We got the text Friday, March 13. “Competition for the Bassmaster Elite at Chickamauga has been postponed due to the fast-moving corona virus”. This virus has disrupted so many lives, derailed plans, and put so many things on hold. Tournaments are postponed; people are stuck at home with an excessive amount of toilet paper; families are bummed about missing their vacation, and many of us now have a honey-do list as long as our boats.
But in between shifting plans, and dodging more honey-dos, I have found the time to take my family fishing. Nothing will keep this guy off the water and there is no better place for social distancing. My wife calls it our Parental Time Out (PTO). My son calls it “I will do anything to not clean my room”! It makes me wonder how many other sons and daughters are stuck at home, missing their friends, and would want to go fishing while their parents are having to work from home. North Louisiana is a lot like Northwest Arkansas, there is a ton of water close by waiting to be taken advantage of by those going stir crazy. The river and lakes are not far and are easily accessible. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money to take a kid fishing, you just have to take it back to the basics.
My wife and I both grew up fishing with a cane pole our granddads cut down and dried themselves. They would tie on some fishing line, add a small hook, and hand us a worm we dug up ourselves. We would walk the bank of the lake or the river and catch anything that would bite. Today, there is a ton of stuff to choose from and it can get overwhelming and expensive. Here are a few of my kid-friendly favorite baits to go catch your dinner and they won’t break the bank:
This is my favorite time of year to catch crappie (or white perch) and bedding bass. For crappie, the best thing next to a minnow is a crappie jig and a cork. Big Bite Baits has the 1/16 oz Hal-Fly. My favorite color this time of year is white because it imitates a minnow or shad. To catch bass, I immediately go to a Texas-rigged creature bait like my favorite Big Bite Baits fighting frog or the pro lizard. The fighting frog needs to be green pumpkin, watermelon red laminate. The pro lizard color I prefer is the green pumpkin or black and blue. I also find myself using a ¼ oz white spinner bait. You can find either species along the banks. Fish shallow in the brush, weed edges, or laid down trees.
So take a little longer lunch break, start you morning a little later, or just take a break and take a kid fishing. And if you can’t get outside, take a pole, set up a little obstacle course in an open area of your house, and practice flipping with a hookless jig, fighting frog, or worm. Once all this is over, we will all be better for it and created memories that will be shared for lifetimes. Until April, do the work and believe big!
Harvey Horne, native of North Louisiana, and former Union Parish resident, is in his second year fishing the Bassmaster Elite Series and also fishes the Bassmaster Eastern Opens. He currently resides in Northwest Arkansas with his wife Rhonda, a native of Marion, and their two children.