Anglers urged to submit their big fish _lowres

Photo provided by LOUISIANA OUTDOOR WRITERS ASSOCIATION Folks who follow tarpon fishing along the Louisiana coast know Lance Schouest as "Coon," but only he seems to know how he got his nickname, a name that he affixed to one of the hottest tarpon baits in the Gulf of Mexico. Schouest used his "Coon Pop" lure to catch this giant 228.81-pound tarpon in September between Grand Isle and the mouth of the Mississippi River. His catch took over third place in the State Top 10 Fish Records List, which is maintained in a cooperative agreement between the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. LOWA started the State Fish Records in the early 1950s.

Know what happens when hundreds of thousands of summertime fisherman are turned loose into Louisiana’s coastal and offshore waters?

Oohs and aahs, that’s what.

And those exclamations come from the giant fish hauled in from waters barely deep enough to float a boat to depths measuring thousands of feet.

The Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association and the fisheries folks working in the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries are interested in seeing those fish.

The LOWA’s State Top 10 Fish Records Committee is the keeper of those records, which, today, requires identification by a state fisheries biologist.

The four-man LOWA committee is headed by Lyle Johnson of Gonzales, who updated the list this year to add three first-place catches, a giant third-place tarpon caught in September by legendary tarpon hunter Lance “Coon” Schouest Sr., and a seventh-place white sac-a-lait taken from Poverty Point Reservoir, a north Louisiana lake that’s taking a well-deserved place among the state’s top sac-a-lait catching destinations.

Another north Louisiana reservoir, Lake D’Arbonne near Farmerville, produced a No. 1 yellow bass, a 2.67-pounder taken by Eddie Holbrook.

Among the first-place entries is Charles Johnson Jr.’s 9.25-pound sheepshead taken on a fly rod. Yes, there are Rod-and-Reel and Fly Fishing divisions among the state records. Johnson traveled from Oregon with fly rod in hand to take his giant in the Breton Sound area.

The biggest oohs and aahs from this year is the 114-pound state-record blue catfish hauled in from the Mississippi River by Lawson Boyte, 12, on March 1.

Schouest’s catch weighed 228.81 pounds and was weighed at Sand Dollar Marina on Grand Isle, the site of several soon-to-come rodeos.

The ‘yak’ attack

Cabela’s, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries are partnering for Saturday’s Kayaking Fishing 101 Workshop from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the store off La. 30 in Gonzales. The five-hour session is geared to beginners.

“Kayak fishing has grown tremendously in the past decade. In 2005, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club hosted Louisiana’s first kayak fishing tournament. Approximately 25 people participated. Last July, the Ride the Bull tournament in Grand Isle spectators watched more than 420 launch from a single location to take part in the biggest single day kayak-fishing tournament the nation has ever seen,” Bayou Coast Club secretary Todd Lewis said.

“Louisiana is a paddler’s dream. We have a gazillion places waiting to be explored and fished.”

There’s a limit of 35 for the workshop that’s scheduled to begin with an hour of classroom instruction covering selecting a kayak, gear, tackle and accessories, followed by hands-on stations including launching, landing, paddling techniques, casting and landing fish, knots and self-rescue.

Email Lewis: teelew33@hotmail.com for details and to make reservations.

Mooring lottery

July 31 is the deadline for putting in bids and submitting lottery applications for five available houseboat mooring sites at Pass-a-Loutre Wildlife Management Area off the Mississippi River south of Venice.

According to the LDWF, two successful bidders will be awarded a five-season lease agreement allowing houseboat mooring from Sept. 1 to March 15. The other three permits will be decided by drawing from the lottery pool for a one-year permit to use assigned sites in Southeast Pass on the WMA. No guides are allowed to hold the permits.

Applications are on the LDWF website: www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma under the Pass-a-Loutre WMA heading.

Completed lease bid and lottery applications, and a check or money order required for each, must be submitted to LDWF by 10 a.m. on July 31, 2014. Bid applications can be mailed to LDWF Houseboat Bids, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70808, ATTN: Tracy Mancuso, Room 422. Applications can also be delivered to LDWF Headquarters, Room 422, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70808.

Call Shane Granier (504) 284-5264 or Cassidy Lejeune (337) 373-0032 for more information.