On Fishing: It’s starting to get busy on waters

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 2004

Memorial Day casts off the unofficial beginning of summer on our area lakes and rivers.

Expect long lines at the launch ramp on weekends from now through August. Pleasure boat traffic will increase.

Visiting anglers and local fishermen and women will be out in force searching for bass, bream, crappie and stripers.

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The hybrid striped bass are really turning on. Lake Concordia is producing dozens of hard-pulling hybrids weighing up to 4 pounds.

Try the big blue hole area with khaki-colored Bandits, spoons, tail spinners and Rat-L-Traps. A good depth finder will put you on the fish if you understand what the unit is trying to tell you.

If you see shad on your sonar holding in tight balls, the stripers are usually nearby. Shad bunch up because there is safety in numbers.

The hundreds of dipping, darting and diving shad will confuse the fish. It’s harder for them to single one out of a huge school.

When you see a lot of shad, spread out at certain depth. If they are not concentrated, the game fish are probably not feeding.

Back in late 1970s, I fished with a veteran Toledo Bend guide who knew the 182,000-area reservoir better than anyone at that time.

We spent hours trolling around the old flooded Sabine River channel that runs through the middle of Toledo Bend watching a Lowrance paper chart recorder.

Back then, there were no Liquid Crystal Recorders. A stylist attached to a turning belt would burn the signals from the transducer on graph paper.

He would not make a cast until we saw shad balled up tight on the graph. Our secret and shortcut to locating fish on 182,000 acres of water with more than 1,200 miles of shoreline was to thoroughly graph the area where the blue herons hung out.

The herons hold in areas where baitfish congregate. The bass, crappie and stripers would be nearby. It’s a great way to locate fish on unfamiliar and familiar waters.

Let’s get back to the fishing.

Lake St. John is pumping out some huge hybrid stripers weighing up to 11 pounds. Just launch out of Neely’s Spokane Landing and fish the mid-lake, outside bend of lake St. John with crankbaits, tail spinners and Rat-L-Traps for the big hybrid stripers.

Watch for blue herons feeding in the open areas between the piers and you’ll find the shad. Find the shad, and you’ll catch the hybrid stripers.

Eddie Roberts writes a weekly fishing column for The Natchez Democrat. Reach him at