Outdoor Corner: Around the Outdoors

Lyle Johnson

Last Saturday marked the date of the inaugural Fight Like Hunter benefit bass tournament. All the festivities were held out of Boopalus on the Tickfaw River. Hunter is fighting a battle against LCH (Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis) at 8 months of age.

Jerry Wheat took the Big Bass check for $1,000 with a toad that pushed the  scales to 5.6 pounds.

So Brandon and Farrah Sanchez took on this project to raise some funds to help out the Richardson family with their mounting expenses as Hunter is going through chemo treatments.

Eighty teams of anglers stepped up to the plate and paid the $140 entry and did their part. They fished the waters of the Tickfaw, Tangipahoa, Natalbany, Amite, Blind Rivers, North Pass and Ruddock looking for five big bass to put in their live wells.

Dallas Laurent and Bishop Gehegan with five bass that pushed the scales to 16.69 pounds to take first place and earn a $3,135 pay day.

Boy, did they ever come through. There were more stringers over 10 pound’s than I could count but it was the team of Dallas Laurent and Bishop Gehegan with five beautiful bass that pushed the scales to 16.69 pounds to take first place and earn a $3,135 pay day.

Not far behind in second place was the team of Sam Anthony and Jermey Anthony with five bass for 15.68 pounds and $1,960. Coming in third place was Jake McCutcheon and Nathan Thigpen with five bass that tipped the scales at 15.58 pounds and $1,176. Fourth place ($785) was Kyle Hills and Dylan Hills with 15.58 pounds.

Jaylon Wilde and Sam Dorsey took fifth place, bringing a five-bass limit for 14.35 pounds and $470. Rounding the payout places was Brady Harrell and Justin Stanga in sixth place with five bass for 13.66 pounds and $313. Jerry Wheat took the Big Bass check for $1,000 with a toad that pushed the scales to 5.6 pounds, while Vance Balado and Nathan Waller took second with a 4.78-pound bass and $600.

The bass fishing community, along with Brandon Sanchez and his great team of volunteers, raised a total of $11,500 for baby Hunter. Jody Richardson and Ashlee Guess Richardson were blown away by the outpouring. “Dealing with the cancer diagnosis when Hunter was only a month old, hasn’t been easy,” stated Ashley.

“There are bad days, scary moments and the fear of the unknown is always lingering in the back of our minds. But it’s people like all of you, that keep us going and lift us up. Because of you all, we don’t have such a heavy financial burden to carry.”

A short version of The State of the Pier Address; the catfishing has picked up quite a bit as the water warms enough to kick in the spawning preparations. They are really feeding up getting ready to lay their eggs.

The warmer temperatures are also very conducive for the crawfish in ditches all around. It’s been pretty easy to get them for bait and the catfish love to eat them. The take for the week was 48 with a mixture of channel and blue catfish tight lining with three rods on the pier.

Every once in a while things line up and you happen to be in the right place at the right time. Well that happened for me last week. I took a notion to put a couple of rods in my truck and head down the road for what I though would be a few minutes of fishing somewhere along the road.

My catch for the afternoon resulting for being in the right place at the right time.

I stopped at a familiar place, a slough that passes under the road. The water was falling after the rain we’d had so that was a plus. The water was clear, that was another plus and I soon discovered that small minnows were there by the thousands which meant that some kind of fish would be there taking part in this feast prepared by nature.

Fish were popping on top of the water that looked like they would be bream so I pulled out my ultra-light rod with a Stinger Shad in black/white/chartreuse color and made my first cast. It resulted in a nice bluegill and my plans were to keep a few for a fish fry so in the bucket it went.

About a dozen casts later there were eight bluegill in the bucket and no sign of slowing down so I returned home to get an ice chest and some of those crawfish from the pier and returned to the spot.

I rigged another rod to use the crawfish under a cork and resumed my effort to catch enough for a fish fry. They couldn’t resist those small crawfish so it was easy to add a few more bream to the catch. As a bonus 3 of the biggest chinquapin I ever caught was added to the catch.

I decided to go back to an artificial lure and pulled out another jig head with a small plastic crawfish that was in my tackle box for years, never used. For at least 25 consecutive casts I caught a bluegill. When it was all over, I’d caught over 70 bream, keeping 30 and a couple of small bass for one of the best fish fry’s in a long time.

On the very serious side the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents are investigating two fatal boating incidents. One occurred in Vermilion Parish on Feb. 28. The other occurred on March 6 in Lake Pontchartrain.

The body of Chance R. Cormier, 22, of Church Point, was recovered from Bayou Tigre in Vermillion parish about 8:30 p.m. LDWF agents were alerted about a boating incident about 5 p.m. regarding a man who fell off a personal watercraft (PWC).  

Agents responding to the scene and learned from a witness that Cormier was operating the PWC by himself and observed him falling off the PWC and then disappearing into the water. He was not using a personal flotation device that is required to be worn when operating a PWC.

LDWF agents along with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office recovered the body of Rod Willhoft, 33, of Arabi, about 11 a.m. on March 7 near where the incident took place. Agents learned that a 24-foot bay boat with five passengers on board collided with the Norfolk Southern Railroad Bridge on Lake Pontchartrain. 

Willhoft was ejected from the boat and entered the water and didn’t resurface.  The other four passengers stayed in the vessel. Two of the passengers were airlifted and the other two were taken by ambulance to University Medical Center in New Orleans.  The four passengers sustained serious injuries and are listed in stable condition.

The boat traffic has picked up substantially due to the warming temperatures so please remember to be very careful when out boating. 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!