The Bassmaster’s Federation Nation Championship will be held next week out of Shreveport-Bossier City on the Red River October 27-29.

The Bassmaster’s Federation Nation Championship will be held next week out of Shreveport-Bossier City on the Red River October 27-29. Jamie Laiche from right here in our hometown will be competing in this event for the third time in his career.

Because the championship will be on the Red River that sort of makes Laiche the home-state favorite. And if he’s successful in the championship, he’ll qualify to compete on home waters again in the 2011 Bassmaster Classic, which is set for Feb. 18-20 on the Louisiana Delta out of New Orleans.

The Red River event will be Laiche’s third time in “the Nationals,” as many Federation members refer to their championship. He was successful in 2007 in qualifying for the 2008 Classic, and now he’s looking for his second trip to the tournament to beat all tournaments.

He is only one of 55 entrants in next week’s Federation Nation event. They represent 47 states and six foreign countries. The overall champ will win a Skeeter/Yamaha bass rig valued at $60,000. The winners in each of six divisions will advance to the 2011 Bassmaster Classic.

But Laiche doesn’t have to beat the other 54 anglers; he only has to catch more fish in three days to outweigh the other eight contenders in the Central Division. “If I would make it to the Classic, I’d consider myself a local because the Classic’s Bayou Segnette launch site is about an hour from my house. I’ve fished that area quite a bit,” Laiche said.

“It could be on the very northern tip of the United States, and it would still be very cool to make it to the Classic. But being out of southern Louisiana, this Classic would be even more special to me,” said Laiche.

The road here hasn’t been all that easy for Jamie. Sandwiched between his first Bassmaster Classic and this great opportunity was a near career ending injury. After a 32nd place finish at Toledo Bend, Laiche was gearing up for the next event at Lake Sam Rayburn when an accident with a broken mirror at home nearly ruined his ability to fish at all.

When the dust settled in the emergency room he had cut his main artery to his hand, tendons to his thumb, middle and index fingers; and nerves to the top and bottom of his hand. Laiche had to miss the 2 remaining Central Opens and the Central Division Federation championship in Arkansas.

As soon as the doctor released him, Laiche removed his wrist brace and took to the water. “I suffered the most pain ever in my life. I made my casts right handed, then switched back to my left to work the plastics; then back to the right hand to set the hook. The rod then went under my left arm for strength and reeled the fish in with my right hand.” He’s recovered fully from the injury that sidelined him for many months. The remaining partial numbness of one hand doesn’t cramp his fishing, he said.

Laiche’s experience and success on the Red might help him. In 2008, he finished 10th in a Bassmaster Central Open there. He was also one of the six members of the winning team in the 2007 BASS Club World Championship held on the Red.

But fishing home water can be a disadvantage as well. Laiche could lose any Red River advantage he has if he can’t resist the impulse to “fish the past.” “We all have trouble with that when we’re fishing home water or water we know well,” Laiche said.

To come up to speed, he spent three long weekends on the Red before the Oct. 16 cutoff. “The river was fishing really tough,” Laiche said. “The water was a little lower than normal, and lower than I like it. I think the river fishes better when the water’s higher. The times I was there, there wasn’t much current. The bites were few and far between.”

Water level and current aren’t likely to change much for the tournament, he said, so water temperatures could rule the bite. If the water cools by tournament time, that could trigger a shad migration to shallower areas, and thus a better bass bite, he said.

He’s the only competitor from Louisiana, so Jamie Laiche is sure to get extra fan and media attention in Shreveport-Bossier City but I’m sure he’d appreciate us hometown folks pulling and praying for him. I for one would love to get to watch him compete in the Classic in New Orleans.

The 2010 Junior Bassmaster World Championship will be held on Cross Lake out of Shreveport-Bossier City as well on Oct. 29. The event will pair with the Federation Nation Championship and we have sort of a hometown interest in that event as well.

Matt Nobile of Paulina won the Central Division title back in May on Table Rock Lake and will fish for the Junior World Championship. So we have two anglers to be pulling for next week. Good luck to both of you guys! 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.