The Sport of Bassing Swamp Holes
Day 1: Searching for Swamp Holes and Navigating Through Them
Editor’s Note: You may think the South is the only section of the United States with swamps, but particularly after the flooding of 2011, many-new oxbows and swamp holes have been created. Although most bass lakes and rivers are crowded across the country, when you fish swamp holes for bass, you’ll rarely see other fishermen, and the bass often will top 8 pounds. These unnoticed waters can be found most anywhere.
Backwoods swamp holes are along most of the free-flowing rivers that flood. If you don’t know the areas that flood in your state, a phone call to your library, Soil Conservation Service or Department of Conservation can provide you with this information. The U.S. Forest Service is also a good source of information about flooded lands. Don’t overlook wilderness areas, national forests, state management areas and wildlife refuges, in addition to private lands. After you find-out what regions flood, check with Department of Conservation personnel for the exact locations of swamp holes.
Many management-area officials, Forest Service employees and soil-conservation officers can pinpoint access areas to forgotten potholes. Local game wardens also will have sources of information on swamp-hole fishing spots. If you plan to fish out-of-state, a letter or a call to the Information and Education section of that state’s Department of Conservation will get you started on the trail to productive swamp-hole bassin’.
Knowing how to move fast over soggy terrain is important when fishing for bass in these backwater sloughs or swamp holes, as they’re often called. The sharp teeth of the beavers and the warm gentle rains can be depended on to create these holes, but weather calamities also can change the terrain. When a tornado or a hurricane devastates areas, the spring rains fill the gashes and the ditches with water. Then when spring and early summer floods wash fish into these depressions, new angling hotspots are born. Often a tornado will create a hole many miles from a river. In Florida, these holes soon fill with lily pads and coontail moss and are miraculously stocked with largemouths. When the holes shrink during the summer, only the largest and the strongest bass survive, making these holes prime country to explore for bucketmouths.