Spotted Bass Wade Trip: October 14, 2020

Though I still haven’t gotten around to finishing my Smoky Mountains post, I thought I’d share a quick report from this morning while I had a moment.

Taking advantage of a day off and our second cold front of the fall, I rose early this morning and headed due to north to one of my favorite wade fishing spots. A spot I favor more for the sunfish than bass, I was in the mood for something a little different this trip and swapped my go to 3-wt Echo Base for a 4-wt Orvis Clearwater with enough backbone to throw slightly larger offerings. Rigged with a large Crease Fly on an 8 lbs tapered leader, it would be bass or bust this morning as even the most overzealous green sunfish would likely steer clear of my offering.

Arriving at my starting point shortly before 8 AM, I was greeted by blue skies and a frigid (by Louisiana standards) 54 F air temperature. I was also greeted by surprisingly dirty water, though I shouldn’t have been surprised given we’re only five days removed from our most recent tropical weather.

Not one to be deterred by brisk weather, I began prospecting the pool immediately beneath the bridge and was rewarded with my first spotted bass of the day.

First spotted bass of the day. They always seem to be lighter when caught in cloudy/dirty water.

Working my way upstream, it became apparent that the recent storm had laid down an entirely new gauntlet of quicksand along my path. And, on more than one occasion, I found myself knee deep in what had been solid ground during prior visits. Treading lightly and taking care to lace my boots tighter than normal, I made my way from hole to hole in search of additional bass.

Almost every hole deeper than two and a half feet produced a strike with the majority of fish landed being almost identical in size and stature to the first. However, past experience on this stream told me deeper holes hold larger fish, so I continued on in hopes the recent rains had cut some deeper troughs.

Eventually what appeared to be a small largemouth broke the monotony of Spotted bass as it exploded on my fly in true largemouth fashion. While not the first fish I’ve tentatively identified as a largemouth in this watershed, I still find myself surprised by their presence in such shallow, sandy stream.

Presumed Largemouth Bass – Mouth extends past eye, no markings on stomach, no “tooth patch” on tongue.

My first and only solid hit of the day came shortly after as a larger bass smashed my crease fly as I worked it over the drop off at the head of a large pool. While not a monster by any stretch of the imagination, the unexpected hit from a better fish raised my heart rate to the point where my smart watch felt it necessary to inform me I was suddenly getting a work out.

Catch of the day!

A brief battle and quick photo later, and my prize was back in the water. At only 13″ long, this fish may not seem like much, but it easily falls within my top 5 fish for this particular stretch of water.

Content with the crease fly’s production, I switched to streamers as I proceeded upstream. That proved to be a mistake as the following mile of water produced only a single missed hook set across half a dozen promising pools.

Turning back at little over the two mile mark, I snapped one last picture and headed for the car.

Believe it or not, there’s a bald eagle in this picture

Swapping out my streamer for a crease fly again, I managed another small bass or two along the way. However, with temps now roughly 30 degrees higher than they were when I started, I was content to concentrate on making it back to my truck and the comfort of the air conditioning.

By 12:30pm I had done just that and was ready to call it a day.

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