Show up early to beat the crowd and, perhaps, to beat the afternoon rains in Saturday’s forecast because the Waddill Wildlife Education Center is going to be a busy place.
It’s Louisiana’s version of National Hunting and Fishing Day, and the last handful of years has produced steady growth in the numbers showing up for the 9 a.m.-3 p.m. run that takes in most everything Louisiana offers in its outdoors.
No, there’s no hunting on the center’s acres, but Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ spokesman Gabe Giffin said the addition of Family Fish Fest to the dozen long-standing activities will make this NHFD celebration even more attractive than it already has been for youngsters.
The first 50 registered kids will receive a rod and reel, and the first hundred will go home with a “goodie” bag. Pure Fishing sponsors that part of the program.
There’s a 9-11 a.m. kids fishing rodeo.
Giffin said there will be a limited supply of crickets on hand for youngsters to try their hand in two ponds on the center located off North Flannery Road between South Choctaw Drive and Greenwell Springs Road. Parents and guardians should bring tackle, even their own crickets and worms just to make sure their young fishermen have an ample supply. LDWF Inland Fisheries biologists will be on hand to help the young fishermen.
Prizes will be awarded following the rodeo.
Another big draw this year is the Hunting and Fishing Day Activity Book, which affords youngsters the chance to get stickers at various locations and activities, including, but not limited to, casting, fish ID, canoeing, fish tagging and archery. For Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, this is a chance to earn stickers, complete the activity book and earn a Scout Patch.
There’s no fee. Parking access and shuttle service is available by parking across North Flannery Road (west side) from the east side access to the center. Handicapped parking will be available.
Completing the activities is BB guns, shotgunning on the skeet range, blackpowder rifles and wildlife exhibits including raptor demonstrations.
There’s no fee, and Giffin said food will be provided. There’s always hot dogs and Coke products, and Giffin said there will be tastings of fried catfish, alligator sauce piquante, venison sauce piquante and shrimp and duck gumbo.
A second-place win
Terry Bergeron has been easing his 15-year-old son Sam into the world of competitive bass fishing a little bit at a time.
Sunday was the most recent tournament, the St. Michael’s Church benefit, and Terry and Sam finished second to Steve Gullotto, who spends all of his tournament fishing time in the Lake Verret Basin.
Terry Bergeron said they went into the Atchafalaya Spillway, and when they left for home that afternoon, Papa Terry said he felt like they’d won.
“When Tony Landry mentioned a couple of weeks ago in the (Advocate’s) Outdoor page that he was catching fish on a spinnerbait around the cypress trees, I told Sam that maybe he should try it,” Terry Bergeron said. “He did and on his first cast, he told me to get the net. He had a three-and-a-quarter (pound bass) and caught another 3-pounder. It was great to set him catch those fish.”
He admitted they were in the lower Bayou Sorrel area, and that the fish weren’t jumping in the boat the way Landry said they were then he and Willie Couch III won the BLC a couple of Sunday’s before. He said they left that area, went into Bayou Pigeon waters and finished out their limit.
“The water was pushing in hard all day, and the fishing was tough, but Sam made the day again when he was quick with the net for our last fish. He netted the fish and the hook fell out of the fish’s mouth,” Terry Bergeron said.
If you haven’t heard
Greg Hackney became the first Louisiana bass fisherman to claim the big-time Bassmaster’s Angler of the Year title Monday in northern Michigan. The AOY Championship was shortened from three days to two after a cold front ravaged Lake Michigan and surrounding waters for three days after last Thursday’s opening round.
Hackney held the AOY standings lead going into this new event on the Bassmaster Elite Series. Although he finished 24th in the tournament, the five men who had a chance to catch him in the AOY standings didn’t finish high enough in the 50-angler field to overtake him for the title and the $100,000 bonus that goes with the title.
There was a ripple effect in delay in finishing the AOY Championship. It forced the Professional Anglers of America to postponed its tournament on Douglas Lake in Tennessee, PAA’s first 2014 event. PAA will open its schedule Oct. 6-11 on Kentucky Lake near Gilbertsville, Kentucky, then move to Hamphill, Texas for a Nov. 17-22 run on Toledo Bend.
End of the line
Monday’s cold front appeared to have pushed more teal into the state’s northwest corner and into the coastal marshes and southwest rice fields for this weekend’s last of the 16-day special teal season.
Reports were that more teal were seen and taken off the Mississippi River since last Friday, and larger flocks of the bluewings were seen over the rice fields between Welch and southwest into the Grand Chenier, Creole and Cameron marshes.