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Lake life

Ladies can catch bass, too

Competitive bass fishing is a way of life for a lot of guys in America and we’re really into it in Louisiana. Have been for decades. Well, move over guys. You aren’t alone. Have you ever heard of the Lady Bass Anglers Association? It’s a group located in North Richland Hills, Texas, and they recently made a trip over to Caddo Lake north of Shreveport for their annual end of the year LBAA Classic. Anglers in the group are from all over the South.

These ladies don’t just fish. They catch fish. Alisa Johnson of Chandler, Texas, won the event with 15 fish weighing 42.39 pounds. Lisa Johnson of Centre, Alabama, came in second with 4.61. Several ladies from Louisiana also finished in the top 20, including Noella McLauren of Vivian, Julie DarBonne of Many, Peny McCarty of Gilliam, and Jennifer Steely of Sulphur.

There is also a co-angler division which was won by DeAnna Lovvorn of Bradyville, Tennessee with 21.04 pounds. Louisiana angler Debbie Oswald of Sibley was second and other Bayou State anglers in the top 20 co-anglers include Rachel Jones of Shreveport, Daisy Bromley of Leesville and Rhonda Ashby of Mooringsport.

There’s more news, too. The group will be coming back to Louisiana for its Classic next year to the Cane River in Natchitoches.

The mission of the LBAA is to provide women with an opportunity to fish professionally, to grow the sport of bass fishing and to build a program that will allow future generations of young ladies with more opportunities to compete in the sport of bass fishing. You can find out more about the LBAA by emailing info@ladybassanglers.com or checking out their website, https://www.ladybassanglers.com/

In case you’d like to make a bass fishing trip to Caddo in the next few weeks, the ladies we talked to were more than happy to share how they caught their fish. Caddo Lake is a 25,400 northwest Louisiana lake, bayou and wetland all covering a massive flooded cypress forest. With football and hunting in full swing, fishing pressure has been done. But fishing is producing some good catches of quality, healthy bass.

“I’m pretty much a shallow water angler and I love to use a wacky worm,” said Johnson. “With Caddo being already shallow and a little lower than normal, it was perfect for me. I caught fish on a Gary Yamamoto Senko rigged with a Wacky hook. I did a little something different that I think helped. There is hydrilla up all around the trees and I fished a hook with a weight already on it. I think that helped get the bait down there where they couldn’t resist it. Black and blue, green flake, watermelon — it didn’t seem to matter about the color as much as where you threw it.”

Both she and Lovvorn both caught their fish in smaller clusters of trees either in a little deeper water or right next to deeper water. The big thick cypress stands are not producing good fishing.

“Finding those areas that had two or three trees out away from the others was one of the keys,” DeAnna said. The best fish also seemed to be in trees located in 4-5 feet of instead of the more common 2-3 feet of water.
It doesn’t sound like it makes a lot of difference, but right now it does,” she said. “It has been so hot that a little cooler weather pushed those fish up in closer to the trees.

“I love fishing a shaky head, but they weren’t really on it. I saw several folks catching them on Senko lures so I just took one out and rigged it on my shaky head. I’d never done that before, but on about my second cast I caught one. I fished it and a swim bait to catch all my fish.”

Lovvorn’s exact rig was a 3/16 oz shaky head jig with a five-inch Yum Dinger in Junebug color. She said the reason it worked so well on Caddo was the bait just shoots straight down the tree and into the cypress roots, which triggers a reaction bite. With cooler weather this month, the fish will become a little more aggressive and other works like jigs and Texas rigged worms in black or dark colors will work. Other fish were caught on frogs and plastics worked over the grassbeds.

Johnson has a word of caution for fishing Caddo right now. On the first day of practice, she was running up a channel but got a little bit away from the channel marker and felt her boat slide over a stump. She had just replaced the lower unit on her boat and began running close to the channel markers. Too close, in fact.

“I hit one of the markers with my boat and cracked the upper fiberglas. It shook me up pretty bad and I almost loaded up and went home. But my family convinced me to shake it off and go fishing, so I did,” she said. “And winning the tournament in my rookie year was fantastic.

Although Caddo doesn’t have an entry in the top ten record largemouth bass in Louisiana, the lake does have some lunkers in it. A 16.17 pound giant was caught not once, but twice almost a year apart on the lake, but it was caught on the Texas side of the lake. When it was first caught, it was tagged and then caught about a year later, weighing just a few ounces less.

There are public boat ramps at the Earl G Williamson Park in Oil City and at the foot of the bridge off Hwy. 1 at the “By the Lake” landing. There is also a commercial landing and store at the Drift Inn Landing.

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