooked into another bass about the same size, only to watch it disappear under my kayak after a brief struggle. By this time, I had company. A couple of fishermen (friends of mine from the neighborhood) were trolling around in a small bateau. We struck up a brief conversation and I found myself hooked into another chunky bass.
After seeing me land and release that fish, my friends trolled over to another end of the lake/pond to try their luck. A short while later, I saw a slight commotion in the water near the bank ahead of me and I let out a lot of line to try a very long cast. I was rewarded when I saw a huge swirl and the back of another bass came out the water to inhale my popper. Another one that went over 3 lbs.
It seemed too easy for a while. I paddled a little further and I saw another swirl near the bank. This time the fish bolted toward my kayak and I couldn’t get a really good hook set in it. I watched it disappear beneath my kayak too. Now, I was really satisfied by this time and I didn’t care if I caught another fish or not. That was when the biggest one of the afternoon sucked down my popper.
I caught three more dinks that were around 11 inches long and I was totally content to begin heading back in to cook supper. The fish had other ideas and I was able to land two more on the beat-up popper.
They all looked like carbon copies of each other. What a fun afternoon. I know it doesn’t always happen this way, but it’s way cool when you hear that you caught 7 (four over 3 pounds) and the guys in the other boat only caught 2 on conventional tackle. I’m hoping the sacalait begin moving over cover to spawn in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, it’s good to know the bass are “popping” around here.
Tight loops and tight lines!