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Trip around North Louisiana for the rain

by Minden Press-Herald

“Going fishing this weekend on north LA lakes with a group of fellow media members and what does the forecast call for? Rain! I’m not complaining one bit if me going fishing causes it to rain, all I can say is BRING IT ON!”

If you follow me on Face Book, you read my statement last week about heading out for a fishing trip with rain in the forecast. One of my fellow scribes on the trip, good friend John Flores, good-naturedly accused me of messing up our fam trip arranged by Johnny Wessler of Louisiana North out of Shreveport, an organization covering twenty-nine parishes in north Louisiana. On the positive side, we were drenched with rain that so badly needed here in north Louisiana. On the negative side, we got wet and a portion of our trip to Toledo Bend where the crappie were waiting had to be postponed until a later date.

Even under leaden skies with rain falling, the five of us including Jimmy Watson, Brad Wiegmann, Jim Binns, Flores and I still saw a good portion of what Wessler had lined out for us.

First, we stopped off to tour a fascinating plant, Epic Boats, in Vivian where we were able to observe the multiple steps involved in putting together those beautiful wake boats. Here’s what I read on the company’s web site – “The reason things are as good as they’ve ever been is because every Epic Wakeboat is now being built in a dedicated production facility.

Our talented team in Vivian, Louisiana builds every Epic product with the same amount of thought and care that went into refining the initial design of the boat. It’s the pride that these craftsmen (and women) put into every Epic Wakeboat that makes it so fun to ride behind one.”

Next stop was a tour of Caddo Lake with guide Billy Carter. Even with a steady drizzle putting a damper on things, Caddo with all its century old cypress trees is a beautiful lake offering excellent fishing for bass and catfish in particular.

After drying off a bit, we headed to Lake Claiborne, one of my favorite lakes. Fortunately, the rain had subsided and we were actually able to fish for striped bass. I’ll be quick to call our guide Donny Hood one of the best in the business because although the striper bite has been off recently, he put us in position to land several of these fighting and fun-to-catch scrappers. Trolling umbrella rigs – that’s the lure with several jigs attached to mimic a school of shad – we were able to put a number of fish in the boat.

After a mouth-watering feast of catfish filets at Port au Prince on the lake, we were off to Jackson Parish where we settled into a dry and comfortable cabin at Jimmy Davis State Park on Caney Lake.

Next morning, we had breakfast at Brown’s Landing on the lake, took an abbreviated tour of lake under soggy skies before heading back to Brown’s for lunch.

A tour of the Jimmy Davis Tabernacle, Peckerwood Hill store and museum in Jonesboro was most interesting, following the life of the “Sunshine” governor who was born in the area.

The next leg of the tour was supposed to be to Toledo Bend where we would spend the night after fishing for crappie with the Living the Dream guide service on the lake. I’ve fished with these folks before and there was no doubt we’d be dividing up crappie filets to take home.

There was a slight problem though. A glance at the radar showed Toledo Bend inundated with nothing but red and yellow on the screen. Our doubts were confirmed when we learned that several inches of rain had already fallen on the area with more to come.

Our tour guide Johnny Wessler, made an administrative decision that was sure to save us all from another soaking. Toledo Bend will have to wait until a bit later.

Even missing out on the last leg of our tour, the trip was informative and enjoyable, adding credence to the fact that this area has a rich legacy when it comes to things to do and see in the north Louisiana outdoors. Plus despite the lamentations of my friend John Flores, we got the rain we so desperately needed.

Glynn Harris’ column is sponsored by D.C. Pawn of Minden

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