Oil spill’s effects continue

That the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission had to extend the commercial fishing closures in three areas along our state’s coast indicates we continue to have problems with the oil from last year’s BP-Deepwater Horizon disaster.

When the item appeared on the commission’s agenda earlier last week, alarms went off, especially after new oil surfacing in the Gulf of Mexico was determined to be coming from the risers in the capped well.

The “Declaration of Emergency” to close areas didn’t come about because of the recent discovery.

“All of this was done because declarations of emergency is in force for only 120 days,” Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ marine biologist Harry Blanchet said. “The three small areas that have been closed, areas that remain outlined on the (LDWF) website, must remain closed.”

The three areas are marches in the lower delta of the Mississippi River south of Venice, areas along and off Grand Terre Island and Bay Jimmy in the upper reaches of Barataria Bay.

“We need to extend those closures. We’re continuing to monitor the effects of oil — there’s still oil — and clean-up operations continue in those areas,” Blanchet said.

The three locations are closed only to commercial catch. Recreational take is allowed in these areas.

Tripletail giants

Don’t know the why, but the records kept for decades are proving true again.

Whenever we have major floods along the Mississippi River, and the Corps of Engineers opens the Bonnet Carre Spillway we can expect to find tripletail moving into the Pontchartrain Basin.

All that has happened this year, and anglers with fly rods in hand posted the top three tripletails ever: Stephen Armstrong leads the way with a 21.48-pounder. Greg Goodman stands second on that list with a 17.36 and David Ferguson is third at 14.22 pounds. All were caught in August, certified by the State Fish Records Committee, and all were taken in Lake Borgne, the southernmost part of the Pontchartrain system.

The only other new fish in the State Top 10 Fish Records is a No. 3 skipjack tuna (27.92 pounds) caught on a rod-and-reel by Matt Fry in the Mississippi Canyon in August.

For more on the state fish records, go to website: http://www.laoutdoorwriters.com. The Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association is the keeper of these state records.

Staying inside

Strong easterly winds should keep fishermen close to launches this week. East winds will swell water on the east side of the Mississippi River and keep Pontchartrain bridges unfishable.

Sac-a-lait should be the best bet. The Atchafalaya Spillway and the Belle River area afford areas in the lee of these strong winds. Moderating weather should bring sac-a-lait from the depths.