Benton Parrott is from Daphne, Alabama, but he’s sure south Louisiana is his second home.
A fixture in kayak fishing events from Slidell to Grand Isle, Parrott added another title Saturday when he defended his 2014 IFA Kayak Tour Championship. The weigh-in was held in St. Bernard, and his 2015 winning fish measured 121.38 inches after boating a redfish and a speckled trout each day during the competition’s two days. Parrott won a Hobie Mirage Pro Angler kayak, a Power-Pole Micro Anchor and added another $1,000 when the tour title made him the IFA Angler of the Year.
Like most all in the field, Parrott’s concern was finding solid trout action after scouting let him know that redfish were everywhere in the marsh he scouted. Anglers were able to choose their launch site as long as they returned by weigh-in time to Rocky & Carlo’s Restaurant.
Parrott told the IFA staff that he caught a 41¾-inch redfish on his first cast during Friday’s first round. He was using Gulp!
“I had made a deal with myself that after the first 40-inch red, I’m out of there,” Parrott said, noting that he packed up the boat and traveled 45 minutes to the marsh where he said he worked soft plastics along windy shorelines for a 19-inch-long trout.
His second day produced a 44-inch-plus redfish. He chased birds before culling through school trout for a 14-incher and a 58-inch total. He switched to a topwater plug and upped his trout to an 18-incher, a move that gave him the title over two veteran south Louisiana anglers, Steve Lessard and Brendan Bayard.
Lessard will join Parrott on the U.S. team heading to the World Championship in China later this year. Lessard, a Geismar angler and defending world champion, totaled 113.88 inches, while Baton Rouge’s Bayard was a close third at 113.25 inches.
Lessard reported catching his fish near Grand Isle by working Gulp! in deep holes for reds and topwater lures for trout. Bayard’s catch was limited to taking one redfish each day.
The IFA Redfish Championship is set for this weekend in Chalmette.
High school winners
Braden Blanchard and Cade Fortenberry led the Ascension Anglers team and the field with their 12.6-pounds catch in Sunday’s first of three qualifying tournaments for the State High School Bass Tournament set in April on Toledo Bend.
Sam Houston’s Ethan Cruze and Carlo Castiglione were second with 12.07 pounds on Henderson Lake.
State coordinator Eugene Hoover said this tournament’s top 10 teams qualified for the state tournament, and that Ascension Anglers took the team title. The tournament also served as one step in the process of young anglers qualifying for the B.A.S.S. High School nationals.
Hunters give back
Acadiana area hunters one-upped in a big way hunters from the Capital City area when Bob Giles reported Lafayette Hunters for the Hungry collected more than 9,000 pounds in early October to following the more than 5,000 pounds donated in the Capital Area’s Hunters for the Hungry late-September Clean Out Your Freezer Day.
Giles said more than 600 pounds was collected in the week leading up to the Lafayette’s effort to give the group a total of 9,700 pounds in frozen game and fish.
“We were up significantly from last year’s total,” Giles said.
Too many redfish
Acting on a tip from a fisherman, Wildlife and Fisheries’ Enforcement Division Senior Agent Norman Deroche cited three men for taking way over the limit of redfish last Thursday from Grand Isle waters.
According to a LDWF report, Deroche found Donisote Santos, 53, of Chalmette; Jose Goronci, 43, of Metairie; and, Jose DiSalva, 49, of Kenner, with 25 redfish measuring between 28 and 40 inches long in the bed of a white pickup in the early morning hours along La. 1. The limit on redfish longer than 27 inches is one per person per day. DiSalva also was ticketed for not possessing basic or saltwater licenses.
The three men face fines of up to $950 and up to 120 days in jail for taking over the limit, and fines of up to $350 and 60 days in jail for having too many redfish over 27 inches long with additional fines of up to $150 for each fish over 27 inches. The report also indicated the men could face civil restitution fines of $555 as replacement value for the redfish.