OUTDOOR CORNER: Children’s Miracle Network Bass Classic a smashing sucess

Lyle Johnson
Wesley Johnson and Lyle Johnson with four of their five bass strigner taken during the Children’s?Miracle Network Bass Classic at Lake Cataouatche that weighed 15.82 pounds.

This past weekend was one of the most enjoyable I’ve spent in quite a while. Not so much for what was done but more about who it was done with.

My grandchildren have migrated south from Fairbanks, Alaska. They left sub-zero temperatures and have traded in the cold for our very warm spring weather we’ve been having. Pretty good trade, huh?

Both Canaan and Isabella couldn’t wait to do some fishing which is pretty much music to the ears of their paw paw. Canaan is five years old, has caught his first fish a couple of years ago and is a pretty decent fisherman in his own right. Bella is three and is ready to catch her first fish.

As soon as the weather co-operated and we had a couple of hours to spare, the crew headed to a local pond to test the two young angler’s abilities. We figured the perch would be hungry and ready to eat, so we opted to use easy bait. Wieners. No mess and no trouble to put on the hook.

Armed with her princess pole, a cork and a small piece of hot dog on the business end it took only a matter of about a half a minute when she caught her first fish. Now she’s tough as nails and didn’t have any problem hooking or landing the fish but when it got within an arm’s reach she wanted nothing to do with the slimy critter on the end of her line. I was pretty shocked.

Canaan had no such problem. He caught about 20 or so of the bream and had to hold each one of them as they either were released to swim again or put in the bucket in hopes of some fried fish later that night. When all things were said and done, they caught 11 blue gills that were big enough for the frying pan. Maw maw Deborah took care of the frying chores after paw paw scaled the catch. Could it get any better?

Well the next morning 3:30 came really early as I was to meet my son, Wesley in town to head down to St James Boat Club to join with 152 other teams to participate in the Children’s Miracle Network Bass Classic.

After checking in with tournament officials, we headed to Lake Cataouatche with a lot of other teams for some of the hottest bass fishing anywhere in the south right now. After the short ride from Pier 90 we arrived to see a sight I’ve never experienced before. The scene looked like the Sulphur Mine on a winter day. Boats everywhere.

We headed to a spot that a fellow angler put us on, but it was the same thing; boats everywhere. After a couple of hours and only an 11” fish we couldn’t even keep a decision was made to head to a few spots I’d caught fish before, away from the crowd somewhat.

Five minutes passed by after our first stop and Wesley landed a keeper and our adrenaline began to kick in somewhat. A few minutes later, another keeper and we really got excited. I then landed our big fish of the day, a 4.76  pounder beauty that really kicked in our afterburners.

The rest of the day went really came together. Every move we decided to make was the right decision as we filled our five fish limit at the first spot and culled up four or five times at the next two spots. The first move paid off with a four pounder Wesley caught and the next move produced a nice bass a little over three pounds.

It was a great day on the water and our five bass limit weighed a respectable 15.82. Next stop. The weigh in at St James Boat Club to see how our catch stacked up against the rest of the competitors.

As we arrived we could tell that this would be special day. The parking lot was full of cars loaded with spectators and angler teams were hauling fish to the scales. Over 1000 people were on hand to participate in the festivities.

When the dust settled the team of Chris Waguespack and Jason Tastet took 1st place honors and a $5,000 check with a whopping, five bass string that came from Lake Cataouatche weighing in at 20.28. Second place went to Ryan Wooten and Brian Boudreaux with a limit at 18.18, while third went to David Bourdonnay and Chris Valentine with 17.26.

Rounding out the top ten; were fourth, Neil Whitam and Jimmy Roberts 16.86, 5th Mark Gordon and Preston Hollier 16.84, 6th Jason Pourciau and Brett Sellars 16.48, 7th Gerald  andJason Cryer 16.02, 8th Wesley and Lyle Johnson 15.82, 9th Corey Wheat & Dave Cavell 15.72 and 10th went to Roy Laborde & Donald Duke Jr 15.70. Big Bass honors went to father and daughter team of Timothy and Lindy Bourgeois whopper that weighed 8.54, also from Lake Cataouatche.

This was a great tournament as always as over $70,000 was raised to benefit the Children’s wing of Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. All the stats as well as photos of the event can be found at So remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. Until next time have fun in the outdoors, be safe and may God truly bless you!!

Canaan Watts with bream caught while fishing with Paw Paw Lyle Johnson.