Dig Baton Rouge

Bayou Bass

By Darrell Henson Jr.

The Atchafalaya Basin is one of Louisiana’s most notorious bodies of water, filled with winding bayous and shallow backwaters. The “spillway,” as most locals know it, is a key contributor to Louisiana’s status as Sportsman’s Paradise.

In recent months, the water has been elevated in the Basin due to the high Mississippi River, but the river is expected to drop in the next few weeks, which could lead to amazing fishing action in every section of the spillway.

The falling water pulls the bass out of the flooded backwaters they stage in when the water is elevated and concentrates them into small sloughs known as “run-outs” or “drains.” Pulling up to the right drain at the right time can lead to tremendous numbers being caught because the bass haven’t seen artificial lures for the most part of the year.

Finding the right drain to fish is not hard at all. Spending time running around or studying a map before you make the trip can lead to huge dividends and pay off at the end of the day. Targeting these fish with crawfish imitating lures can be deadly since the Basin is filled with crawfish, and the bass regularly feed on crawfish, making it the perfect thing to imitate to make a basin bass strike your lure.

A setup I would use fishing a run out would be a 7’6” Medium Heavy Action Kajun Limb Rod paired with 15-20 pound fluorocarbon line with a 3/8-ounce tungsten weight with a Cajun Lures PooDoo Craw or a Missile Baits D-Bomb.

The D-bomb has been credited to catching Corey Wheat’s amazing eight-pound behemoth bass from the Atchafalaya Basin last year and is a flat out deadly bait to flip and pitch around the cypress trees found in the Basin.

Henson (right) and his LSU Fishing teammates show off the day's catch. Photo courtesy Darrell Henson.
Henson (right) and his LSU Fishing teammates show off the day’s catch. Photo courtesy Darrell Henson.

A Spro hollow-bellied top water frog could also be a great lure to throw into these drains around the matted hydrilla and hyacinth mats, and it can lead to awesome action in the right drain at the right time.

Since it is top water bait, the bass have to leap out of the water in a sense to grab ahold of it and get hooked up. From personal experience it is one of the most exciting ways to fish.

The Basin is about 30 minutes to an hour from Baton Rouge depending on which part of it you plan on fishing. Bayou Sorrel is the closest place to trailer your boat from the capital city.

Other notable launches include Bayou Pigeon, Belle River Public, and Diorions landing in Stephensville. All of these launches are fairly decent and can put you right on top of some of the best fishing in Louisiana. The Atchafalaya Basin will be on fire the next few weeks so get down to the basin and put some time in. You won’t be disappointed at all!

Darrell was born and raised in the Bayou State, and fishing is in his blood. Darrell started fishing at an earlier age and now competes on the LSU Collegiate Fishing Team. Currently LSU is ranked 41st in the country out of 300 plus schools and is climbing the ranks to becoming the best club in college fishing. For more information on Darrell and his fishing adventures, visit DarrellHensonFishing.com

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