Mobile-Tensaw: A treasure trove for bassers

Alabama’s Mobile-Tensaw Delta is an environmental showcase that also offers excellent fishing for largemouth and Coosa River spotted bass. It totals 48,234 acres, nearly half of which is water.

Our nation’s second largest river delta, Mobile Tensaw contains a vast marsh, cypress-tupelo swamp and bottomland hardwoods. More than 50 rare and endangered plant and animals inhabit this ecosystem.

Alabama Elite Series pro Matt Herren began fishing the Mobile Delta in 1997. He has since competed in several major bass tournaments here and pocketed substantial winnings while doing so.

If you fish the Mobile Delta in November, Herren recommends that you concentrate north of the I-65 bridge, especially where the Tensaw and Alabama Rivers join forces.

“That’s where the majority of the tournaments are won,” Herren says. “You can fish the oxbows in the fall, but the main river stretches are typically the deal then.”

Autumn fishing is not as good south of I-65 due to the saltwater intrusion that typically pushes farther up the delta during the dry summer months, Herren points out. Because this is a tidal fishery, the bass move about more than in a reservoir, Herren adds.

“The last 2 hours of an outgoing tide is prime time,” Herren emphasizes. “That’s when you want to be fishing anywhere a ditch, drain or tributary flows into the main channel.”

Once you find a spot like this that holds a school of bass, you can count on them being there day after day and feeding heavily and the end of the falling tide.

“They’re so predictable you can put a clock on them,” Herren says.

Also run your lures past stumps, boulders or any other cover in shallow water that the bass can duck behind to avoid the tidal flow. Go-to baits for Herren include Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper and a 3/8-ounce Santone Got 5 spinnerbait sporting tandem gold willowleaf blades and a gold skirt.

“One of the best baits on the Mobile Delta, and on any tidal water in the country, is the Bandit 200,” Herren opines. “I fish it on 15-pound line because the bass are extremely shallow.”

Herren claims that this shallow running crankbait is durable enough to hold up to the toothy saltwater species you invariably catch while bass fishing the Delta. A pearl or shad pattern does the job when the water is clear. Go with a chartreuse pattern in stained water.