A Springtime Staple On Lake Ouachita
Acouple of important things transpired on Arkansas’ waters during the month of April.The photo period increased, as did the water temperature. In turn, many fish species went about their annual spawn.
Fish are very predictable during this small window of time and, generally speaking, easy to catch. But the spawn is now behind us, and the fish have totally changed their patterns. They’re still fairly easy to figure out, though. It’s a matter of understanding the areas they frequent and the lures and techniques that will prove most effective at coaxing them from the waters.
Located less than an hour from here and, in some cases, minutes away, Lake Ouachita is an excellent fishery.The reservoir sports in the neighborhood of 1,000 miles of shoreline and practically 50,000 acres of water surface. And the scenery — it’s beautiful.
I’ll be the first to admit that there are times when the fish simply refuse to bite. But there are also occasions when one would be hard-pressed to spend a few hours casting without putting a fish or two in the boat.There are multiple keys to success. Location, time of day, lure choice and technique are all crucial elements. It’s also crucial to understand and locate their food source.
By the time the month of May rolls around, the water has warmed to a point the fish are no longer sluggish and are on the prowl. As earlier suggested, find the food source and you’ll find the fish.That in mind, one might consider casting lures replicating shad or other small fish.
Of course, all anglers have their preferences, and I suspect most are quick to stress that their choice of lures is the most effective. I suppose I fall in that category, as well. However, I’m a firm believer that many styles and colors are effective as the others.The key is casting the lures in which you are most confident.
During this time of the season, there are specific lures that are tied onto my lines pretty well all of the time. Upon reaching my fishing destination, I usually reach for my springtime staple — a suspended jerkbait.
Briskly twitching the rod tip while winding, I stop retrieval midstream. Letting the lure remain motionless for a period, which varies from a fraction of to several seconds. I then begin the retrieval again.This is often the
“There are multiple keys to success. Location, time of day, lure choice and technique are all crucial elements. It’s also crucial to understand and locate their food source.”
split second when they decide to pounce on the lure.
Jerkbaits are very productive and capable of coaxing a variety of fish species into biting. I can recall an outing a few weeks ago when this lure and technique boated 56 bass, eight walleyes and one slab crappie. And, to top it all off, we didn’t get on the water until after the noon hour. Of course, we only kept our limits, but culling fish is a luxury all anglers enjoy.
Jerkbaits are also extremely effective means of catching striped bass. However, be prepared to have your hooks straightened every now and then, and understand that if one’s drag isn’t set correctly, they’ll snap the line and swim off with the lure.
Topwater lures are also one of my staples during May and the latter months of spring.There are two styles that I use religiously. I love dancing a spook across the surface, a technique referred to as “walking the dog.”
Again, twitching the rod tip during retrieval is key. With each brisk jerk, the lure dances back and forth across the surface.
Although these types of topwater lures are deadly, I can’t think of anything more entertaining than watching a bass rush from the depths and nailing a chugger. These lures are fairly easy to master. Simply twitch the rod tip, allow the lure to sit motionless for a skoch and continue the process until the presentation reaches the boat.
Last but not least, small swimming soft plastics are likely one of the easiest lures to fish and can lend to some real action-packed outings. As for technique, it doesn’t get much simpler — cast the plug into the water and steadily wind it in. Of course, retrieval speed will be determined by the depth of the fish, and occasionally stopping retrieval and letting the lure fall sometimes spurs a bite. It’s all a matter of what they prefer on a given day.
The month of May can prove tremendous on Lake Ouachita.The baitfish will be active and the species we love to catch won’t be far behind. Be prepared to do a little jerking, twitching and stopping during mid-stream. Get out on the water and enjoy the beauty around you, and with a little luck, there’ll be fish frying in the skillet on the following day.
Baitfish look-alikes are very effective on Lake Ouachita, as well as other Arkansas waters during the month of May.
Jerkbaits are a very effective means of coaxing striped bass into biting. However, strong line and a finely tuned drag system are essential.