March is the time to put some weight on the scale

Local anglers will be chasing bass again this spring looking to put winning weight on the scale. Here local tournament angler Gerald Foulcard stretches to pick up a good bass. (Submitted Photo/Courtesy of John K. Flores)

Last year there was so much grass and lilies blocking places where you’d want to go.
By JOHN K. FLORES

When Eddie Young’s pole bent over like an archer’s bow, experience told him to move his boat out into the middle of the canal he was fishing.
He didn’t want his 10-foot-long B&M crappie pole, loaded with 8-pound test line, to break under the strain of the fish or allow it to get tangled up on something below.
The fish on the end of his line wasn’t a sac-a-lait that the angler from Rayne was fishing for. It was a largemouth bass — and a good one by all indications. On the other side of the canal was a bass fisherman who was watching the story unfold.
Young jokingly said, “I told him I’ll trade him a bass for a sac-a-lait. He was scouting for an upcoming tournament. And after weighing it, I released it and let her go. She was so full of eggs. She looked (like) she was about to bust. I moved the boat close to where I caught her and I told her, ‘I’m going to release you, but you need to tell your crappie cousins down there to bite that same bait.’”
Young was fishing on Bateman Island — specifically the Smith Canal — using a Becky’s Jig in Mardi Gras color. Unofficially, Young says the fish weighed more than seven pounds. The spring scale he used to weigh the bass wasn’t in the best condition, and he bounced it a couple times where it settled on 7 pounds, 2 ounces.
Jeanerette bass angler Elvis Jeanminette was fishing a fundraising tournament last week out of Lake Fosse Pointe where the angler said big fish are being caught.
Jeanminette said, “I caught more than 20 fish in the three- to four-pound range and the tournament’s big fish weighed 5.89 pounds. And I caught them in dirty water too — the fish are there. The Louisiana Sportsman’s tournament is coming up and I think it’s going to be won out of Lake Fosse Pointe — I’m telling you.”
Local angler Howard Hartley isn’t so sure. Hartley, also a tournament angler, says bass fishermen have been struggling, putting 15 pounds on the scale locally.
With 15 pounds sort of an artificial five fish low bar tournament anglers shoot for, Hartley said, “It’s been a struggle lately. I don’t know if it’s because of the cold weather we’ve been having, but I don’t think the fish have spawned yet. Another thing is with this cold water, it has killed a lot of the grass, and that’s going to make it a lot harder to fish.”
Young, by contrast, feels the loss of grass from this winter’s brutal weather is actually going to improve things further into spring it gets.
“Last year there was so much grass and lilies blocking places where you’d want to go,” Young says. “This year, you’re going to be able to get to those places. And when you find some grass and catch a fish, there’s going to be a bunch there. You’re also going to have some better water this year, too, with all of the rain and snow that will eventually be melting up north. It’s going to flush out the basin that got pretty low this past year.”
Gregory Bourque and Randy Durand from St. Martinville teamed up last weekend to win the Children’s Hospital Bass Tournament held out of Doiron’s Landing in Stephensville. The angler’s 19.66-pound, five-fish stringer garnered them $12,500. The two anglers also earned another $1,250 for the “Big Fish,” weighing 5.63 pounds.
Local anglers have some big money tournaments coming up in the next few weeks. March 15-16 is the Louisiana Sportsman’s Tournament where the top 25 anglers will share $35,000 in prize money. Weigh in on Saturday will be held at Doiron’s Landing. Sunday’s weigh in will be held on stage at the Lamar-Dixon Center.
March 22-23 is the Pro Bass Challenge. The two-day event is an invitational tournament featuring professional anglers, co-anglers, NFL football and Major League baseball players and coaches raising money through the event for the Pro Bass Foundation Charities. This year’s beneficiary is the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.
Whether you’re fishing a local club tournament or prefer one of the larger payout money tournaments, there’s plenty of opportunity to put some decent stringers of fish on the scale this spring. That is, once the weather straightens out and before the river rises. All you have to do is enter.
If you wish to make a comment or have an anecdote, recipe or story to share, you can contact John K. Flores at 985-395-5586 or gowiththeflo@cox.net or at www.gowiththeflooutdoors.com.

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