FISHING THE RED RIVER
The Red River lives up to Louisiana's
nickname of Sportsman's Paradise.
Oxbows and rock piles line the Red River just south of Shreveport, Louisiana.
This bass paradise has plenty of hydrilla, standing timber, and other
cover that will challenge any angler. From fishing crankbaits along
to the rocks to dragging a Carolina rig
through the fallen trees, the Red River's
cover is as plentiful, gnarly, and abundant as the bass that hide in
Red River Marina (318-747-2002) is the launch site of many local and
national bass tournaments. Cut from a farm, the site offers a launch,
food, and a place to rest. The river provides some great fishing. The
Red River flows south from Shreveport through
the state of Louisiana.
Rocks and locks provide shipping lanes for barge traffic. These structures
offer a great environment for bass anglers.
Cover on the river run the gambit from
standing timber, rocks, tree tops, and submerged grass. After the locks
were put in place, many local pockets of woodlands were flooded. Oxbows
are dotted with standing timbers and fallen trees. Rocks dumped by the
engineers line the many turns of the river. Hydrilla, lily pads, and
other vegetation fill the points and oxbows. If you have a favorite cover
to fish, the Red River probably has
guide and Bassmaster tournament winner, Homer Humphreys (318-371-2020),
applies his skills almost daily on the river.
Homer's knowledge of the area is second to none. From Carolina rigs to his Clown Spinnerbait, the
guide knows what to look for on the river.
the fish hold in deep cover",
starts Homer, who won the B.A.S.S. Red River Open. "Cloudy
days scatter the fish all over the place. The sun drives bass into
water and the heavy cover."
Homer uses a Carolina rig
to probe the deep cover when the sun beams bright. As the river and oxbows
age, the trees loose their tops. The fallen tops provide shelter to bass
and other fish escaping the bright sunshine. The rig covers the deeper
water with a quick efficiency.
Structure is as much a part of the
river as the cover. Learning the places where the two objects intersect,
like a rock pile with a sand bar, will make any trip to the Red a rewarding
one. Structures come in many forms on the Red. It may be an old pond
in the middle of an old farm which is now under eight feet of water.
This impression might be a great place to find bass. Points along the
river that are free of strong currents, old fence rows with plenty of
standing cover, or flats next to deep water formed by old creeks are
but a few of the places to search.
Morris, a Shreveport B.A.S.S. Central pro, searches grassy points with
a spinnerbait and probes fallen trees with Texas rigged worms. Many
oxbows have pads and grass that form points. These points of vegetation
extend out from the bank. When the water depth is between three to six
feet, bass move in and out of the cover to feed. Matt reels a spinnerbait
through the vicinity looking for hungry bass. He employs a Texas rig
Speed Worm or other plastic when probing bottom cover.
covers an area quickly",
adds Matt, a Bass Cat owner and team member. "An oxbow
has grassy points, lay down logs, and drop offs that hold fish. A Stanley quarter
ounce lure with a Colorado-Willow combo works in the grass, around
lay downs, and on the drop-offs to find active fish. I add a worm to
mix, slow down, and fish a place when I catch a few fish on the spinnerbait."
There are many baits and techniques
that produce fish on the Red River.
Here are few basic tips to make any trip complete. First, the Carolina rig
is the bread and butter setup when the sun is high and bright. Besides
covering water quickly, heavy lines and rods pull bigger fish from
the wood cover. Cloudy or bright, the spinnerbait adapts to the conditions.
On cloudy days, try a gold blade combination. A Homer's Clown
Spinnerbait is great for sunny or cloudy days. The large blade kicks
out plenty of
vibration. Texas rigged worms and
creature baits are great for the rocks along the river or snooping
around the logs in the many oxbows. Finally, crankbaits in the river
the rocks often produces quantity. Shad patterns with a few crawfish
baits thrown in the mix is a great way to spend the day. With an abundant
population of bass, just bring your favorite rod and rig to the river.
From late spring to early winter, the
fishing is normally great. Winter and early spring usually brings lots
of rain which causes some flooding. The oxbows remain a great place to
fish but use caution when navigating the river. Crappie and catfish are
two other species to target on the river. For an enjoyable fishing trip,
give the Red River a try.
About the author: Jeff Bruhl is a member of the Louisiana Outdoors Writer Association, pro angler, and a pharmacist. His website, www.marshbass.com, covers freshwater fishing across Louisiana and the gulf coast. Each Saturday morning between 5-7 am CST, a bass fishing report can be heard on the Outdoors with Don Dubuc Radio Show (www.dontheoutdoorsguy.com) on 870 AM from the New Orleans station. Jeff has made numerous television and radio appearances on shows like Paradise Louisiana, The Big Fish, and ABC26.com. From tips on youtube.com to weekly reports on his website, his articles and reports provide tips and tactics for bass anglers in the sportsman paradise. Jeff’s sponsors include Abu Garcia, Xpoint hooks, Bud Light, Louisiana Fish Fry Products, Power Pole, Stanley Jigs and Spinnerbaits, Skeeter, Dockside Marine, Rat-L-Trap, and Berkley. For more information about fishing in Louisiana, drop Jeff an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.