If you ask 19 year-old Branden Graf about what kind of fishing he enjoys most, he won’t hide the fact that bass fishing on the Tchefuncte isn’t at the top of the list. “I catch more bass and bigger bass in Lake Catherine while saltwater fishing actually,” Branden says. In fact, the Abita Springs angler says he’s primarily a saltwater fisherman. “I do more saltwater fishing than anything – Rigolets, Shell Beach, Delacroix. Really all my bass fishing history consists of is fishing in neighborhood ponds around my house,” Graf says. So when the self-proclaimed saltwater fisherman made a trip to the Tchefuncte River on a cool spring morning in late May, the last thing on his mind was catching a fish of a lifetime. Branden and his friend Jude Aucion, launched at the Highway 21 launch at the foot of the Madisonville Bridge and were scheduled to go cat-fishing. “We were actually planning to throw some limb lines and jug lines and do a little bass fishing in between but we forgot the jug lines so we just decided to stick with bass fishing the whole time,” he says. The friends trolled the east side of the river and worked their way north. Branden was using a shad colored Swamp-Crawler on a drop-shot rig which he hadn’t gotten any bites on so he switched over to a purple Senko with a 1/8 oz. bullet weight. “I just finished telling my buddy that this lure is what I caught my biggest bass on awhile back,” the unsuspecting teen says. Branden made a few casts and then eyed up his next cast a rock section of shoreline at the entrance of Salty’s Marina. “I casted right up by the rocks and let it fall about 2’-3’. I thought I was stuck on a rock and I complained that I was stuck on this thing already. Then the fish started moving up and it started splashing on top. I reeled it in and Jude netted it,” he says. Netting the fish turned out to be a good decision in fact as the hook came out of its mouth when it was brought into the boat Branden says. The surprised teen weighed the fish at 9.9 lbs. and says he thought about keeping it but decided to let it go. “We held it in the boat for about 5 minutes and I contemplated keeping it but I told myself ‘I don’t want to kill this fish and end up never getting around to mounting it.” The fish was Branden’s biggest bass he had ever caught and the Tchefuncte bass fishing rookie says he might quit while he’s ahead. “I never catch big bass in the Tchefuncte. My biggest bass in that river was probably only 1 lb. I may just keep running the jug lines from here on out,” he jokes.
The recent rains may have muddied up the Lake but the pond fishing on the Northshore is producing perch and bass. Beau (7), Charlie (6), and Luke Brian (3) tried their luck at a local pond in Covington and the bluegill bite was non-stop. “The perch needed bread to catch them,” says Beau. The three brothers caught over 20 perch on a simple hook with bread. During the commotion of the bluegill feeding on the surface, Charlie spotted a bass circling near the bottom. “That green fish wouldn’t eat the bread. The only fish that ate the bread was the small fish,” Charlie frustratingly exclaimed. Largemouth bass have been known to only eat live bait so the boys added bread to a minnow trap that was brought along on the trip. After letting the trap sit in the shallows for 5 minutes, Beau pulled the trap up. It was filled with small perch inside. They baited their hooks with the small perch and the bass reacted. “The big green fish got the hook before the turtle did and I reeled him in, say’s Charlie. The brothers ended the day with a mess of perch and one “big green fish.”
Pearl River Team Trails is holding its next tournament at the East Pearl on June 10. For more information please contact Charles at (985) 960-6936
Florida Parishes Bass Anglers is holding its next tournament at Crawford’s Landing on the West Pearl River on Saturday June 10. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dockside Marine Tournament Trail is holding its next tournament at the East Pearl River on July 1. For more information please contact Jay Ladner at (228) 493-4378.
(Keith Lusher Jr. writes a weekly column. For more info, visit NorthshoreFishingReport.com.Contact Keith at email@example.com.)