Ryan Isaacks to take on pro in Arkansas for chance to win Ranger boat _lowres

Photo furnished by SAM BARBERA And in her white boots Matilyn Rose Moreau celebrated the final days before starting kindergarten by catching fish with her father in the Empire-South Pass Tarpon Rodeo earlier this month. The 5-year-old from Port Sulphur entered her redfish in the rodeo's Youth Division. Papa Moreau said his daughter's Christmas wish list last December "was not Barbie stuff, but fishing and hunting gear." It looks like her new fishing tackle paid off with her rodeo catch.

Ryan Isaacks joined a fraternal organization this week.

It’s the thousands of members Lucky Anglers of America, and from the way the diehard Prairieville bass fisherman sounded on the telephone Wednesday afternoon, he’s beyond overjoyed at the prospect awaiting him during the next four days.

Isaacks was selected to be the fisherman to challenge a touring pro angler in the 2015 Boat Bling Beat a Pro, Win a Boat Challenge. Boat Bling produces boat-cleaning and vinyl-restoring products it calls “sauces.”

And it came to pass Wednesday that Isaacks will face Auburn, California’s, Walmart FLW Tour pro Cody Meyer in a six-hour dual Monday on Lake Ouachita in Arkansas.

If Isaacks can beat Meyer, he’ll win a fully rigged Ranger bass boat.

“I’m luckiest guy in the world,” Isaacks said after finishing his shift at Motiva in Geismar.

Winning the contest starts with Isaacks and a guest — he said either his brother-in-law or a longtime fishing buddy from Texas are in the “guest” line — getting an all-expenses-paid trip to the Forrest Wood Cup complete with a Boat Bling package and “behind-the-ropes, VIP access throughout the weekend,” that includes meeting Forrest Wood, the man who designed the first Ranger bass boat more than 40 years ago.

The FLW Cup winds up competition Sunday on Lake Ouachita. The Cup winner takes home a cool $500,000.

“Just meeting Mr. Wood is a thrill. I run a Ranger (bass boat) and my nickname is “ranger,” and I can’t wait to meet him,” Isaacks said.

He plans to leave early Friday morning with his boat in tow and “slip away Saturday to get on Lake Ouachita,” he said. “It’s only fair. The pros get to fish four days before I get there, and I want to see the lake. On Sunday, I’m going to fish with one of the pros on another lake near Hot Springs, then hit the lake with Cody Meyer on Monday.

“Besides, I need to knock some of the rust off. I’ve been working a lot lately. I think I’m a pretty good fisherman, but the odds are stacked against me in so many ways,” Isaacks said. “Nothing about this is going to be easy, and I’m going to fish as hard as I can.”

Isaacks and Meyer will have three hours each to select locations, run the boat and take over the trolling motor. Isaacks said he’s done some homework on Meyer, and he’s found out this pro angler likes to fish offshore structure, a pattern sometimes foreign to shallow-water south Louisiana bass fishermen.

“My plan is to get him into the shallows and let that work in my favor, but I need to get on the water to figure out some pattern,” Isaacks said.

“Either way, I figure I’m a winner. I know Monday will be all or nothing, but like I told the (Boat Bling) guy on the phone, they’d better have a ‘halo’ (air-med helicopter) standing by to get me to the nearest hospital, because if I win that boat I’m going to faint.”

More lottery hunts

State Wildlife and Fisheries’ biologist Steve Smith set an Oct. 2 application deadline for waterfowl lottery hunts on the Sherburne, Bayou Pierre and Russell Sage wildlife management areas. Hunts are set for youths, disabled veterans, handicapped individuals and the public. Youth hunters must be hunter-safety certified.

A $5 fee must accompany each application, which, along with all rules and regs, can be found on the LDWF website: www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/lottery-hunts.

Call Smith at (225) 765-2359 or (318) 487-5885 for more details.