If you didn’t know Bill England, competed against him, or call him “friend,” then you missed a chance to be engaged with one of the nicest men to live in the Capital City area.

It’s been a little more than a year since cancer took him from family and friends.

His was a life filled with the rewards south Louisiana’s outdoors afford anyone who wants to take the time to spend part of their lives in.

Like most of us, Bill England had passions: His family first and bass fishing second. He was a rare person who fully understood that those two important life urges could mesh into a single-mindedness to push for conservation initiatives that would mean fishing in his beloved Atchafalaya Spillway would be there for his grandchildren to enjoy as much as he did.

Bill always smiled. Maybe it was because our meetings were always around bass fishing and bass tournaments. He teamed with old friend Roger Hudnall for years in team bass tournaments. They were a formidable pair, and as competitive as anyone around when it came to tournament fishing. They were among a handful of fishing partners who dominated local events for as many as 20 years. Like most of us, they aged, but that didn’t keep them from heading to landings around Louisiana in the predawn hours and fishing into late afternoons.

Bill England had a serious side, and it was fishing, and his willingness to go to the mat to preserve, enhance and sustain bass fishing, and all the pleasures it could bring to future generations. That lifetime of dedication and his always-engaging nature made many friends.

It’s those folks who will gather Saturday at Doiron’s Landing in Stephensville. Hudnall and Lynn Alexander are putting on the Bill England Memorial Team Bass Tournament. There’s a $150 entry fee, and Hudnall said there’s a 100 percent payback. It’s not a fundraiser. Instead it’s a chance to raise a toast to a friend, and the memories Bill England left for all who called him “friend.”

Coco dedication

Baton Rouge’s Warren and Donna Coco were honored Thursday night during a Louisiana Ducks Unlimited tribute to this couple whose dedication to waterfowl conservation for more than 30 years has become legendary here, around the country, really in North America.

In 1977, Coco founded Go-Devil when he was 22, and was the first in the state to donate and dedicate his 1,600 acres for permanent conservation easement for waterfowl. He’s donated Go-Devil boats and engines for Ducks Unlimited fundraising efforts for most of the time his business has produced long-tailed, surface-drive outboards.

To acknowledge his efforts, state Wildlife and Fisheries, working with Ducks Unlimited funds, will name its new 3,000-acre wetlands improvement project on the Dewey Wills Wildlife Management Area near Alexandria in honor of the Warren and Donna Coco. It’s well deserved.