HOMER, La. (AP) — With red-crusted trees trimming the foggy horizon, fishing on Lake Claiborne offers some dynamic viewing on a December day — even if you have to listen to Homer Humphreys' stories dotted with an occasional exaggeration.
One thing about Humphreys — he can find the fish. He finds them in the spring in two to three feet of water and he finds them in the winter in 32 feet of water — thanks in large part to Humminbird Electronics. With a fish-finding device located on the bow, as well as next to the steering wheel, Humphreys was able to watch bait fish move up and down the depths of the lake and would often offer the following comment:
"You're right on top of them. You outta get one."
His recent trip was about finding white bass, bar fish or sand bass, or however you prefer to moniker them. They're crafty little devils that can be found in abundance in most area fisheries, but Claiborne has more than its fair share. Live minnows, provided by Humphreys, are a taste treat they can't turn down.
Fishing deep in a venue that hasn't yet received enough arctic blasts to drive the water temperatures below 50 degrees, requires patience and adept hands that notice the slightest of nudges.
"Let your line drop all the way to the bottom, then reel it back up a half-turn and hold it beside your hip," Humphreys said. "Lift it up and down slowly at varying intervals."
Humphreys had two fish in the Igloo within minutes of tossing out his buoy at our initial stop near the dam about a half-mile from Pleasure Point Marina. He landed his fish with subtlety, but requested his fishing companion open the ice chest.
"Yesterday we caught so many bar fish here I got tired and stopped fishing," said Humphreys, who always has a story about fishing success the day before that tops whatever happens on the day you're fishing with him.
As with most professional guides, success lies in keeping customers happy, but it also is enhanced by regaling them with your exploits and maybe adding to the size of the catch by a fish or two.
Humphreys, who likes to spin a good yarn, many of which are unprintable, is an ethical guide who declines taking customers out if he can't provide them with the success they're seeking. The volatile weather and the amount of fresh water dropped in area fisheries over the past month has therefore played havoc with his guiding business. He's turned down what believes is several thousand dollars in trips. The missed days on the water haven't been all bad, however. They've enabled him to spend time at home with wife Lora, who has been in a six-month recovery from surgery.
He's also got a grandson playing football for Class 1A's top-ranked team, the Haynesville Golden Tornado, although he hasn't seen him play.
Humphreys didn't have to embellish much on his trip, since the fishing was about as perfect as it could be. A bit of cloud cover throughout the morning on a mid-60 degree day offered a steady stream of fish. A two-pound crappie and a colorless bream added a diversion from the 40-plus white bass hauled into the well-adorned Bass Cat as it idled around the middle of the lake.
Information from: The Times, http://www.shreveporttimes.com