The time is right: Get youngsters into our outdoors

Keeping in mind that COVID-19 restrictions are important, it’s time to celebrate all Louisiana’s outdoors holds for us — especially with our youngsters having a week off from their topsy-turvy school year.

We’re in the first stages of the modern firearms seasons for deer and the first split’s early days of a waterfowl season. Squirrels and rabbits are on the list, and you can take doves in our state’s South Zone.

There’s enough public hunting opportunity for the taking, and all you have to do is go to the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries website — wlf.louisiana.gov — to find out about a wildlife management area near you, and the exact dates for hunting species on those areas. Opportunity exists on federal lands here and in neighboring states. Just have the proper licenses.

If that’s not for you, then try fishing.

Consider this:

-Weather conditions into Wednesday are darned near perfect. The barometric pressure is low for this time of year, rain will come later this week, and winds are predicted to be less than 10 knots. With a moon phase building to a full moon (Nov. 30) the action should get better;

-Water levels are falling in the Atchafalaya Spillway, and the report from last week’s Junior Southwest Bassmasters tournament was that rising water hampered the catch. That’s not the case this week. The one note to take from the JSB young anglers was the bass were more active later in the day.

That’s something the old-timers told us younger guys many years ago, that Spillway bass react better to afternoon presentations especially from the Bayou Pigeon complex to points south.

That’s not the case for sac-a-lait, not with under bluebird skies. Sac-a-lait have been on the outside of the downed trees and brushtops early in the morning and tube jigs under a cork are working.

-Water levels are steady in the Verret Basin. Belle River and Bayou Long are giving up bass and sac-a-lait and most of the other bayous have enough fish to make for a productive trip. And don’t forget about catfish in Lake Verret.

-Old River continues to give up sac-a-lait on the deep brush in and around Willow Point, and on the piers from Old River Landing up to the Innis end.

-The lack of rainfall has cleared up the Florida Parishes rivers and bayous and there’s enough bass, small sac-a-lait, bluegill and goggle-eye to make a trip.

-The lower ends of places like Bayou Lacombe are producing trout and some redfish.

-The south end of Lake Pontchartrain is producing keeper speckled trout and the marshes from there toward The Wall and the MRGO are holding bass and redfish. Where you can find moving water in the deeper marsh cuts and canals, you’re likely to find trout, too. One report was the “old” avocado/red glitter H&H Cocahoe Minnow worked on a quarter-ounce jighead.

-The bayous and canals in the Cocodrie, Dulac and Four Point areas are giving up trout and redfish along with a a few keeper-sized puppy drum and sheepshead. This is one area where tipping a jighead (and soft plastic) with fresh shrimp can produce redfish, drum and sheepshead enough to feed a family for several meals.

-And don’t forget the ongoing Get Out and Fish! Program which has stocked community ponds in larger cities and towns across south Louisiana. Those locations can be found on the LDWF website, too.

Da ducks

Reports from opening day of the Coastal and West zones opening day were expected — limits and near limits during Saturday’s opener and a considerable drop in take the following day.

The word came after the early November aerial survey showing the lowest number of ducks (near 800,000) in our state since the survey began in 1959.

The take on the Pass a Loutre, Atchafalaya Delta and Pointe-aux-Chenes WMA rebounded from a 1.7 ducks-per-hunter on opening day to Wednesday’s count of 5.3 birds and 2.6 birds per hunter respectively at Pass a Loutre and PaC, but was 1.3 per hunter at Atchafalaya Delta.

Don’t do this

Dylan Moresi and Jessi Floyd, both from New Iberia, were cited for possession of live non-game quadrupeds without a permit and buying or selling wild quadrupeds or wild birds after LDWF Enforcement Division agents received a tip that Moresi was selling, according to the report, “two live flying squirrels on social media for the amount of $400. The agent made contact with Moresi at his residence and learned that Moresi had sold the two flying squirrels to Floyd for $500. … Floyd and Moresi both admitted to the buy and selling of the flying squirrels.”

The squirrels were taken from Floyd and returned to the wild.

They face fines up to $1,250 and up to 120 days in jail.

-And, last weekend, agents cited four New Orleans area men, Terrence Wolf, Charles Blunt Jr., Michael Wade and Dennis Wade for allegedly having over the limit of redfish, having undersized redfish, and, in Wade’s case, not having the proper licenses.

The case was made in Port Sulphur where agents, according to the report, “found a group of men fishing … found Wolf in possession of nine red drum with eight of them being under the minimum size limit of 16 inches. Agents also found Blunt, Michael Wade and Dennis Wade jointly in possession of 44 red drum with 33 of them undersized,” when the daily limit is five.

The 53 fish were taken and donated them to a local charity.

The penalties are stiff: Having more than 10 reds can get fines up to $950 and 120 days in jail and having undersized reds carries fines up to $350 and 60 jail days, plus the possibility of license revocations and an additional fine of $25 per undersized and over-the-limit reds.

Bass notes

Clark Wendlandt, the 54-year-old Cedar Park, Texas member of the Strike King pro team, earned Bassmaster Angler of the Year to go along with the three FLW Tour AOYs he claimed in 1997, 2000 and 2009. Looks like he likes to space out his big accomplishments. This one earned him to top spot in the 2021 Bassmaster Classic.

-McKendree U. senior Trevor McKinney caught 11 pounds, 11 ounces to edge teammate Blake Jackson for the Classic berth saved for the Carhartt Bassmaster College Classic Bracket champion.

Jordan Lee, the 29-year-old Alabaman who qualified for the Classic from his college exploits near 10 years ago, caught 37 bass weighing 69-4 to win the 2020 General Tire World Championship held in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He won $100,000.

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