Outdoor Corner: Bayou Bash for St. Jude

Lyle Johnson
Jaxon Gautreau was fishing with his dad, Tre on June 28th in a pond by their house when he landed this hammer using a red bug finesses worm.

Jacob Heath and Anything Outdoors Helping Kids will hold one of their annual fundraisers July 11 at the Gonzales Rec Center, 120 Irma Blvd., to benefit St Jude Children’s Hospital. The Bayou Bash will feature two opportunities to get involved with one of our local organizations to help kids with life-threatening diseases.

The birth of Anything Outdoors had its beginning when Renee and Jacob Heath’s son Preston was diagnosed with a very rare, life-threatening blood disorder called Severe Aplastic Anemia.  Severe Aplastic Anemia is a disease in which the bone marrow does not make enough red or white blood cells or platelets for the body.

Preston had six months of treatment at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital. But on May 13, 2010, the family learned that the treatment did not work as anticipated.  Preston’s doctors told his parents that his only hope would be a bone marrow transplant at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.

Preston received his life-saving bone marrow transplant on September 29, 2010, the day after his third birthday.  Preston had a lot of struggles after transplant with many viruses, graft vs. host, fevers, and all too many hospital stays to count. But after seven months Preston was able to return to Louisiana cured of his disease.

The help their family got from St Jude inspired the Heath family to give their time to help other kids and their families facing the same situation some hope to hold on to. The first event taking place that Saturday will be a Mini Pot Jambalaya Cook Off.

For a $50 entry, you can put your jambalaya cooking to the test against some of the best cooks around. Each entrant must supply their ingredients to fill a one quart pot, wood and utensils. The jambalaya must include 1 cup of pork, 1/2 cup of sausage and 1 cup of rice.

The other ingredients are limited to onions, red & black pepper, hot sauce, celery, garlic cooking oil, bell pepper and salt. No pre-mixed seasoning or flavor enhancers will be allowed. Cook time is from 3 to 5:30 p.m.

The winners will be announced at 6:30 p.m., just before the start of Part II of the Bayou Bash. You can get and entry form on Anything Outdoors Facebook page, call Tess Bourgeois or email tessbourgeois@yahoo.com.

When the clock strikes 7 p.m., Ryan Foret and Foret Tradition will take the stage to entertain the crowd until 11 p.m. with the purchase of a $20 ticket (must be 21 yrs old). You can get your tickets at www.eventbrite.com or call 225 910-8888 for all the information.

Anything Outdoors is a local charity that supports local causes along with helping St Jude. During COVID-19 and Crisis in America, Anything Outdoors has given out $5000 to support families in Louisiana. A great group to support that would appreciate your help at this time.

This past Friday, Goosie and I headed down south to Bayou Bienvenu to try our hand at some bass fishing. With the MRGO dammed off, the marsh in that area is much more freshwater than ever and holds a very healthy population of those “green trout” as they are known down there.

We put the boat in at Bait Inc. a little early so we were hanging around the dock when a gentleman was launching his bass boat when Goosie gave him a hand. He didn’t leave right away so naturally Goosie struck up a conversation with him.

The angler was scouting for a tournament on the next day as he’d been catching some nice fish. So I popped the question, “What area are you catching them in.” His reply was, “If I tell you, I’ll have to kill you,” lightheartedly.

But eventually he started pulling out his rods to show us the baits that were working for him. We got excited about the tips until everything he showed us happened to be nothing we had in our tackle boxes. What he did for us though was the size of the baits. They were much smaller than most of the stuff we use. We put that in the memory bank for the next trip.

Our first stop of the morning was not far away from our launching point but turned out fruitless, nada. The next location was a canal that had openings to the marsh with plenty of grass and the tide was falling pretty hard.

This seemed like the magic combination but soon became frustrating. I was using a frog and a Strike King Rage Tail Craw on top and getting plenty of action but never hooked up on a fish. Goosie caught 3 or 4 very small bass that left us scratching our heads.

But as usual, timing is very important in the marsh around tide change. We stopped at a familiar place and caught a handful of bass on worms. We picked around the area just fishing the banks and some piers and added 10 or so more fish to our catch. Then the tide stopped moving. “Oh, Oh,” I thought, “This is the end.” We had about a 30 minute lull when the tide began to come back in with a vengeance and the bite came back better than before.

We fished some more bank, some more piers and really concentrated on a few points, adding a crank bait and rattle trap to the repertoire of baits that helped our success. The crank bait produced the most nice fish we caught, a hand painted, Overcast Lure perch colored one was the best.

We ended the day with a very respectful catch of around 35 bass, 3 redfish (no keepers) 1 sheepshead, one bluegill and a catfish. So the old adage of the fish really turning on the last hour of the outgoing tide and the first hour after the switch is when the fish bite worked quite well for us that day. We left them biting.

All of this action can be seen on Ascension Outdoors TV on Eatel channels 4 & 704 and Facebook next month. You can catch us on YouTube as well. So until next time, remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. Be safe in the outdoors, have fun and may God truly bless you!

These paddles are the trophies that will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners of the Mimi Pot Jambalaya Cook Off at the Bayou Bash on July 11.