Outdoor Corner: East Ascension Sportsman's League Kids Rodeo July 27

Lyle Johnson
Kaycee used a 6" Zoom finesse worm to trick her biggest bass of the day, caught in the lily pads.

It's that time of the year again for the kids to take their positions along the banks of the two lakes at Twin Lakes in Dutchtown for the 58th annual East Ascension Sportsman's League Kids Fishing Rodeo.

I'm 66 years old so that means I was eight years old when they started, and I probably fished the first one. Some of my first memories of fishing were at the Kids Rodeo. Since that time my children took part in these special events.

I chaired the rodeo for four years. My son Wesley followed my footsteps as a chairman, as well. Some of my grandchildren have taken part in the fun while visiting from out of state. I guess you could call it a family affair.

So just who's eligible to fish this 5-star event? It's open to the public and East Ascension Sportsman's League membership is not required. That means any kid from age 2 through age 14 may participate, and there are no fees involved.

If you're going to bring your kids, stop and think of a neighbor, friend, and most of all a single mom that might need a morning off with her kid or kids and bring them along as well. You never know how much a small act of kindness means to people. They might really need it!

Here's the skinny about how things are going to go. The registration takes place from 6:30 - 7:00 a.m. The fishing cranks up at 7:00 with vehicle horns blowing. Horns will signify the end at 9:00.

The kids can use a cane pole or rod and reel using natural or live bait. The Sportsman's League will provide crickets, but you can bring any other live bait. The best way to store the fish caught is to bring a bucket to put your fish in for the weigh-in. All fish caught count, no matter how small. Turtles or other things you might catch, will not be weighed in, only fish.

Some of the world's best jambalaya will be served along with the always-crowd-pleasing hot dogs to eat after fishing while the fish are being weighed and tallying the results of the catch. Trophies will be awarded for the biggest fish and most fish in each age category. Also, we will be giving bikes to a boy and a girl in each age category. Every child registered will receive a door prize.

The importance of taking the time to bring a youngster cannot be overstated. Kids will always be attracted to the time that somebody spent with them. Time is the most important thing we possess in life, and we all have the same amount. So, when you spend time with someone (in this case a kid) you're actually spending part of your life with them.

I had the privilege of taking a couple kids fishing a couple of weeks ago even though they have children of their own now. My daughter, Kaycee and her best friend from childhood, Jana Corona requested a fishing trip which I was more than glad to oblige.

The excitement started a couple of days before our trip, which took place the Friday after July 4. Their conversations were like back in the day when they were kids living on Old Jefferson Hwy where they grew up. So by the time we pushed off the pier that morning they were laughing and giggling like they were eight years old again.

The conditions to catch fish were nearly picture-perfect as the tide was falling, which means that the bass would be feeding. Our first stop was fruitless, not producing even a bite, so I was a little concerned. But that concern didn't last too long as my first cast on our next stop with a bladed jig ended with a scrappy largemouth choking it down.

Kaycee landed one on a plastic worm, and Jana caught one on a crank bait. But after that all the action came on plastic baits in a variety. The falling tide just got stronger and the bite continued as we fished. Most of the fish came in the lily pads, just out of the current. We ended up catching 23 bass, the largest about 3-and-a-half pounds.

Our success in catching the fish was way up there, but it wasn't the best result of the day for me. It was the time I spent with those two girls and soaking in the fun they were having being together again like back when they were kids. Money can't but those types of memories that will never leave my mind for the rest of my days.

Equally important was the memories Kaycee and Jana created for themselves. Some of the greatest reflections we have when our family gets together are those that start off with, "Daddy, do you remember when?" Then fill in the blank with a great memory that was created from a past experience.

We'll all have the opportunity to do just that, create a lifetime memory if we can bring a kid to the Sportsman's League Kids Fishing Rodeo. It will all be done around 11:00 a.m., so you won't be spending that much time to possibly change a kid's life forever. We'll see you out there.

Another event just around the corner is the annual Ascension Area Anglers Open Team Tournament, held Saturday August 17 at Doiron's in Stephensville. The tournament will be helping Howard Hartley and Justin Hymel with the BASS Nation Championship expense as well as local organizations such as Fishing for Tucker and Anything Outdoors. For all the info contact Ryan Lavigne at 225-921-9332.

By the time you read this, the storm will have come and gone. I pray we've all made out ok. So until next time 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 Gonzales Fire Dept on Orice Roth Road starting at 7 p.m. A meal served and special speaker will be in attendance.

Wednesday Evening Bass Tourney: Every Wednesday at Canal Bank from 5 p.m. until dark. Fee $40/boat, one time registration fee of $40 going toward the Classic Tournament. Weekly event through spring, summer. Call Canal Bank for information. 225-695-9074

CCA Louisiana S.T.A.R. Fishing Rodeo: May 25 thru Sept 2 summer-long CCA Louisiana saltwater fishing event. Tagged Redfish, Offshore, Inshore, Ladies & Children's divisions. Registration required. Must be CCA member. Website: ccastar.com.

HWY 1 Slamboree Kayak Tournament: July 20 at Topwater Marina, Leeville. Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club event. Open to public. Fee $35. Artificial tackle only. Heaviest combination of slot red, speckled trout, 12-inches minimum flounder, Leopard Red. Minimum top 5 payout. Website: lafayettekayakfishing.com.

EASL Kid's Fishing Rodeo: July 27 at Twin Lakes in Dutchtown. Registration at 6:30 a.m., fish from 7 to 9 a.m. weigh-in after. Door prizes for all kids, bike giveaways, trophies, donuts, hot dogs and jambalaya. Open to the public and there is no charge. All info at www.easlonline.org

Ascension Area Anglers Open Tournament: August 17 at Doiron's Landing in Stephensville. Pick your partner, entry fee $100 per team, 75 percent payback. Call Ryan Lavigne for info 225-921-9332.

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