Good luck in the AOY race!

Gonzales angler Gerald Spohrer caught 15 smallmouth bass that weighed 58-05 in the final Bassmaster Elite Series event of the 2018 season. That finish earned him 74 points in the Angler of the Year competition and puts him in the 19th spot in the final standings with 565 points.

On the first day, Spohrer weighed in a whopping 22-15 stringer of St. Lawrence River smallmouth bass and the 21st spot. There were an incredible 52 stringers that topped the 20-pound mark on day one.

On day two 19-09 hit the scales and Spohrer held 27th place. Thirty-four more stringers topped the 20-pound mark. On day three 15-13 hit the scales. That kept Spohrer in the top 50 in 30th place and earned him $10,000 dollars.

"We finished up the season with a 37th-place finish on the St. Lawrence river," Spohrer said. "That pretty much secures us a Bassmaster Classic position. All we have to do is catch one bass at the AOY championship."

Good luck in the AOY race!

Father-and-son team win Ascension Area Anglers Tournament

On a hot-and-humid, probably pretty-normal day for south Louisiana, 55 boats battled the heat and the fish, hoping to come to the weigh-in with five bass big enough to take home the first-place payoff of $1000 dollars.

The father-son team of Ronnie and Corey Salvadras beat the heat and the rest of the crowd at the scales behind Doiron’s Landing with a five-bass limit, pushing the scales to a whopping 16.14 with a big bass of 4.44.

Bringing the 2nd-place string to the scales was the team of Beau Fitch and Jeff McMorris. Their tally was five bass that weighed in at 15 even and earned the team a check for $750 dollars. In 3rd place was the duo of Lonnie Boudreaux and Gary Haney with a five-bass limit for 14.01 and a check for $600 dollars.

Close behind the 3rd-place finishers was the team of Steven and Eric Rockweiler, taking 4th place with five bass weighing 13.24 and a $400-dollar check. In 5th place was the team of Shane O’Daniel and Duane Pittman with five fish weighing 12.74 and a $350-dollar pay-off.

Rounding off the top 11 teams was 6th-place Jason Hutchinson and Daniel Bryant with five fish at 12.73 for $300 dollars; 7th--Dennis Martinez and Cody Fall caught five fish and 12.14 for $200 dollars; 8th--Dale Lamendola and Vance Gautreaux caught five fish and 12.11 for $175 dollars; 9th--Malcolm Smith and Casey Millet caught five fish and 11.82 for $125 dollars; 10th--Willie and Warren Couch caught five fish and 11.75 for $125 dollars; and 11th--Dylan Tempanaro and Vick Calvaruso caught five fish and 11.73 for $100 dollars.

After expenses to host the event, the Ascension Area Anglers raised a total of $4,584 dollars. Local angler, David Cavell, vying for a spot in the Bassmaster Classic, will receive a check for $2000 dollars toward Bass Nation tournament fees, along with a couple of other anglers. The remainder will go to charitable organizations like Fishing for Tucker and Anything Outdoors Helping Kids.

Unusual but not surprising

I’ve been “on the water” most of my 65 years mostly fishing, but sight-seeing and pleasure riding are in the mix as well. I’ve enjoyed my time on the water, especially now that I live on the Diversion.

I often fish at night on our pier. There are things that don’t go "bump in the night," but they go "splash in the night." I can hear splashes that sound larger than a human jumping in the water almost every night. Very large garfish are present, along with the occasional alligator. I saw one on Thursday morning over eight feet long. Believe me, there’s big stuff out there we don’t ever see.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) have called for a manatee watch around coastal areas of our state as sightings have increased this summer. These marine mammals migrate from Florida to Louisiana during summer months.

The department has placed caution signs at boat launches throughout South Louisiana advising boaters to be aware of West Indian manatees. If you haven’t noticed there is a manatee sign at Hilltop Inn’s boat launch, as they have been sighted this far north before.

The caution signs are located from Cameron and Calcasieu Parishes in Southwest Louisiana across the state to St. Tammany, St. Bernard, and Plaquemines Parishes in Southeast Louisiana. Manatees have been seen in Louisiana marshes, as well as freshwater rivers and lakes in the southern part of the state.

The West Indian manatee is a federally threatened species. It is illegal to touch, harass or harm them. Manatees were down-listed from an endangered species to a threatened species in 2017 because of an increase in manatee populations and the success of conservation and habitat restoration efforts.

"Our primary concern is manatees being injured by boat propellers," LDWF's Endangered Species Biologist Keri Lejeune said. "Manatees are slow-moving, curious animals. If a manatee is spotted while boating, boaters should idle and disengage propellers until the animal is at a safe distance and out of harm's way.”

The manatee caution signage will help alert boaters and the public that manatees can be found in Louisiana waters and provides contact information to report sightings to LDWF.

West Indian manatees do not live in Louisiana year round. They are a transient species in Louisiana and native to Florida. They periodically travel along the northern Gulf Coast from Florida during the summer months toward Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas and may spend some time during the summer in Louisiana.

Manatees need warm water to survive and do not thrive well in water temperatures below 68 degrees for extended periods of time. Manatees that travel to Louisiana should begin the journey back to Florida in early fall. In our area, the sometimes friendly mammals frequent Flat Lake to feed on the easily attainable, underwater growth there.

Any manatee sighting information, with pictures and video footage, if possible, should be reported to LDWF's 24-hour hotline at 1-800-442-2511 or to Endangered Species Biologist Keri Lejeune, at klejeune@wlf.la.gov.

Sighting information allows LDWF biologists to track waterways in Louisiana that are used by manatees and to respond promptly if a manatee is injured and for potential rescue efforts. Be on the look-out, you never know what you might see out there.

Lyle Johnson is a free-lance writer, co-host of Ascension Outdoors TV and Curator of the Louisiana State Fish Records. He can be contacted at reelman@eatel.net.

Outdoor Calendar

EASL Monthly Meeting—3rd Monday every month, East Ascension Sportsman’s League meeting held at Chef KD’s on Hwy 74 starting at 7 p.m. A meal served and special speaker will be in attendance.

Ducks Unlimited Banquet—Sept 6, Annual DU Banquet held at Lamar Dixon Expo Center 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. Call Paul at 504-481-0878, or Alden at 225-235-1062 for info. www.ducks.org

AO Kids Fall Fest—Sept 15, Anything Outdoor Helping Kids Fall Fest fundraiser will be held at the Knights of Columbus Hall. $5 entry. Food & drinks, silent auction, a blood drive vendor booths and plenty of fun for the kids. A cook-off for mini & reg pot jambalaya, along with four live bands including Kenny Cornett will perform. Find them on Facebook for all the info.

CCA Ascension Banquet—Sept 20, Lamar Dixon Expo Center, starting at 5:30 p.m. for social gathering. Dinner and auction to follow. Contact Nolan Rynerson at 225-952-9200 or www.ccalouisiana.com.

Delta Waterfowl Banquet—November 2, Lamar Dixon Expo Center, starting at 6 p.m. with dinner starting at 7:30. Contact Kristen Latiolais at 225-315-3023 or email kristen.latiolais@la.gov