(Mar 4, 2015 - NATCHITOCHES, LA.)
The Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Central Regional presented by Bass Pro Shops heads to the Red River March 5-7. Although this is the inaugural Red River event for the Carhartt College Series, B.A.S.S. is certainly no stranger to the Red, which has hosted two Bassmaster Classics and several other professional Bassmaster tournaments.
Typically, B.A.S.S. events are held out of Pool 5 — the Shreveport-Bossier City area — whereas this week’s Central Regional will be held on Pool 3 near Natchitoches. The 96 teams registered will be allowed to fish Pools 3 and 4, making the playing field a vast labyrinth of hundreds of miles of river, backwaters and tributaries.
It’s no secret that most events held out of Pool 5 are won in Pool 4’s more productive fishing spots such as Sullivan’s and the Jungle. Pool 3 is typically out of reach for most anglers running down from Pool 5, so for the non-local angler, Pool 3 is a bit of an unknown.
One angler who knows the area well is Johnny Ledet of Northwestern State University.
“The Red River is where I fish for fun,” Ledet said. “If conditions were right, Pool 3 could be good.”
However, due to heavy rain the conditions aren’t exactly “right” on Pool 3 right now.
“They’ve had a lot of rainfall up north,” Ledet said. “The river is too muddy to fish, and Pool 3 is high.”
Pool 4 is holding at a pretty stable level, but Pool 3 is 2 to 3 feet higher than normal.
“Yesterday, I fished an area for about three hours and when I came out, the rock jetties that I saw on the way in were gone,” Ledet said.
These jetties are manmade rock peninsulas that were built to divert the river in certain areas. With the high water, anglers are going to need to be particularly careful this week not to damage one with their lower units.
The high water isn’t the only variable that’s going to throw kinks in the game plan here this week. Unseasonably cool weather accompanied by the rainfall has the water temperature plummeting.
“Right now, the water temp is 47 degrees. Two weeks ago we were fishing out here and the water temp was 65 degrees.” Ledet said. “We were catching lots of fish in a foot to 2 feet of water, and now we are catching two or three fish a day.”
Nightly lows during the event are bottoming out in the 20s, so the chance of a warming trend is out the window. Ledet is still hopeful that the full moon will at least encourage the bass that would typically be looking to spawn to move into the right areas. But he knows this is going to be a tough one.
“Someone could catch three fish out here that go 15 to 18 pounds,” Ledet said. “But I believe if you can catch five fish a day, you’ll probably be in the Top 5.”
Weigh-ins will stream live at 2:45 p.m. CT daily on Bassmaster.com, or fans can also come out to see the events in person. Takeoff will take place at Grand Ecore landing, Tauzin Island Rd., Natchitoches, March 5-7 at 6:30 a.m., and Days 1 and 2 weigh-ins will also be held at Grand Ecore. The Day 3 weigh-in will be held at Northwestern State University, 175 Sam Sibley Dr., Natchitoches.
Local hosts for the event include the City of Natchitoches, the Red River Waterway Commission and Northwestern State University.
2015 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Title Sponsor: Carhartt
2015 Bass Bassmaster College Series Presenting Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
2015 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Official Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, GoPro, Humminbird, Mercury, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha
2015 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Supporting Partners: A.R.E. Accessories, Dick Cepek Tires, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Power-Pole, Rigid Industries, Shimano
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines, website, television show, social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series presented by Allstate, Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation events, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Costa Bassmaster High School Series, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.