Fishing with Kenny: Just Alike, but Not Quite the Same
article by Kenny Covington
photo by Jessica C. Lyons
Over the years, I have been fortunate to fish some of the best fisheries in the southern part of the United States. I have also fished some of the worse ones as well. Each lake is different. Each one has a different personality, and each one seems to have a mind of its own on how it reacts to weather, boat traffic, etc, as well as the seasonal patterns of the fish.
This month I would like to pick a couple of the more popular lakes in our area and try to give you some basic insight on how to fish each one. Granted, it is basic information, but it will at least give you a starting point if you decide to fish these particular bodies of water.
I have chosen two lakes that have a lot in common as far as water clarity, layout and some basic fishing techniques. Both lakes are clear, have an abundance of deep water to fish as well as shallow opportunities and are full of bass. Let’s see how they stack up.
This 5,000 acre lake located in Jackson Parish has long had a history of producing double digit bass. Seven of the top ten largemouth bass caught in our state have come from the waters of Caney Lake. While the lake isn’t producing fish like it did during its heyday back in the mid 90’s, the fishing is still very good and showing signs of returning to its former self.
A reason for this return to prominence can largely be credited to the amount of aquatic vegetation that can now be found in the lake. Dollar pads, coontail moss, and milfoil can be found in the shallower areas of the lake. An abundance of vegetation is the lifeblood of any lake that has a reputation for being a good fishery and Caney is no exception.
Fishing grass can be a whole chapter of Fishing 101, but there are a few lures to make things easier. Rat L Traps and chatterbaits are effective, when fishing grass lines or edges. Texas rigged flukes and senkos are good choices, when fishing the holes found in the grass.
One of the characteristics of Caney that can make it difficult to fish is due to its clear water. On bright sunny days most anglers find more success fishing deeper areas or targeting the boat docks around the lake with shakey heads and Texas rigged soft plastics. Shades of watermelon and purple seem to be good all round choices, when choosing a color to begin throwing.
On cloudy days, no matter the time of year, fish can be caught shallow. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits are always good choices, and in warmer weather months, topwater lures are effective fish catchers. Keep your color choices simple. Anything shad related or color schemed are usually productive.
Known more for its striper fishing over the years Claiborne has become a solid lake, when it comes to largemouth bass fishing. Years ago it wasn’t uncommon to win tournaments on Claiborne with 10-12 lb. five fish limits. My how things have changed. It is rare that it doesn’t take more than 16 lbs. to win, and it seems each time a fish in the seven to eight pound range is weighed in.
There are a lot of theories as to why the overall fish population on Claiborne appears to be as good as it has been in several years. Some people point to the amount of grass in the lake, some people believe it has to do with the stocking of the Florida strain largemouth, and still some believe the drawing down of the lake has contributed to the success of the fishery. Whatever it is, it seems to be working!
Claiborne is one of those lakes that fits the style of every type of fisherman. If you want to fish shallow, there is an abundance of boat docks, grass flats and stump fields, as well as other types of cover. For those fishermen who prefer to fish the deeper haunts, there are drop offs, ridges, humps, creek channels and man-made brush piles for even the best electronics guru to seek out and fish.
Claiborne is and has always been a chartreuse color lake. Lures with green as the base color or having chartreuse as a part of the color scheme consistently produce. Soft plastics such as watermelon and green pumpkin will catch fish, but when the tails are dipped in Chartreuse dipping dye, they seem to produce better. Firetiger colored crankbaits are effective year round producers as well.
The beauty of Claiborne is that you can Carolina rig your favorite offshore area, and then turn right around and flip/pitch shallow boat docks. Both techniques are effective year round and show the lake’s versatility.
I sure wish I had more space to tell you more about these two lakes, but it looks like I am out of room. Please be careful in the woods, and if you are on the water, catch one for me! See you next month!