PREVIEW: Pressure in the Bayou

By Rob Newell - May 22, 2018

The day-three group for the Elimination Round of an MLF Cup is always a peculiar one. No matter which pros are fishing day three, many of them are often consumed with wondering if the two previous days’ groups fished on the same lakes.

After all, an obscure bayou in the middle of nowhere is one thing. But that same obscure bayou in the middle of nowhere that’s had the choice cover picked over by the best pros in the world over the two previous days is a different ballgame.

Previous pressure is something Brent Chapman was pondering upon seeing his map on the third day of the Elimination Round.

“I like being out here in the middle of nowhere, but I can’t help but wonder if the other groups have been here over the two previous days,” Chapman said. “There are two lakes here and we have no idea which of them the other groups fished, if they fished here at all. But if it’s the same lakes that has been picked over for two days, it is something I would take into consideration during my ride through.”

Upon seeing his map, KVD’s super-duper fishing computer in his brain sees the day’s fishery for what it is. “Interesting,” he remarked.

“Let’s say I pull out there and see a couple of great looking cypress trees or an obvious mat of vegetation,” Chapman surmised. “If I knew for a fact that none of our other groups had fished these lakes, I’d probably start on something like that. But if I knew two other groups had already fished this pond I might be little more leery of that obvious stuff and look for something a little more tucked away. Or at least downsize my first choice of lures.

“Adjusting for fishing pressure is part of the game and that’s something I’d like to know. These two lakes combined make up a lot of water and a lot of options, but to some degree, we’re all looking for the same things.”

Beyond that, Chapman says he is comfortable with Louisiana-style oxbows and bayous.

“I can’t make any judgments about where I’m going to start until I get out there and actually see the water and what it has to offer. Usually the difference maker in these kinds of lakes is vegetation because it usually offers a lot more fishing options, so that’s what I’ll be looking for right off the bat.”

Bobby Lane won the MLF Challenge Cup in Florida a couple of years ago. For him, Louisiana oxbows are similar to Florida waters.

 “This is a beautiful looking bayou,” Lane said. “We’ve got a nice chilly fall morning and it’s going to warm up a little later in the afternoon – I like it. These kinds of fisheries fish like a Florida body of water, especially if it’s got any vegetation in it. Man, would I like to find some pads or matted grass in this place this morning.

“One thing I do know about these shallow bayous is that they muddy up easily, especially from boat traffic. And since all ten of us are going to blasting back and forth through this little ditch that connects the two lakes during the ride through, I’ll probably avoid it first thing. In fact, I might just ride to the far end of one of these oxbow lakes where it might be protected from boat wake wash to start my day.”

No MLF Cup morning is complete without hearing what Kevin VanDam has to say about the map that MLF pulls out of their bags of tricks.

VanDam, who owns two Bassmaster Classic trophies from the state of Louisiana, seems completely unsurprised by the surprise of the Black River-Cocodrie complex. Upon seeing his map, KVD’s super-duper fishing computer in his brain sees the day’s fishery for what it is.

“Interesting,” he remarked. “I’ve never fished anywhere near here but it looks like I can leave the 6XDs out of the boat today. These oxbow deals are typically shallow fisheries and they’re typically good fisheries. I like fishing this kind of water. I’ll be curious to see if it has any grass in it. Once I get a good look at the habitat in the ride around period, I’ll have a better idea of where I’m going to start.”

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