Associated Press photo/DARIO FERRARI La gigantesco pesce gatto In this picture provided by Italian fishermen Dino and Dario Ferrari, taken on Feb. 19, and made available Feb. 26, Dino Ferrari poses for a picture with an 8-foot, 10-inch long catfish caught in the Po River in the outskirts of Mantova, a town about 99 miles southeast of Milan, northern Italy. "La gigantesco pesce gatto" is Italian for gigantic catfish. the International Game Fish Association does not list a world record for catfish caught from European waters.

March is the month south Louisiana celebrates bass fishing, and does it in a big way.

It’s a time when we catch our heaviest bass, a period when species in the sunfish family take to the warming waters to move from their wintertime haunts to the banks where they can break from their winter fasting to a banquet-like feast of crawfish, an assortment of minnows and shad, even pogeys for brackish-water bass, along with frogs, lizards and caterpillars.

Major fundraising tournaments run through the days when we switch from standard time to daylight saving time — that happens next Sunday — and welcome the first day of spring.

Around here, March’s first major tournament benefits children, and there’s no mistaking the fact that those who benefit from Saturday’s Children’s Hospital tournament welcome the generosity of south Louisiana bass fishermen.

The pick-your-partner tournament goes out of Doiron’s Landing in Stephensville. There’s a $250 fee per team, and there’s a $12,500 payout for the winners and $1,250 guaranteed for the team bringing in the biggest bass.

You can sign up at Thursday evening’s pretournament get-together at Cabela’s in Gonzales.

The next weekend brings on the annual Kiwanis Team tournament in New Roads. The fee is $150, but it climbs to $175 on tournament day. Kenny St. Romain advised last week that the public boat launches at Morrison Parkway in New Roads and the one at Morel’s in Ventress are open.

If you want a road trip, consider the March 12-15 Fallen Officers Memorial Bass Tournament on the Red River out of Red River South Marina, the place that launched two Bassmaster Classics. There’s a $200 fee and benefits the Louisiana Chapter of the Concerns of Police Survivors.

Check out the calendar for contacts.

Fewer traps

This year’s derelict crab-trap removal effort in Cameron Parish found and disposed of 400 abandoned traps in Sabine Lake and surrounding waters.

The effort included more than four dozen volunteers: Most were Girl Scouts and other from the Audubon Nature Institute, the LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant.

Volunteers and Wildlife and Fisheries personnel have removed more than 24,000 crab traps from state waters during the past 10 years.

Don’t do this

John Johnson, a 63-year-old Monroe resident, faces fines in excess of $10,000 and a possible 10-year jail term for allegedly cutting trees on the Ouachita Wildlife Management Area on an alleged illegal hunting trip.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ report stated that Enforcement Division agents staked out an area and watched as Johnson left his deer stand on Jan. 31 when the WMA was closed for a youth-only waterfowl hunt. The report stated Johnson left his stand in a “hunting position” and discarded plastic bottles, both of which constitute further violations of WMA and littering regulations.

After stopping Johnson, agents said Johnson admitted, “that he cut 14 trees down along with 79 limbs in various sizes and diameters to clear a shooting lane.” After further investigation, agents cited Johnson for criminal damage to state property.

The report indicated Johnson could face civil restitution charges for the replacement value of the trees, along with fines and jail time for hunting out of season and littering.

Louisiana’s Operation Game Thief, the state Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation and the Spring Bayou Restoration Team have upped the reward money to $3,000 for information that leads to the person or persons who cut trees on the Spring Bayou WMA. The LOGT hotline number is (800) 442-2511.