Outdoor Corner: On the Water

Lyle Johnson
Larry Lee caught this 13lbs 12ozs blue cat fishing in Lake Verret Friday 5/23/2020 in the cypress trees using night crawlers for bait.

The activity on the waterways has been way, way above normal during these past eight weeks. It was one of the few things folks could do to get outside and away from the abnormalities of our lives these days.

Some of the things we were missing were the afternoon bass tournaments. A few of them are getting back underway. Fred’s Friday evening tournaments will be starting up this Friday, May 29.

The check in will start at 4 p.m. and blast off at 5 p.m. Weigh-in times will change with days getting longer, so weigh in time will be announced during check in. As of now they will be about 8:15 pm. The entry fee will be $40 a boat, with $10 coming out for big bass.

There will be a $20 one-time membership fee that will go to the classic pay out. Rules for the tournament are pinned in the top of the group Facebook page. The only change this year in the rules is a drop in the dead fish penalty weight to .25 pound. Follow the event and get all the info on the Facebook page, Fred’s on the river Friday evening tournament.

Another is the Tuesday Evening Blind River Bass Tourney out of St James Boat Club in Gramercy. There is a one-time membership fee that is $20 that goes towards the end of the year Classic Tournament.

It’s fished every Tuesday. The entry fee for each tournament is $40 a boat and $5 towards the big bass pot. All anglers and boats must be checked in for 4:50 p.m. The take-off will be by boat number according to the order of sign in. There will be a payout place for every 5 entries. Keep up with all the info on their Facebook page Tuesday Evening Blind River Bass.

Another local event is the Tickfaw River Friday Evening Derby @ Boopalus on the Tickfaw River. Entry fees are $45 plus a $20 membership fee that’s paid once. Twenty tournaments will be fished, and then the 21st week is the Classic, which will be an all-day tournament. Anglers have to fish three tournaments to qualify for classic.

Some of the rules are; Each boat must consist of 1 Angler 16 year of Age or Older. 2 people max, but you can fish single. 2. All teams must pre-register before launching. 3. Boat checks/Registration will begin at 4 p.m. Blast off will be at 5 p.m. All boats must check-in at launch by 8 p.m. (Subject to change due to longer daylight). Visit the Facebook page “Tickfaw River Friday evening Derby @ Boopalus” for more information.

One of the big summer events is CCA Louisiana’s Star Tournament that runs this year from May 23 until Sept. 7. In 2020, CCA Louisiana STAR is celebrating its 26th year of competition and continues to be the largest saltwater fishing tournament in the state. During the competition, anglers compete for over $500,000 in prizes.

Since the tournament is meant to be a membership drive, it has a little something for all Louisiana Saltwater Anglers. Its signature division is the Tagged Redfish Division. CCA releases 100 tagged redfish each year, if you are in the tournament and catch one, you win!

The angler fortunate to catch the first tagged redfish wins a brand new Chevy Silverado. The angler that catches the 2nd tagged redfish caught wins: 33.9’ Keystone Passport RV. 3rd-5th tagged redfish caught win: 195XTS NauticStar with 115hp Mercury four-stroke and the 6th-10th tagged redfish caught win: 1754 GatorTail Extreme Series with 40hp EFI motor.

Another popular segment of the tournament is the speckled trout division. For the angler catching the heaviest overall speckled trout wins: 2140 Sport NauticStar with 150 hp Mercury four-stroke.

After that there are three winners in each division, East, Southeast, West and Southwest (map on website). The next three heaviest fish, one per division, wins a 195XTS NauticStar with 115 hp Mercury four-stroke engine. Each division second place angler wins a $5,000 tackle package and each division third place angler wins a $2,500 tackle package.

STAR also has many inshore and offshore divisions with great prizes up for grabs. In addition to all of the adult divisions, STAR has a great youth division as well. New Tide Members (CCA members 17 or younger) are able to enter the tournament free of charge.

Once they are registered, they can enter a trout and a flounder in four divisions across the Louisiana coast. At the end of the tournament there is random drawing that determines the four winners of new boat, motor and trailer packages.

Please don’t fall victim to the “old catch a tagged redfish and not be entered” category. It happens multiple times each year. Head to www.ccalouisiana.com for all of the information one could need to enter and participate in this great event!

The catfish are really tearing it up almost everywhere. Fishing for them under a cork has gained much popularity in recent years. Night crawlers are usually the ticket to catch plenty enough of them for a fish fry and sometimes some to put in the freezer too.

Lake Verret has been on fire for quite a while using the cork in the cypress trees. It’s two sister lakes are popular spots as well, Grassy Lake and Lake Palourde. Another real good hot spot is Lake Des Allemands near Chackbay.

The catfish have really been biting well in the Diversion Canal as well. The method to catch them is fishing with a rod and reel, tight lining on the bottom. The baits of choice have been shad, crawfish and of course, night crawlers.

It’s the peak of spawning time on the river so the action has been hot and heavy along the canal with fishing on the piers being very productive. Still lots of boat traffic as well so pay attention at all times for your and other’s sake, So until next time, remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard, be safe in the outdoors and may God truly bless you!!

Richard and Bradley Gautreaux--Richard and Bradley Gautreaux put a whuppin on these 87 catfish and 1 bream last Sunday in Lake Verret. The pair caught them using night crawlers under a cork fishing from 1-1/2 to 3 ft deep.