First bass tournament reports down; hunters unhappy _lowres

Photo provided by TANNER CORMIER Last of the season limit Murphy Foster, left, and Tim Kelley show off a limit that included a pintails, wigeons, teal and a redhead duck from Cherry Ridge in the southwestern marshes on the closing weekend of the state's Coastal Zone duck season. Kelley said they took the limit by 8 a.m. and said they would wait until later in the morning to take the late-flying mallards in the area near Grand Chenier. The state's West Zone season closed Sunday, while East Zone hunters can take to blinds and flooded timber through Jan. 31.

The first bass tournament news rolled in this week, and tournament veterans Robbie Latuso and Corey Wheat said they were disappointed catches in the new Bud Light Trail event held from an Amelia launch, a spot that gave anglers access to the Verret Basin and Bayou Black canals and marshes.

Latuso teamed with son, Logan, and said they traveled to the north end of Lake Verret.

“We stayed in the canals, and it was slow,” Robbie Latuso said. “We caught more fish in practice, and we had six bites all day and put all six in the boat, and they turned out to be the right-sized fish. A cold front came through and the high (barometric) pressure set in. It was very slow.”

Their 17 pounds came on a homemade black/blue jig.

Wheat said he and fishing partner David Cavell went to Verret for their fourth-place finish.

“Catches were down from what we usually have at this time of year,” Wheat said. “The fish are not doing what they normally do right now. The fish are where they’re supposed to be, and that’s in the dead-end canals, but with water temperatures at 57 degrees, the bass should have been more active.”

Like most Atchafalaya Basin areas, water levels are high, and Wheat said the north winds from the cold front pushed “black” water into the canals, another factor that could have pushed fish off their usual prespawn pattern. Wheat said they caught fish on a California color D-Bomb.

“There were not as many big fish caught, but the top five teams had a big fish, and that’s what put them up in the standings,” Wheat said.

USA Fishing is running the Bud Light-Louisiana South circuit. There’s a $200 team fee with a 5 a.m.-4 p.m. time frame. The rest of the schedule includes: March 26, Doiron’s Landing; April 16, Des Allemands at Somme’s Landing; and, June 11 out of Doiron’s on the Lake Verret side.

No wakes, please

Until further notice, Belle River and nearby areas with waterside developments have no-wake zones posted by the local police jury authority.

Coastal ducks

Camp owners and hunters are unhappy with the early end of the Coastal Zone duck season.

Most camps in the southwest parishes reported “down” years. Cherry Ridge’s take was off 35 percent from last season, and hunters complained the season ended just when conditions up north were right to send ducks into the state.

Vermilion and Cameron parishes marshes were plagued by high water since the Nov. 7 opening, another factor that contributed to the decline.

Asking not to be identified, one camp owner/hunter said, “Weather and the huge mistake of opening the Coastal Zone a week before the other Louisiana zones and two weeks before Arkansas (opened its season) were huge factors. I mean, who is so stupid as to open hunting in the south before it opens in the north ... idiots.”