Taking bass fishing to a new level
You just never know when you are going to meet and have the time to visit with a total stranger that unexpectedly makes your day.I very much enjoyed one of those chance meetings while waiting to check out at Academy earlier this week.Pappy Lejeune had just met his daughter in the parking lot to return her son and was picking up a few spinner baits before driving back to Toledo Bend. She lives in the Baytown area and Beaumont is kind of half way for the two of them.
“I didn’t think it was ever going to happen,” stated an obviously pleased, Pappy Lejeune, “but I think I saved my youngest grandson’s life.I took him to watch bass tournament weigh-ins the past two weekends and he had a career day of fishing on Sunday!”
I don’t know many folks that would consider those to be life saving events, but seventy-four year old Pappy was more than pleased to have the sixteen year old back on what he considers to be the right track.“Bass fishing should not be the most important thing in anyone’s life, “he pointed out without a hint of a smile, “but it’s right behind church on Sunday and eating.”
Lejeune, who has lived on the Louisiana side of Toledo Bend since 1969 was concerned not only that young Colton, heaven forbid, not like bass fishing, but possibly take the wrong route in trying to occupy his idle time.“He’s a good boy,” but he sees his real father very seldom and he has already been through two “almost step-dads,” added Pappy.
“I have really been worried about him because he plays tennis and soccer, but not any real sports and he was happy to just stay home and catch redfish and croaker and stuff like that instead of bass fishing with me.I don’t know how anybody can enjoy throwing a dead shrimp out on the bottom more than chasing bass.” After that declaration, I immediately knew that I would be doing more listening than talking and that was fine with me.
It turned out that we both knew a lot of the same guides and even local anglers that fished the Arnold’s Bay-Boones’s Crossover area when I was a full time guide on Toledo Bend.I was not about to mention that I was now a saltwater guide and was glad that he never asked. He spent the majority of the one-way conversation assessing the changes over the years and considered quality to be the single biggest change.
“They had over six hundred anglers fish these last two tournaments and we only saw two bass over ten pounds weighed in, but this is now a great “big bass” lake,” stated Lejeune. “I have caught more bass over nine pounds in the last five years than I did in the first forty years and three of my grandchildren have caught a bass over ten pounds!”
“I thought it would take thirty pounds or better to win both of those tournaments, but tournament fishing is always tougher.Colton and I fished the flat and small creek in front of my home and he caught five bass over six pounds including one over eight slow rolling spinnerbaits in twelve feet of water,” beamed Lejeune.
“I coached, netted and took pictures with my phone”, he boasted while trying to find the button on his phone that would validate his story.Mercifully, the clerk got it done as I do well just to answer mine when it rings.The fish were beautiful and Colton appeared to be very pleased with his efforts. As fate would have it, as soon as we exited the main doors I was greeted by two young anglers that addressed me as Capt. Colburn and asked what I was using to catch redfish.
Pappy Lejeune immediately glanced in my direction one last time and headed to his truck without the customary, “Enjoyed the visit.” Pappy takes his bass fishing seriously and I hope for Colton’s sake that he enjoys it as well. There are things worse, however, than tennis, soccer and catching redfish!
We miraculously turned what I initially feared would be a miserable day on the water into an enjoyable day of catching last Friday, but the weather has gone to pot since.In fact, the wind switched to the south and blew us off the lake around noon that day, but we had a very good morning catching both reds and trout.
We saw only two other boats on the lake and they were fishermen as the crabbers packed it in ahead of the CCA sponsored crab trap clean up.It was reminiscent of the old days of being able to fish the flats at the mouth of Willow and Three Bayous without having to dodge the usual minefield of traps, floats and ropes.
The lake had started to clear up again and silt was the only culprit causing dirtier water.Runoff has not been a problem and the silt can settle out in one night with light winds.The trout bite continues to get better and the redfish bite has been a given.The only thing missing for us right now are the “big” trout of winter!
Photo – Another nice red caught on a nasty weather day.