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December 2017 Fishing Report

12/1/2017 11:41:25 AM

The last two months have been very unusual because the temperature for the most part rand well above average. This kept the surface temperature up and consequently the shad stayed in the backs of creeks and coves where the deep water fish could not reach them. My clients did have a number of trips where when we had a stiff north wind the sandies, hybrids and black bass chased them into the shallows. My guess is that the fish feel less threatened or possibly the light is distorted. At any rate I prayed for a cold north wind and that is when we caught our most and bigger fish. Finally this month has brought more seasonable temperatures and with that temperature slide a drop in surface temp. This has caused the shad to head to deeper water off the points and in the middle of the coves because they instinctively fear being caught shallow when a true cold front hits and lowers the surface temperature to the point that they die before they can race towards the protection of deeper water. This lowering of surface temp has created the perfect storm for the sandbass, hybrids, bass and catfish. My clients are catching a lot of huge sandies and ten to twenty hybrids in the five to ten pound range as well as a number of four to six pound black bass. Throw in the occasional ten pound catfish and it makes for a fun day. How long will this hold? I can not forecast the weather but as long as the surface temperature hovers around fifty-six the bite will continue. With that in mind, here are my predictions for this month.

As stated above the hybrids and big sandbass have been on a seek and destroy mission against the shad. Long points and coves with water in the fourteen to twenty-four feet range is where I suggest you do most of your fishing. Gulls siting on the water are a good indication of fish nearby so work any area where they sit very thoroughly. Green and blue slabs in the one ounce size have worked well but on a given day any color might work. I tie a crappie jig about two feet above the slab and bounce it very slowly on the bottom. If the fish are active my clients have been successful using four inch, chartreuse, medal-flaked Sassy Shad with half ounce heads. Pitch the lure as far as you can cast and then retrieve it very slowly. At times in the very cold mornings it is a good idea to drop the Sassy to the bottom, reel in a foot of line and place it in a rod holder or under your foot as you use the slab. Many times the hybrids will hit the plastic much as they would a live bait. On that note I do not use live bait, or bait of any kind for that matter, but my guess is that a lively shad dropped into the school will result in a bent rod.

Black bass are still in the shallows and are pouncing on lipless crankbaits and the shallow diving plugs. On a given day any color may work so for that reason I tend to not suggest a pattern but if I did suggest a color it would be blue back silver. There will continue to be bass caught in the shallows and semi-deep water on spinner baits and shaky head jigs. My recommendations are for the causal angler for the most part. The pros do not need my advice since they are on the water almost every day. As the month moves on toward Christmas the bass will become more sluggish and move to deeper water. The big five to six inch silver spoons are a good bet on high sun days. I would try the end of points that drop into twenty to thirty feet of water and jig them slowly around any brush you see on the electronics. There are some good spots located about a hundred yards south of I-30 on the old inundated roadbed that will fit this technique very nicely. Look for the old culverts or bridges along this roadbed.

Crappie are of course once again stacking up under the bridges. Trouble is that even though the paper mouths are there one may not be able to fish them because of the wind. On those few calm days small jigs or minnows dropped near the bridge columns will get one a nice box of fish. I would just love to see some inquisitive should venture out into the open water along the old levee systems. We routinely catch fifteen to eighteen crappie on these spots when fishing for hybrids and sandies. One day before I use up my allotment of time I just might be that individual but for now the crappie are safe, unless they cross my path when I am after the other species.

Catfish are moving into the shallow water and can be caught in depths of two to ten feet. A good way for the novice to load up on these tasty fillets is to anchor the boat in shallow water and throw out a number of lines baited with any of the many prepared catfish baits. Punch bait is the perennial favorite but the smell is too much for me. I prefer fresh cut shad or even better-Ivory soap. Do not laugh until you try it. Soften the soap in a bucket with a bit of water and mold it around the hook. Place a very small weight about a foot above the soap and cast it toward the rocks or on a sandbar. I like to sweeten the area by tossing out a handful of whole kernel corn or some cheap dog food. As the dog foot soaks up the water it drifts to the bottom and calls in the cats. If you can find the trees on which the cormorants roost one has an automatic catfish attractant. Toss a bit of cut shad or some of the fore mentioned soap on a weightless hook and cast toward the base of the tree. Allow the bait to sink on a slack line but be ever watchful for the faintest twitch for that signals a bite. Many times even the biggest catfish will hit the bait so softly that one might think it is only the wind playing tricks but careful attention will prove that those twitches are light strikes form your about to be supper. On windy days I suggest the angler try drift fishing above the 66 road. Look at a map and try to position the boat so as to drift across the old 66 inundated roadbed using A Santee Rig.

Folks it has been my pleasure to write these projections for you and I hope that someone has found wisdom in my banter. If I can just help make one angler a better catcher of fish, then I am happy. But if the number swells to more then I am elated! I wish everyone who reads this a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New year. Without getting on a soap box please try to remember the true meaning of Christmas and maybe one could help a less fortunate soul. It might not make you a better angler but I promise it will make the Big Fisherman happy!

The Cajun Guide/Johnny Procell

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