Talkin' Outdoors

The trouble with some people is their determination to stick to an original plan in an endeavor in which they’re involved, even if the plan is not working. Successful people are able to abandon a plan that worked for them in the past for something different. Jason Ledet is such a person.

Fishing an American Bass Anglers (ABA) tournament on Caney Lake a couple of weeks ago, Ledet had found a pattern while pre-fishing the event that was producing some good bass. However, on tournament day, he couldn’t buy a bite.

“I had been on the lake the week before and found the bass around stumps out on the flats. I caught several over the slot in 8-10 foot water on big plastic worms, crank baits and jigs. This is where I headed on the day of the tournament,” Ledet explained.

After fishing virtually all morning without a bite, it became obvious to the Operations Manager at Rolling Hills Ministries in Ruston that something was amiss. Then fate stepped in.

“I decided to move but noticed that my boat was sluggish and difficult to handle. Looking back, I saw the problem; the boat was filling up with water. I finally got it on plane and headed for the tournament headquarters to find the problem. The drain plug had come out.

“I presented my dilemma to the tournament director who allowed me to get off the water and fix the problem. Replacing the plug and letting the water drain out, I headed back on the water, knowing I’d lost valuable fishing time,” he said.

While he was working on fixing the problem, his mind was also going in another direction. He had time to reassess what he was doing wrong in not being able to catch fish.

“I remembered that the day I practiced, it was cloudy and a good bit cooler than this day, which was clear, sunny and pretty warm. I knew that bass, big bass in particular, will head for thick brush to escape the brightness. I knew of just such a spot so I headed there. There was a big brush pile in 12 feet of water located near deeper water and if my assumptions were correct, maybe I’d be able to find some fish,” Ledet continued.

His hunch began paying off as he tied into a hefty bass, one that was just below the 19 inch upper slot limit Caney Lake has. He dropped his jig and trailer right into the middle of the brush pile, easing it up and over limbs, allowing it to fall after clearing each branch. Just after clearing a branch and letting the jig fall, he felt a thump and tension on the line. Setting the hook, he knew he had tied into a good fish.
The fish became tangled in the brush so he decided to give slack to see if it could free itself. The ploy paid off as the fish cleared the brush pile, heading for another nearby.

“By the way the fish was man-handling my reel like it was a Zebco 33, I decided I had hooked into a big catfish. I mean, I’d never felt a bass do something like that. The fish became tangled in the second brush pile but I was able to work it out and start it to the boat. I saw the fish roll probably five feet below the surface and realized it was a bass – a really big bass. I nearly had a heart attack,” Ledet exclaimed.

He was finally able to get the fish to the boat, put it in the live well and continued to fish, catching a couple more in the slot. He motored back to tournament headquarters, watched other anglers weigh in their fish, with one fisherman putting a bass on the scales that weighed 8.61 pounds. Then it was Ledet’s turn and he watched the scales settle in at 11.06 pounds, not only the largest bass of his life but big enough to win the tournament. Ledet’s bass currently is the largest weighed in nationally this year on the ABA circuit.

If the original plan isn’t working, sometimes Plan B is the ticket for success. It certainly was for Jason Ledet.