Sitting perched in a tree bowhunting adjacent to a deep woods swamp, the afternoon stillness was continually disturbed by the sound of fat bass attacking frogs in what appeared to be just a knee-deep-shallow, stagnant area of backwater on the edge of our property.
"Dern! That sounds like bass", I kept thinking. "Wonder if there is a way to fish that snakey looking swamp?" This was in the days before google earth (there was a time before the internet and free aerial mapping), so I had no idea the size and nature of the swamp, only what I could see which was not much. There were lots of standing trees in the water and logs everywhere, and way too thick to fish from the bank. It was at least a mile through the thick woods from our camp.
So the next spring, my son Jackson and I got a wild hair and brought a plastic boat from home, tied it to a 4 wheeler and dragged it through the woods; hacking a trail with machetes. We finally got to waters edge, launched the boat, and began fishing what has turned out to be one of the most untapped, unspoiled, pristine, deep-woods, beaver-dam infested, flooded-creek, cypress-gum, backwoods-swamp-environments we have ever seen. We’ve made maybe 15 trips to the pond over the years and have generally seen some of the best bass and sac-a-lait fishing you can imagine. The ‘beaver-pond’ as we call it turns out to be a mile or so long and 300 yards wide with a deep spring-fed creek channel winding through the middle.
The pond is full of wood ducks and is a nesting area for thousands of egrets that nest in the trees 10-12 ft above the water. This of course feeds hundreds of alligators who hang around waiting for the occasional manna from heaven.
We’ve been too preoccupied with the deer in the fall and winter to mess with the thousands of wood ducks that hang around in the area, who often walk up on the bank to gorge on acorns around the pond edges.
So on our first trip to the pond years ago Jackson started with a spinner bait and I tied on our only buzz bait. The bass are what you call ‘unschooled’ – clearly they had never seen a buzz bait. Though they bit on everything, they went absolutely nuts for the buzz bait. If I didn’t catch one every cast I at least got wallowed by one. They would hit it over and over. After about 10-15 fish I started telling Jackson ‘after just one more I’m going to give you at turn with this buzz bait’... just messing with him of course. We were fishing in thick standing trees and logs everywhere, and finally one got behind a tree a broke me off, apparently losing our only buzz bait! But wait, the fish swam a little ways and jumped and tossed the bait and I saw exactly where it landed, and proceeded to paddle over and dip the lure up off the bottom with our landing net. This is the God's honest truth. I tied that lure back on and went on catching fish after fish, laughing like a maniac.
Of course we never go near the pond these days without at least 15 buzz baits. Most of the fish tend to be medium sized to small so we fish light spinning rods with light line. You have less issue with backlashes with spinning rods making long casts through the trees and overhangs. This last trip we forgot to bring a landing net, and as things work out this would be the time that I hung a giant….at least 8-10 pounds and after a short battle with too light tackle, there he was boatside with a mouth you could fit a basketball in. The abrasion of his teeth on the light line was just too much. There he went, just like that. Ah…the ones that get away making you scream in agony!
Have you ever tried fishing in one of the swamps you find in the deep woods? May be worth a try!
- Mark A. Wilson