Science: The Big ‘Classic’ Question

Professional bass anglers love to talk. It’s really what they’re paid to do. What? You thought it was to catch fish? Guess again.

They’ll tell you about their 70 mph fishing platforms, who they’re sponsored by, why you should use fluorocarbon instead of braid, or where you can buy their newest branded product. Would you like to know what they’re not going to talk about right now?

Where they’re going to win the Bassmasters Classic in a couple weeks. 

Looking back through past tourneys down there, several places stand out. In 1999, Davy Hite pitched weedbeds in Bayou Boeuf near Lac des Allemands to win the Classic. In 2001, Kevin VanDam won the Classic in the Bayou Black area, roughly the same area that Kenyon Hill won the 1998 Top 150 from. And, of course, Iaconelli fished the Venice area to win in 2003, along with several other top finishers.

Right now, guys are hush, hush. Their lips are sealed. Zipped!

So, I went to the source of fishing knowledge in the area, and contacted the Louisiana Dept. of Inland Fisheries. There I found some people who actually wanted to talk location, and who can make some good predictions based upon fisheries research that’s been done in the area – a.k.a., Science!

So here’s my early prediction after talking with the biologists – are you listening Boyd? Somebody is going to make a serious run at the title by maximizing their fishing time and dropping their trolling motor not far from the launch site. I can’t even begin to correctly pronounce the name Lake Cataouatche, but I now know some neat facts about the place.

  • The Lake Cataouatche complex is a unique network of natural lakes, waterways, and man-made canals.  This network of water bodies covers approximately 12,120 surface acres in the upper Barataria Basin.  Lake Cataouatche stretches across approximately 8,340 surface acres and approximately 19 miles of canals can be accessed from the lake.
  • In 2008, anglers began reporting catches of bass in excess of 8 pounds. In addition, fishermen were boasting about how easy it was to catch large numbers of bass, or ‘green trout’ as the locals call them, in a single trip.

Why is this happening? In 2002, Louisiana opened the Davis Pond Freshwater Diversion.  This diversion, one of the largest freshwater diversions in the world, was designed to prevent saltwater encroachment by diverting up to 10,000 cubic feet of Mississippi River water per second into the Barataria Basin.  This influx of nutrient rich freshwater has resulted in the reestablishment of submerged aquatic vegetation and big improvements in water quality.

Biologists from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries then went in and stocked the area with Florida largemouth bass.  Bass 3-6 inches long were periodically stocked in the area from 2003 to 2010. These Florida bass have had years to grow big and healthy, and have flown under the radar screens of most anglers until very recently.

So there you have it – applied science in action. If the winner comes from the Lake Cataouatche complex near where the pros are launching from, I want my cut of the winnings.



  1. Bass Pundit

    February 3, 2011 at 12:45 am

    At 8,000 acres this one spot could easily hold the whole field, if it’s as good as you say.

  2. Brian

    February 3, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Yep – but will they all split up the fish enough over 3 days that the winner comes from a “lesser” area that the angler has all to himself? That is another ‘Classic’ question. Can’t wait myself to see how it all plays out.

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