Outdoor Corner: Fishing for Tucker Bass Classic

Lyle Johnson

This years’ hunting seasons are a long way from being over, but the shift to bass fishing, especially the circuit of charitable bass tournaments, may have many anglers itching to hit the water.

Plenty of our local anglers take time off of the water to spend some of it in the woods or marshes hunting for their favorite animal or bird. But when Jan. 1 hits, the fishing bones get to stirring for those who took a break.

Adam Cook and Heather Stafford caught these beauties fishing in Lake Verret on Jan. 9 flipping vegetation with brush hogs.

One of the things that has always impressed me is our area anglers pull together like the rest of our local communities to support these very worthy causes. Usually, no matter what the weather might throw, these guys and gals turn out in force for some heavy competition and money-raising for folks in need.

One of the most popular events and usually the first one on the schedule is “Fishing for Tucker.” This tournament is in its 11th year and has become one of the most popular tournaments of the season. Saturday, Feb. 6, marks the date of the 11th annual Fishing for Tucker Bass Classic hosted out of Doiron’s Landing in Stephensville.

Tucker Townsend was a preemie, born at 27 weeks gestation, weighing just 1 pound and 11 ounces. That’s about the same size and weight of a 14-inch bass. He spent over 8 months in the NICU at Woman's Hospital and went home with a tracheotomy tube, ventilator and a feeding tube.

Tucker has many health problems because of his premature birth, such as developmental delay, autistic characteristics, GI issues, and microcephaly. These issues led his parents to seek out mitochondrial testing, which led to a diagnosis of a Mitochondrial Depletion Syndrome in July 2010.

Tucker gets very frustrated because he cannot express himself, which leads to him grinding his teeth (which will have permanent damage if he continues) and also pulling his hair and needing anxiety medicine. 

The more that he can talk, the less that he displays these other behaviors and needs the interventions. The ABA Program started in June 2011, and this program has completely changed Tucker. His behavior has improved dramatically, and he has started talking all the time! The ABA Program has allowed the family to "unlock" the Tucker that has been there all along.

Cody Watts has been hunting this buck all year. Finally in the right place at the right time to kill this 12 point, 170-pound buck with his 7mm mag at 80 yards Jan. 10 in the morning in Fort Adams, Miss.

Because of Fishing for Tucker, Tucker’s parents have been able to fly in an ABA Feeding Specialist from Philadelphia several times a year that has helped Tucker go from eating no food by mouth to eating 100 percent by mouth. Thanks to this program, in 2014 Tucker got his feeding button removed. 

He had three surgeries in 2014, as his body has a hard time healing.  Thanks to Fishing for Tucker, Tucker's parents were able to care for him and help him to heal without having to worry about the cost of the necessary surgeries. 

He’s made great strides in his health and everyday life in general. A lot of this progress has been funded by this bass tournament and all of the folks who sponsor and participate in the event. The Ascension Area Anglers Bass Club has taken the privilege and responsibility of putting on the “Fishing for Tucker Townsend” open bass tournament.

The registration fee and payout will remain the same; $100 per team. The payout will be 75 percent to the anglers, 25 percent to the event. The payout for the first place team will be determined by participation; $1,000 with 50 teams registered and $2,000 for 100 teams and $500 will be awarded for Big Bass.

One very important change is there will be no Captain’s Meeting or Pre-Tournament Briefing for this event. Tournament rules, off-limits areas and any other special information will be posted online as well as at the check in table the morning of the tournament.

Anglers must launch at Doiron’s Landing either Behind the Store, Behind the Old Carwash, or on the Spillway Side). Trailering: Anglers are allowed to trailer their boats to switch sides between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. only.

Anglers will be allowed to switch sides of the levee once. Anyone switching sides must have their boats checked by a tournament official behind the store by the Pavilion prior to re-launching. Failure to have your boat checked prior to re-launching will result in automatic disqualification.

Boat numbers will be assigned in order of entries received.  We will have a traditional blast off with 25 boats per flight. Flight check-ins will be staggered in 15 minute intervals beginning with the 1st flight check in at 3 p.m.

You can get an entry form at www.fishingfortucker.com and any other information you might need. You can also email fishing4tucker@gmail.com or go to their Facebook page or by calling Ryan Lavigne at (225) 921-9332 or Eddie Hymel at (225) 610-9962. This is a great cause to support and have a good time fishing as well.

Ascension Area Anglers would like to invite anglers and the public out to help raise funds for Tucker Townsend. “We at Fishing for Tucker would like to personally thank our great sponsors, volunteers and most of all, the anglers who support us year in and year out. Without the continuous support of you anglers, our cause could not have

proven its success.”

?This is a true testament to the generosity and all around goodness of South Louisiana Fishermen and the South Louisiana Community as a whole. It has never been more clear that "No man ever stood so tall as when he stooped to help a boy."

A huge Thank You to everyone who has helped reach an impressive $173,704 donated for Tucker since the event's inception in 2011. So until next time, remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. Have fun in the outdoors, be safe and may God truly bless you!