Ascension Parish hosts ‘Fishing for Tucker’ bass tournament

Lyle Johnson

Warm temperatures in mid-winter are just what the doctor ordered for big-time bass fishing leading up to the spawn.

Last weekend served up just those kind of conditions for the Fishing for Tucker bass tournament hosted at Cabela’s in Gonzales.

As the weekend got closer, temperatures weren’t going to be too cool at night and the afternoon highs were in the mid 60’s. The weather cooperated and so did Ascension Parish. Folks started lining up for the jambalaya before it was even ready to serve and excitement filled the air as anticipation of the weigh-in built up the closer it got to 2 p.m.

The 74 teams of bass anglers and the fish didn’t let anyone down as the task of putting all those bass on the scales to determine the winners got under way. Up to the task was weigh master for the event, Ryan Lavigne and the steady parade of teams got underway at 2:30 p.m.

When the team of Jason Pourchiau and Brett Sellars approached the platform, the bag of bass they brought in caught everyone’s eye. You could tell that this weight would be very special. I watched the digital scale numbers fluctuate up and down as the live fish jumped around a little; it settled on 22.36. What an awesome catch!

Asked if he had a big one to weigh, Jason calmly replied “Yes” and lifted a giant female bass that pushed the scales to 8.88 pounds; a very big fish for south Louisiana. But these two guys aren’t unfamiliar to winning big tournaments around the team fishing events held in our area.

The Sellars/Pourchiau team has won the St Jude and Children’s Miracle Network tournaments as well. “We fish so well together, we read each other’s minds,” stated Pourchiau. “Heck, our wives were pregnant at the same time.”

This was an open site tournament, so each team could fish in any public waters in the state and the winning pair chose Old River in Pointe Coupee Parish. “We fish Old River some in the winter and we know what lives there, stated Sellars, “It set up just right because the Mississippi is still low.”

Their weapon of choice this day was a black/blue Slam Dunk jig tipped with a Zoom Speed Craw. “We pitched our jigs to piers and wood and only had six bites all day,” Sellars continued. “The first one was only 12 or 13 inches and we threw it back because we knew that size wouldn’t win anything today.”

At 11:00 o’clock their live well held only four fish but their weight was a respectable 14 pounds. A decision was made to head to some tree tops they knew about in about 10 to 12 feet of water and work them over to catch their limit fish.

As the boat slowed, Sellars spotted two twigs sticking out of the water about as big as your thumb. The water was a little shallower but he pitched his jig to them and felt a tap. “We both knew on the hook set that it was big,” Sellars beamed, “Jason got the net without either of us saying a word.”

With very little fan fare or messing around, the brute was in the net, in the live well and both guys had to sit down for a while. “This was our best tournament fishing day ever,” said Pourchiau, “Things really came together.” Their catch netted the pair the $1400 first place check (which they donated half of it back) and the first place big bass pot for $500.

The rest of the top five were; 2nd—David Cavell and Corey Wheat with 18.06 and the 2nd place big bass that weighed 5.28. Spenser Gremillion and Patrick Rachel brought in the 3rd place stringer that weighed 17.80. Chris and Julian Day caught 16.66 for 4th place and Tim Carmouche and partner Nathan Bourque landed 16.60 for 5th place.

Of course all this excitement was generated by the star of the show, Tucker Townsend. He was born at 27 weeks and weighed only one pound eleven ounces and his medical problems have been staggering. The fisherman and the folks in our area brought their “A” game and raised over $18,000 for the family. Next year will be even better!

There’s another little tournament just around the corner, the Bassmaster Classic in New Orleans on Feb. 18 through Feb. 20. This is setting up to be one of the best ever Classics as far as weights are concerned. Nothing much should change weather wise and the Mississippi shouldn’t rise much so the big fish catching should continue, possibly eclipsing the all-time weight record (56-02) of Luke Clausen set at Lake Toho in 2006.

Our local, home town favorite, Greg Hackney will be the only angler representing Louisiana, so the pressure will be on for him to do well and he’ll do just fine. We’ll have a more in-depth report of the Classic and the favorites next week.

On BassFan.com, a survey was taken on the anglers’ favorite, non-fishing standpoint and the outcome was nearly unanimous; the food! "The thing about the New Orleans area, and I've said this many times, is you can get better food in a convenience store there than you can in the restaurants in most other places," said Mark Davis. "Those folks just know how to cook food."

Look into making a trip to New Orleans on one of the days. It will be great. 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.