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Lake life

BASS = SHOW

When the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (BASS) comes to town, you can always expect a show. That won’t change this weekend in Shreveport on the Red River as the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open is held today through Saturday.

The winning pro angler will take home the champion’s trophy, $10,000 and a Triton boat and Mercury motor combo. The winning co-angler earns a Skeeter/Yamaha rig.  If you are interested in seeing some of the “show”, here’s the lowdown: Pro anglers and co-anglers will launch each day at 6:30 a.m. from Red River South Marina, Hwy. 71 S., 250 Red River South Marina Rd., Bossier City, LA 71112.  Weigh-ins today and Friday will be held at the Red River South Marina. The final weigh-in on Saturday will be held at Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. If you plan on being there, get there EARLY!  There will be a crowd.

One angler who you can figure will be in the mix is Louisiana’s own Cliff Crochet of Pierre Part (yes, that’s the same town that Troy Landry of Swamp People fame is from). Crochet is no stranger to the Red River.
Crochet said he won’t have much time to practice, but that might not hurt.

Cliff Crochet

Cliff Crochet

“I’ll be shooting from the hip, but I enjoy that,” said Crochet, explaining why that may work to his benefit. “A lot of times in a tournament, you keep thinking, ‘This is what happened in practice,’ and you base your decisions in the tournament on that. You’re playing on what happened two or three days ago instead of what’s really going on. Sometimes that burns you. If you don’t have that practice, you just react to what you see, and that’s the best way to fish.”

Crochet has just completed fishing in another tournament on Bull Shoals Lake in Arkansas, which kept him from much practice.  He didn’t fare well there — finishing 76th — but he’s looking forward to returning to his home state of Louisiana to fish the Open. He predicts the average daily limit of five fish will weigh 9 to 11 pounds, while some anglers will bring in 14- to 18-pound bags from the Red River.

“It always puts a smile on my face when I get to fish a B.A.S.S. tournament in Louisiana,” Crochet said. “It’ll be a good tournament. “The biggest deal I’m looking at is water temperature. The water temperature should be 60 or above, so that will mean most any pattern and technique will play. It should be a spawn/postspawn situation.”

Crochet believes warmer water opens up more options for anglers. Everybody goes into the backwaters, but if you can find those fish coming out into the main river, you’ve got a good chance of not having as many [boats] around you. The Louisiana pro also hopes the storms earlier this week in Arkansas won’t lead to high water on the Red.

Crochet, whose home fishery is the Atchafalaya Basin of southern Louisiana, says he manages to fish the Red at least 10 times a year, and he prefers spring conditions over those of the fall.

“I like fishing those backwaters in the springtime when the fish set up where they should be,” Crochet said. “If the water’s up, the key is going to be to find the cleaner water. If you find the clean water, you find the fish.”

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