Outdoor Corner: EASL’s 60th Kids Rodeo a smashing success

Lyle Johnson

I recall my first memories of the Sportsman’s League’s Kids Rodeo. I’m 68 today, and I was probably about 6 or 7 years old when I fished it my first time. The event took place at a pond on the Airline Hwy in Prairieville. I don’t remember if it was Dutton’s pond or Odom’s pond, but I do remember the day’s events.

All these youngsters had the skills to catch either enough fish or the most in their categories.

I didn’t catch many fish, so I didn’t win a trophy, but I did cash in big time on a door prize. Now remember, this was a long time ago, but some things haven't changed. My eyes were fixed on a real, real big watermelon in the back of that truck. I could only imagine what it would be like to see that melon cut in half and us eating it till we could eat no more.

Then it happened! My name was called out and, much to my delight, it was that big watermelon, and it was all mine! It was so big (or at least I thought it was) that my family and our cousins from Sorrento headed south and had a watermelon feast at their home.

That scene has repeated itself on 60 Saturday mornings since that day. Last Saturday morning it happened again when 59 kids gathered at Twin Lakes in Dutchtown to re-create this event. I’ve had the privilege of fishing the same rodeo many more times.

I eventually got too old to fish, and as life sometimes takes different paths, me and the kids rodeo parted ways for a few years. Then I got married, started a family and just like that, the Kid’s Rodeo was back in my life. It was my kids turns to enjoy the same things I did as a kid.

You can still feel the anticipation in the air, as the kids register and find a place around the two ponds to set up and fish. For some this will be the first time to participate, some will be there as seasoned rodeoers, but the greatest delight goes to those who catch their first fish. It happens every year, and you can usually hear them screaming all around the ponds.

After two hours of fishing, the scales were opened up for the counting of the numbers caught and weighing their big fish. The following winners were all awarded trophies, sponsored and presented by Ascension Parish President Clint Cointment.

Biggest fish overall: Leighton Fatheree .37; Phoenix Townsend, most fish overall boys 90; Braylee Lambert, most fish overall girls, 29: Sophie Blair, 5-7 most fish girls, 11; Sawyer Denson, 5-7 biggest fish .25; Jada Ficklin, 11-14 most fish girls, 6; Jacques Robert, 2-4 biggest fish, .23; Karson Troxclair, 5-7 most fish boys, 38; Back Max Prevost, 2-4 most fish boys, 5; Ethan Troxclair, 8-10 most fish boys, 34; Collon Jackson, 8-10 biggest fish, .32; Garrett Bourque, 11-14 most fish boys, 53; Noah Whitehead, 11-14 biggest fish, .33; Addlyn Townsend, 8-10 most fish girls, 18; Mikah Smith, 2-4 most fish girls, 10.

These fortunate youngsters were picked to receive a brand new bike courtesy of East Ascension Sportsman’s League.

Bike winners were; Charley Richard, 5-7 girls; Evan Rambin, 2-4 boys; Alexia Rodriguez, 2-4 girls; Kayleigh Brown, 8-10 girls; Cameron Pounds, 5-7 boys; Landon Jackson, 8-10 boys; Noah Whitehead, 11-14 boys; Elizabeth Cagle, 11-14 girls.

After this, names continued to be pulled, awarding a pickup truck full of door prizes, and the kids were on their way home by 11 a.m.

Great thanks goes out to all the parents and adults who took the time to bring all these kids fishing, and please, take them often. It’s some of the best times you can spend with “your kids,” or “any kid.”

It really feels sort of weird to say this but the summer is winding down. School is getting ready to get back in session and believe it or not, it was supposed to cool down a few degrees this week.

I’m not sure just why it seems so but the river traffic on the Diversion Canal has been a bit slower all summer. It was really slow this weekend, even with good (but hot!!) weather. Maybe it was the gas prices. Could be the really stormy weather had some effect on it. I’m not exactly sure.

Even the catfishing was a little weird this spring and summer. It was an outstanding season as things started pretty normal with the action picking up in late November.

It never really quit though, even through July. The channel catfish usually have eggs ready to hatch in early March; that took place. The blue catfish usually start in late April, but I was catching some with eggs in late July. The average size and numbers I caught was really high as well.

I didn’t spend a lot of time trying to figure it out, I just kept on catching and cleaning them. When the rain stopped the heat came on, and now they are in their summertime pattern and the big ones left town, or where ever they go in the summer.

The summertime weather that changed the catfish has also put the bass in their dog days of summer pattern as well. They will be hanging on the points feeding mostly on shad that have finished their spawning and will be travelling in schools.

Top water baits would be a good choice for early morning action. As the day heats us, crank baits and plastic worms will catch them out deep as the bass try to escape the heat as well.

The thought of cool nights and mild days with low humidity is but a daydream right now but I can almost feel it and can’t wait to experience it. 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!

Outdoors Calendar

  • Tuesday Evening Bass Tournament: St James Boat Club; Fishers of men tournament trail will be hosting through August, with a Classic. 5 p.m. until dark. All info on Facebook Tuesday evening Blind River bass.
  • CCA Statewide Anglers’ Rodeo: Through Sept. 6. CCA Louisiana saltwater rodeo with divisions and numerous categories. Must be CCA member. Website: www.ccalouisiana.com
  • JaBoom High School Master Classic: Aug 14 at Doiron’s Landing in Stephensville. High School angler teams must be accompanied by adult boat captain; $50 entry. For info go to www.jaboombaits.com.
  • Open Bass Tournament: Cypress Cove Marina in Venice; $100 entry fee. Registration at ramp until 5:30 a.m.; $10 optional Big Bass Pot.
  • Ascension Area Anglers Open Bass Tournament: Aug 15 at Doiron’s Landing in Stephensville. Entry fee $100 a team, pick your partner. Fishing from safe daylight to 3 p.m. Proceeds from this event will be used to assist with Club and Louisiana BASS Nation member expenses related to participation in The BASS Nation Championship and The Bassmaster’s Classic. Contact Ryan Lavigne at (225) 921-9332.

Need an event publicized? Contact Lyle at reelman@eatel.net