Outdoor Corner: Fishing for Tucker Bass Classic opens tournament season

Lyle Johnson
The upside to rain and high water--catfish, and they are biting on night crawlers!

Our hunting seasons are a long way from ending but the shift to bass fishing, especially the circuit of charitable bass tournaments are kicking off. Plenty of our local anglers take time off of the water to spend some of it in the woods or marshes, hunting for their favorite animal or bird. But when January 1 hits, the fishing bones get to stirring for those who took a break.

Our area anglers pull together like the rest of our local communities to support these very worthy causes. Usually, no matter what the weather might throw, these guys and gals turn out in force for some heavy competition and money-raising for folks in need.

One of the most popular events and usually the first one on the schedule is “Fishing for Tucker.” This tournament is in its ninth year and has become one of the most popular tournaments of the season. The date for the early season event is February 2 and will be hosted again at Cabela’s in Gonzales.

Tucker Townsend was a preemie, born at 27 weeks gestation, weighing just 1 pound and 11 ounces. That’s about the same size and weight of a 14” bass. He spent over eight months in the NICU at Woman's Hospital and went home with a tracheotomy tube, ventilator, and a feeding tube.

Tucker has many health problems because of his premature birth, such as developmental delay, autistic characteristics, GI issues, and microcephaly. These issues led his parents to seek out mitochondrial testing, which led to a diagnosis of a Mitochondrial Depletion Syndrome in July 2010.

He’s made great strides in his health and in everyday life, in general. A lot of this progress has been funded by this bass tournament and by all of the folks who sponsor and participate in the event. The Ascension Area Anglers Bass Club has taken the privilege and responsibility of putting on the “Fishing for Tucker Townsend” open bass tournament.

There will be three launch sites: Doiron's (either side) in Stephensville, Belle River Public Landing in Belle River, and Bayside in Pierre Part. There will be no boundaries. All navigable waters accessible from these launch sites, open to the public are allowed in this event format.

The pre-start check-ins will start at 4 a.m. in the morning. The Pre-Tournament Angler Briefing will be held at Cabela’s on Thursday, January 31. The time to register begins at 6 p.m., and the meeting will commence at 6:45.

The payout for the first place team will be determined by participation: $1,000 with 50 teams registered, and $2,000 for 100 teams, and $500 will be awarded for Big Bass. You can get an entry form and any information you might need by emailing fishing4tucker@gmail.com or by calling Ryan Lavigne at 225-921-9332, or Eddie Hymel at 225-610-9962. This is a great cause to support and have a good time fishing as well.

There will be a kids fishing derby from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. for four age groups from 3 to 14 years old. Jambalaya will be available for $5 a plate and a bake sale that you just wouldn’t believe.

Ascension Area Anglers would like to invite anglers and the public out to help raise funds for Tucker Townsend. “We at Fishing for Tucker would like to personally thank our great sponsors, volunteers, and most of all the anglers who support us year in and year out. Without the continuous support of you anglers, our cause could not have proven its success.”

The next event on the schedule is a benefit tournament that will support Anything Outdoors Helping Kids. Bryce Hanna with La-BASS will be hosting an open, pick your partner bass rodeo on Saturday, February 16 at Doiron’s Landing in Stephensville.

The cost is very reasonable at $100 per team that includes $5 entry in the Big Bass pot. Seventy-five percent of the entry fees will go to the payout for the winners, and twenty-five percent will go to Anything Outdoors. Three places will be awarded for 24 boats or less. Twenty-five or over, five places will be awarded.

There will be no pre-tournament meeting, and sign up will be on the morning of the tournament. Find Bryce Hanna or La-Bass on their Facebook page if you have any questions.

The next event will take place the next day at Doiron’s Landing on Sunday, February 17. This tournament will be another open, pick your partner bass rodeo benefitting the LSU College Bass Fishing team.

The entry fee is $100 per team with a $20 fee for big bass side pot. Registration is on tournament morning, and the competition will be from safe daylight until 2 p.m. Fans and supporters are welcome, as there will be raffles for great prizes.

Come out and support our LSU Fishing Team at the 2nd annual event. The money raised will help to fund the angler’s travels across the southern part of the U.S. to represent LSU. Two of the teams have already qualified for the FLW national championship on the Potomac River in Maryland this June.

We will certainly have a very busy bass tournament season this year, so be on the lookout for the ones you could fish or support as a spectator on tournament day!

Rain! Man have you had enough? Although some folks have had some issues, we’ve actually been spared a really bad flood. The anxiety of hard rains and flooding are still very fresh on lots of minds since 2016.

I live on the water, so I understand the problems people could have with their concerns with high water. Unfortunately the news tends to hype things up on occasion that might add to the already heightened worries.

Along to listening to the weather forecasts and projections, there is a website that posts river stages that are very accurate. You can get to it by going to wafb.com and looking for river stages on the weather page.

That brings you to the National Weather Service page where you can scroll down to the Amite River. There are gauge readings for Denham Springs, Bayou Manchac, Port Vincent where you can see not only the current stages but the predicted stages as well. French Settlement and Maurepas have current stages only.

The gauge readings are updated every hour during rain events so they are very accurate and over time you can pretty much tell how high the backwater flooding will affect your location. These stage readings don’t predict flash flooding, so that’s very unpredictable.

Remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. Have fun in the outdoors, be safe, and may God truly bless you!

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 Highway 74 starting at 7 p.m. A meal served and special speaker will be in attendance.

APSO Shooting Range: The rifle range on St. Landry Road is open to the public year-round on the second and fourth Thursday of each month from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., or safe shooting light.

Squirrel season: Through Feb 28 daily bag limit 8 possession 24.

Rabbit season: Through Feb 28 daily bag limit 8 possession 24.

Quail season: Through Feb. 28, statewide, private lands only. Daily bag limit 10 possession 30.

Fishing For Tucker Bass Classic: Save the date! The 9th Annual tournament is scheduled for February 2, 2019 at Cabela's in Gonzales.

La-BASS Open Tournament: Feb 16 at Doiron’s Landing Stephensville, La. benefitting Anything Outdoors Helping Kids. $100 entry fee, register morning of tournament. See La-Bass on their Facebook page.

LSU College Bass Team Benefit Tournament: Feb. 17 at Doiron's Landing in Stephensville, La. benefitting LSU Fishing Team. $100 entry fee, register morning of tournament. See LSU Fishing Team on their Facebook page for info and entry form rules.

Need an event publicized? Contact Lyle at reelman@eatel.net