Bass fishing is my kind of March Madness

Lyle Johnson
Lyle Johnson

Usually when one hears the words March Madness it generally includes talk about a ball of some sort that 10 guys or gals circle around, try to get from or keep from half of the other people with different color shirts and lots of running involved. But there is one word that I recognize in that game.; Net.  I’ve heard one guy on TV call it “string music.”

My favorite kind of string music takes place when a big fish is pulling so hard that the string on my reel goes out with the sound. Zzzzztt, zzzzztt, zzzzztt. Or like “get the net,” when I’m reeling in a big fish. So my kind of March Madness usually revolves around water, rods & reels, new baits and fish, preferably big ones.

The doldrums of winter are fading away and the outdoors is putting on its new wardrobe. Trees and grass are turning green and things under the water are heating up. That’s right. as the water temperature slowly increases those cold-blooded creatures of the deep begin their spring rituals.

Romance is in the air (I mean water) and it’s time to hit the water in search of our finned friends.

Male bass have been cruising the shallows looking for a suitable place that will serve as a nest. He cleans it up in his attempt to lure a female that will drop some of her eggs so he can fertilize them. They become easier to catch as both male and female defend the nest from any intruder.

Things are probably a little thin around home but two giant female bass over 10 pounds have been caught in the Lake DesAllemands area. Some early season bass tournaments have already recorded very hefty weights and good reports have been coming in from the Atchafalaya Spillway and Lake Verrett areas.

Redfish and speckled trout will be making the transition from the marshes out to some deeper water for their spawning rituals so sometimes March can be a sort of slow month. But in a few weeks those monster trout will be back on the bridges of Lake Ponchatrain feeding heavily in preparation for their romantic rendezvous.

April and May will bring on the beginning of the panfish extravaganza with the males getting the nests ready. But bluegills and chinquapin do their thing in an underwater commune. They reproduce in large community nesting areas so if you find the nest your success ratio goes way up. This is the best time to introduce a youngster to fishing as their attention span can be short lived unless they stay occupied and what could be better than doing it fishing.

While we’re talking bass fishing there’s a couple of annual bass tournaments that have been around for a while worth mentioning. The Dreams Come True Bass Classic is a fundraising fishing tournament held every year. Dreams Come True of Louisiana, Inc., a non-profit organization that grants dreams to children in Louisiana with life-threatening illnesses, 94 percent of all the funds raised throughout the year go to this mission. The tournament this year will be held at Doiron’s Landing Stephensville, on March 7.

There is a $10,000 first place guaranteed payout, $2,500 guaranteed for big bass and a fishing trip to Lake El Salto in Mexico with Ron Speed that will be given away for a door prize for all contestants. Contact Brad Rodrigue at (985) 209-0722 and Gary Cross at (225) 938-1808 or just visit for all your tournament information.

On the same weekend the Children’s Miracle Network Bass Classic will be hosted at the St James Boat Club on Airline Hwy in Gramercy. This tournament has a guaranteed first place prize of $5000 and will pay 20 places based on 100 boats entered in the event.

The Children’s Miracle Network provides medical treatment for youth in our area with serious medical conditions that couldn’t otherwise be afforded by the families. The Louisiana Logging Council and the OLOL Foundation host this event every year. You can call (225) 765-5951 or log on to for all your tournament info.

The following week, March 13-15, Lamar Dixon Expo Center will play host to the Louisiana Sportsman’s Show. Even with the expected closure of the host location, event promoter Bob Del Giorno states, “While it looks as though the Lamar Dixon Expo Center will be closing its doors, any closure won’t take place until June,” said Del Giorno.  “This year’s show will absolutely go on as scheduled.  We plan to give the Expo Center a great ‘goodbye’ with our best show yet.”

The heart of the Sportsman’s Show will always be hunting and fishing. This year’s show features hundreds of booths filled with everything for outdoor pleasure including the largest and newest selection of sport fishing, boat, and hunting equipment from national manufacturers. 

New entertainment exhibits this year include the Sportsmen’s Lumberjack Competition, featuring log rolling, log cutting and more, and the thrilling Maximum Velocity BMX Competition, featuring gravity defying stunts by BMX performers. Log on to for all your info.

This year’s Louisiana Sportsmen’s Show and Festival Grand Prize drawings will be for one of two handcrafted LSU and Saints party pirogues from “Paw Paw’s Pirogues.”

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 truly bless you.