On the cell phone last week, I discussed the merits of fishing for sac-a-lait (crappie) in Henderson with my cousin, Glynn Lavergne of Savoy.
“Glynn, there’s just a load of boats out there, and I hear anglers are catching limits of fish just across from McGee’s Landing,” I explained.
In agreement, we planned our trip for Monday, and Ronnie Vidrine and Glynn’s brother, Ronald, would join us on the trip.
Ronnie had fished there during the previous week, and he assured Glynn that he had taken many crappie – and some good ones.
Admittedly, I hadn’t fished Henderson for a while. I had fished Bigeaux and Pelba there earlier in the spring and at first we were marginally successful on the hyacinth bite.
For anglers not in the know, the “hyacinth bite” refers to poking holes within a cluster of hyacinths with a long aluminum pronged pole or other concoction in order to secure an open area to vertically jig crappie tubes and small plastic tail baits.
Later in the spring, we also did some doodlesocking and had taken only a few good fish. Again, fish in the 1 ½- to 2- pounds range were seriously outnumbered by many below the hand-sized measure.
But on Monday, July 15th, we certainly hoped that we could fare better.
We arrived at McGee’s Landing just a little after sunlight, and I was quite awestruck in the number of boats along the edge of where the channel met the flats.
“This is a Monday,” I said to Ronald Lavergne who I had earlier paired up with in his boat.
“There’s a lot of boats out there . . . something is happening,” he said in agreement. “I’ll find us a spot not too close to other boats that we can slip into.
Sure enough, we found a spot but I must admit I felt like I was fishing Turner’s Bay reefs on Calcasieu Lake. When there is a good speckled trout bite there, boats with anglers line up along certain reefs, and sometimes there could be a hundred or so.
But anyway, Ronald was the first in our boat to catch a dink sac-a-lait.
“Hmmm . . . they’re real small,” said Lavergne.
About 15- mintes later, I too caught a dink, so then we ventured on a move.
Heading south of the location, we found another empty alleyway to the ledge near the flats.
The crappie were in 6- to 8- feet of water and we started slinging in more dinks which we released.
Finally, Lavergne did manage to get into some keepers which I hurried and photographed.
With all the boats out there, I only saw anglers using a net on a couple of occasions. I couldn’t tell however if they were using the net for crappie or simply bass bycatch.
I heard tales of larger crappie taken the previous week, and there were a few photos. They just were few and far between on Monday.
We fished another two hours before the thunderstorm hit us, and we headed back to the landing.
Between the two boats, we kept 15 out of approximately 35 taken during those few hours. It was a decent trip although not spectacular, although we wished those fish were somewhat larger.
Of course, these are our excuses and there are always better crappie anglers out there.
We caught the fish on a variety of plastics tail-baits and tubes to include: pumpkin/chartreuse-tail- and salt-pepper- Stanley Wedgetail Minnows; and green pepper/yellow- and watermelon pepper/chartreuse Lil’ Hustlers.
A note to all, the Butte La Rose gage was 9.29 on Monday, and today (Wednesday) it’s at 10.92. We definitely were on a sudden rise so the crappie fishing may even deteriorate more until the Atchafalaya River starts falling again.
So I guess now for us, it’s back to reservoir fishing for a while.