The Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association headed south to Houma for the annual conference and awards banquet last weekend.


The Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association headed south to Houma for the annual conference and awards banquet last weekend. The Quality Hotel served as headquarters, while providing some very nice accommodations and handled our banquet and meeting rooms as well.

Friday morning found 12 of us heading down Dularge Road until one could travel no more. Our destination was Captain Bill Lake’s lodge to meet him, Captains Ricky Brondum, George Landry and Travis Lovell for a morning of fishing in lower Dularge.

Captain Bill of Bayou Guide Service was our host for the day as me, Chris Holmes of the Louisiana Sportsman and Wendy Billiot of Casual Charters (www.bayouwoman.wordpress.com) boarded his Blazer Bay along with the other three boats and headed to Coon Point to try our fortune with bull reds for an early morning bite.

The wind was blowing a little and after somewhat of a bumpy ride, Captain Bill baited our lines with cracked crab on a Carolina rig. It took all of about 30 seconds for Wendy to hook up with a 34 pound bull that turned out to be our big fish of the day. Two minutes later, Chris and I both hooked up on redfish of our own and the “redfish shuffle” began as we maneuvered around to keep our lines untangled.

Ten minutes later, 75 pounds of redfish were flopping around the deck and we knew we were in for something special. The bite was on as every boat hooked up with the big bulls upon arrival. For about an hour, double and triple hook-ups were the norm for all four boats.

After 20 redfish or so and three sore arms, we decided to try for some speckled trout. Because of the west wind that had been blowing for some time, water conditions had not been the best and the spec bite was off. But they don’t call Captain Bill the “Guru of the D.U.” for nothing.

We headed for the east end of Coon Island and found a few fish and after putting 15 or so in the box we headed for Whiskey Pass to do some beach fishing in the surf. We were all using double rigs with bayou chubs and Berkley gulp in the purple/chartreuse or Cajun pepper colors.

Just like the redfish earlier, the specs were ready to accommodate the four angler’s quest for action. They were chasing shrimp and the birds were feeding as well. The action was pretty much non-stop for the next two hours and at 11 a.m. we left them biting after boating our limit of 100 trout. A shout out to Captain Bill Lake and his team; we all enjoyed a great morning on the water.
Later that night, we were treated by Angela Morehead and the Houma CVB to a welcoming reception that featured some great Cajun food that included gumbo, fried fish and some great bread pudding. We also got to experience a very unique Cajun/Zydeco group, the Treater Band.

On Saturday morning, we headed out to the Southern Shooting Center in Thibodaux for a morning of sporting clay and pistol shooting. The shooting center is a world class facility that offers five stand sporting clays, a walk through sporting clay course, along with pistol and archery bays.

They sport an air conditioned club house that you can step out of to your shooting stand that has a fan for each stand which made our shoot very enjoyable even though the temperature was smoking hot, like our gun barrels. Another unique event is their night shooting. On Tuesday and Thursdays, the five station facility runs from 4-9 p.m. and it’s lit up like a football stadium.
Southernshootingcenter.com will give you all the information you need.

The highlight of our conference is our awards banquet on Saturday night. The Annual Conference is always capped-off with our Awards Banquet on Saturday night. Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne will be the keynote speaker at the banquet.  He thanked Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association for our efforts with regard to promoting culture, recreation and tourism in Louisiana.

We also honor the male and female youth hunters of the year as well as the winners of our Youth Journalism Contest. We also award our fish of the year in rod and reel along with the fly rod division and we bestow our internal awards in a competition amongst some of the top journalists in our state.

Ben Broussard of Sulphur described taking a greenwing teal on his first duck hunt and it earned him the 12-year-old the Male Youth Hunter of the Year award. Megan Bowles, of Provencal, 13, won the Female Youth Hunter of the Year award for her description of her hunt that resulted in bagging an eight-point buck with an 80-yard shot with a muzzleloader.

A 6-pound-plus white bass from the Amite River caught by Corey Crochet shattered not only a state record, but earned an IFGA world record as well. An 8.17-pound sheepshead caught by Bennett deBoisblanc took the state’s top honors as 2010 state record. Crochet won Fish of the Year among the in the rod-and-reel categories. DeBoisblanc’s catch was taken on a fly rod.

The Junior Essay division winners were; First: Alexis Lang, 11, John Curtis Christian School (fifth grade), “Mourning Doves on my Porch.” Second: Cole Perilloux, 13, Harry Hurst Middle School (seventh grade), “Close Call Turkey.” Third: Brandon Favalora, 13, Harry Hurst Middle School (seventh grade), “The Fishing Trip Gone Wrong.” And fourth place went to Jayla Campbell, 13, North Vermilion High School (seventh grade), “Two days of Eeriness.”

The Senior Essay division winners were; First Amanda Wolff, 17, home schooled, “Mission: Defeat the Hiawatha.” Second: Emily Villa, 14, Ascension Catholic High, “A Morning on the Bayou.” Third: Ashley Davis, 14, Covington High School, “A Cow in the Bayou.” Fourth: Tyler Partridge, 15, Florien High School, “Dream Come True.”

Photography awards went to; First: Brittany Gosserand, 17, St. Michael High, “Baby King Fish.” Second: Nicole Marie Strickland, 15, Breaux Bridge High, “Lake Martin Sunset.” Third; Brooke Lee, 15, John Curtis Christian School, “Lady Brooke.” Fourth (tie): Lauren Leon, 15, Benton High, “Who Dat?” and Dakota Robicheaux, 17, Breaux Bridge High, “Lake Martin Cypress Fog.”

This certainly was a great night for our organization that capped off a great year. Remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. So until next time have fun in the outdoors, be safe and may God bless you.