Bass fishing is one of the most popular forms of fishing (and even kayak fishing) in America. For some people, bass fishing isn’t something they are raised doing. Dustin Schouest explains to us today how he developed a love for bass fishing.
Fishing really isn’t my hobby. My hobbies include collecting retro video games, watching old 1990’s cartoons, and playing the table top wargame Warhammer 40000. Fishing is, to me, my lifestyle. My entire life, from my childhood up until the day I die, will one way or another be invested in the water. I was six months old going out on my dad’s bay boat to our fishing camp in the marsh of Pointe Aux Chenes. At eight years old I was catching bull reds off Last Isle with my cousin Ross and his stepfather Dave Sullavin off the infamous Razu. Then when I turned 21, I got into kayak fishing to help me break away from a budding gambling problem.
That being said, my fishing sometimes breaks into periods of interest in different species. During the later parts of the year I focus on duck hunting alone. Once the season ends, I start chasing redfish and sheepshead on fly. I do this until the slime and algae that blossom like a cancer in our waters during the hot parts of the summer take over the flats, and then I switch over to my latest addiction: bass fishing.
I had dabbled in bass fishing when I was younger. With my father not being home half the time due to work and my love of fishing being driven into my brain thanks to the lovely effects of Asperger’s Syndrome, I had to find a way to scratch my itch. I started using my allowance to buy a small tacklebox, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, worms, weights, you name it in 1999 and I had it. My mother got me a year subscription to BASSMaster Magazine, and I educated myself. I even did a social studies project on freshwater fishing that got me second place in a fair, and almost expelled from school thanks to my display having “sharp weapons” on it.
Living next to a bayou that was going from brackish to salt, you can imagine that bass were not exactly easy to catch. I only caught four when I was growing up: three in Bayou Terrebonne, and a fourth at a campground my family went to religiously. At this point, I was mainly a saltwater live/dead bait chunker, and that is my excuse for not becoming the next Kevin “My Name Is On Everything” Van Damm.
When I got into fly fishing in 2013, I started to get into catching bream on poppers and other floating flies. Bass were just a bycatch. Then I started following more kayak bass anglers on social media, and I became a student again. I started going every once in a while for bass instead of my usual quarry of redfish or speckled trout, and I started to learn more and more about bait selection and water clarity.
My next flurry into bass fishing began when I started working at Cabela’s in 2016. Being located in Gonzales, about three quarters of the customers coming in were interested in chasing largemouth bass. I knew only a little bit: the other guys I worked with (all great guys) were mostly tournament fisherman: one of which fished for his high school and college. I was the kayak fishing guy working behind the reel bar.
With a giant Cabela’s owned pond right outside, I started spending time (and lots of money) on lures and rigs to learn more and more about getting hooks in the mouths of bass. Within my first three months of working there, I had caught over triple the amount of bass I had caught in the last two years.
I had three baits that I really fell in love with. The first was the tandem spinnerbait. I bought the cheapest possible spinnerbaits that I could afford with my college student budget, which were mostly Wahoo brand or the smaller Strike King setups. My color of choice was chartreuse and white, with gold blades. Near manmade cover like culverts and dug out holes, this lure slayed the bass for me.
The next I got hooked on (mentally and physically) was the wacky rigged stick bait. I fell in love with both the Gary Yammaoto Senkos and the Yum Dingers, in a black with red flake or a watermelon red color. Dipping the tail in Spike It chartreuse dye and putting it on a weighted wacky hook, I caught more fish than I could recall on it. Even my personal best, at close to five pounds!
The other lure that I really fell in love with was the drop shot worm. Using the Zoom Super Finesse or the Jackal Flick N Shake, this finesse tactic has helped me shake the skunk off when other lures wouldn’t. Sometimes when the water temperature gets high, as it likes to here in the deep south, bass just get lock jaw for most of the day. But something about a skinny worm suspended over the bottom wiggling like crazy just makes bass (and even big goggleye) want to destroy it.
If you are feeling burn out from chasing the same species over and over again, are looking for a new challenge, or just want to get out and have fun doing something different, give bass fishing a try. One of the best things about it is that the techniques and baits that you use CAN AND WILL be effective on other species such as redfish, and even speckled trout. Don’t believe me? Take a trip out to Delacroix, Louisiana where you can catch a speck, a red, and a largemouth within yards of each other!