Outdoor Corner: Two tournaments

Lyle Johnson

Fight Like Hunter; One of the things that has always impressed me is the outpouring of giving to others displayed in south Louisiana. This is especially true in our tournament bass angler community that has developed over the past 20 years.

Here he is! 7 month old Hunter Richardson at his Christmas best already undergoing steroid treatments, chemotherapy and blood transfusions. Help the Richardson Family by participating in Fight Like Hunter bass tournament in some way.

Well, we’ll have another opportunity with a new family to help support through their health issues. The “Fight like Hunter” Bass Tournament (Brainchild of Brandon Sanchez) out of Boopalus in Springfield on the Tickfaw will benefit Hunter Richardson who was diagnosed with LCH (Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis) at one month of age.

Jodi and Ashlee Richardson is a married couple that was expecting their second child, so it wasn’t anything new as the pregnancy went about as normal as one could expect. “Other than coming in hot,” explained Ashlee, “It was all good. After my water broke, Hunter was on the table in 45 minutes. We didn’t even have time for the epidural.”

As any good mama would, she noticed a few small bumps around Hunter’s face. She was assured that they were nothing more than in-utero scratches. But the bumps multiplied and on his 1 month check up Ashlee’s concern level went up several notches and she convinced the pediatrician to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist.

After two weeks of further biopsy testing, the family was referred to a hematologist/oncologist and got the diagnosis. It was devastating to the family as could be expected.

Jodi, the father, a 250-pound man who at one time was used to wrestling alligators at C&M Alligator farm, was not prepared to wrestle this problem. He and Ashlee had to deal not only with the medical issues but the financial portion as well. That’s where Brandon Sanchez and the Fight Like Hunter benefit bass tournament comes in.

Hunter’s long term prognosis is pretty good as there is over a 90 percent survival rate for the Brath mutation he has. He is going through his first round of chemotherapy as the steroid treatment first prescribed wasn’t effective. He also has to have blood transfusions when his hemoglobin levels get low.

Hunter will have to undergo many scans (very costly) until the age of five. If after three rounds of chemo and any reoccurrence takes place there is a medication (Brath inhibitor) that he would likely have to take for the rest of his life.

So on Saturday, March 6, “Fight Like Hunter” Bass Classic will take place with a $140 entry with $20 towards Big Bass. There will be a 70/30 payout to the anglers that bring the winning weights to the scales. 5 bass limit with a 12’ minimum length. Two angler teams and singles will be allowed to compete.

Fishing will take place from safe daylight to the 3:00 pm and the scales will be open at 3:20 for the weigh in. There will be plenty of food, music and give-a-ways at launch during and after the weigh-in.. Contact Brandon Sanchez at 985 351-8522 or his Facebook page or the Fighting for Hunter page as well.

So there is still plenty of time to sign up and take part in this great event as a bass angler. You can also take part by coming to the weigh-in and donate by purchasing the good food, raffles and enjoy some good music. All the proceeds will be donated to the Richardson family.

Fishing for Tucker; Rain and wind met the 232 anglers (116 teams) last Saturday morning in Stephensville for the 11th annual Fishing for Tucker Bass Tournament. But that didn’t dampen the spirits of those anglers, the volunteers or spectators that would brave those conditions.

(L to R) Dustin Champagne and Sandy Gaudet pictured with their  winning stringer for this year's tournament with a weight of 18.36 lbs.

All the benefits from this tournament to the family of Tucker Townsend, son of Christopher and Leigh Townsend, is a 14-year old boy with Mitochondrial Disorder.  He was born at 27 weeks gestation, weighing just 1 pound and 11 ounces. 

Actually, the fish didn’t even notice it was raining, windy and cold. They participated very willingly. Although a few teams of anglers struggled, which is pretty normal, plenty of the teams found success using a variety of lures and techniques.

The team of Sandy Gaudet and Dustin Champagne fishing on the Spillway side took first place with a five-bass stringer that tipped the scales at 18.36 pounds, earning them a $2,250 payday. Coming in second place fishing in the Spillway was the team of Matt Davis and Kenny Gravette with a 5 bass limit that loaded the scales at 18.07 and a $1,500 payout.

In third place was Shawn Kramer and Kyle Blanchard with a five-bass limit that weighed 15.64 and a $900 payday that was donated back to Tucker. Chase Martinez and Wayne Simoneaux came in fourth place with a five-bass limit that weighed 15.51 for a $750 prize. And rounding out the Top Five was the team of Ty Patin and Tyson Mire with a five-bass limit that weighed 15.20 and a $525 payday.

Sixth through 10th place was Ruben Chavez III and Shane Edwards 5 bass @ 15.20--$400; seventh place Howard Hartley and Jason Campbell 5 bass @ 15.18--$300; eighth place Chucky Son & Josh Son 5 bass @ 15.03--$250; ninth place Malcolm Smith and Colby Thompson 5 bass @ 14.99--$225; 10th place Ross Roper and Logan Latuso 5 bass @ 14.98--$200.

The Big Bass of the tournament was caught by the team of Chase Martinez & Wayne Simoneaux with a hawg weighing 5.19 & $500 sponsored by Pot and Paddle / Hughes Insurance Services. 2nd place was caught by Dustin McCrory and Kaleb Moran @ 5.16 & @ $250 sponsored by and Chabert Insurance of Louisiana.

All in all the anglers, sponsors and other donations raised $10,265 for the cause of Tucker Townsend. 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!