Keep it simple when it comes to lures

Published 12:06 am Sunday, May 22, 2011

Since the river has stopped rising maybe things will get back to normal.

It looks like it will be a long time before we get to fish for white perch, bass and bream on the old rivers, though.

That won’t stop the backwater fishermen.

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Once the water starts falling fast we’ll have current coming over the gravel roads leading to boat ramps and hunting camps on the unprotected side of the levee.

I recall the floods of 1973 and 1978 when we caught loads of big bass from these gravel roads and flooded barrow pits.

Bass fishing was pretty simple back then. I would have one white and chartreuse Mr. Hooty spinner bait in my pocket and one tied to my line, and that’s all. If the fish wouldn’t come up to eat the spinner all I did was slow the retrieve down and let the lure drag along the bottom.

Fishing is still simple.

Manufacturers made fishing more difficult by flooding the market with thousands of lure types, not to mention hundreds of colors.

It can be very confusing to someone that’s just starting to fish for largemouth bass. It doesn’t have to be.

Many get caught up in the color craze.

An old saying comes to mind, “to learn the owl is to study the mouse.”

In other words, all you have to do is figure out what the fish are eating and go with something that looks like such.

Now I will make that more difficult by saying when the bass are feeding on huge schools of shad and you’re casting a shad colored lure, your chances of a fish picking out your lure in the middle of thousands of shad are slim. In that situation I go with really bright colors like chartreuse, orange and black crank baits or a color called Fire Tiger which is a combination of green, chartreuse and orange.

Active fish are dumb fish.

When the fish are not active it is best to match the hatch and cast what mimics the forage the best.

Crawfish should be abundant this year because of the flood. Brown, green, orange and blue colored lures will work.

The blue comes into play when crawfish molt. A molting crawfish or soft shell crawfish has a hint of gray/blue. Bass prefer soft crawfish over hard shell crawfish any day.

Now getting back to fishing the backwaters — we’re around 60 feet on the Natchez gauge, so that puts the water level too far up on the levee for the gravel roads to be productive.

It may be late June or even early July before we see a level below the actual flood stage of 48 feet.

The backwater fishing is at its best from around 45 feet down to about 38 feet. For now we have the landlocked lakes to fish and some, oddly enough, are below normal pool stage.

Lake Concordia rose a few inches due to seepage but it’s still too low to fish back in the swamp in the upper end of the lake or the shallow cypress that line the lake.

You can still catch a few bass on surface lures on Concordia, and you may catch a six or seven pound fish if you’re lucky.

Lake St. John is a good surface lure lake as well.

Buzz baits, Zara Spooks or any one of the many poppers, chuggers and walking lures will catch fish from Lake St. John and Lake Bruin.

Next weekend, Saturday May 28, we will be on Black River Lake fishing a church youth group benefit bass tournament. Come join us this coming Saturday and make a cast for a great cause on Black River Lake out of Joe’s Horseshoe Marina.

Eddie Roberts writes a weekly fishing column for The Democrat. He can be reached at