Grouper

Record time

JJ Tabor's 383.13-pound grouper is among the most recent species to stand atop the Louisiana's Top 10 Fish Records. He weighed his monster catch during the 2017 International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo. Our state's fish records have been maintained by the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association since the early 1950s, and LOWA continues with that task today in freshwater and saltwater species in both Rod and Reel and Fly Fishing divisions. The fish records are posted on the association's website: louisianaoutdoorwriters.com. Rules and applications for both divisions can be downloaded and printed from that website. Once at the site, go to the 'Awards & Records' pulldown, then to 'Fish & Hunting Records.'

Knowing all the skips we had during 2020’s heightening awareness of the pandemic, it’s OK if rodeos, bass tournaments and all other manners of outdoors contests and adventures carried over its “annual” label for their events.

And, that’s why it’s OK that Saturday’s Westside Bassmasters’ 5th “annual” Veterans Open bass tournament can celebrate five years of honoring our military veterans with a free pass into what’s become a big-time summertime, Capital City-area fishing contest.

Yes, Joey Stein makes sure military vets compete without an entry fee. It’s a two-angler per boat tournament (although Stein allows single anglers) and the entry fee is $151.50 per team, but only $75.75 if one of the team’s anglers is a military veteran. Deadline for that early entry fee is 4 p.m. Thursday. The fee goes to $160 after that.

Stein sent along a note last week of an increase in the first-place guarantee payout. It’s $2,000 this year with a guarantee of $500 for the heaviest bass.

Doiron’s in Stephensville is tournament headquarters and the launch location, and waters south of U.S. 90 are off limits. Stein said one “place” will be added to the payout list for every five entries, and, with the tournament growing to a hundred boats, it’s likely the top 20 weights will share in the 70% payout. The other 30% of entries will be donated to the Louisiana-based Wounded War Heroes.

Stein has a unique check-in. Fishermen must pick up their boat number “chip” at Doiron’s by Saturday’s 3 p.m. weigh-in deadline.

A 5-7:30 p.m. registration/captain’s meeting is set Wednesday at Cajun Outboards in Addis. Stein said there will be food and raffles and anglers can learn about Wounded War Heroes while getting tournament rules.

For more details, call Stein at (225) 776-6982.

Red snapper

The June 27 three-day season update on our recreational red snapper catch is at 348,963 pounds and represents 42% of our state’s 832,493-pound annual allocation. The complete landings chart can be found on the Wildlife & Fisheries website: wlf.louisiana.gov/page/red-snapper.

  • Think we’ve got red snapper restrictions? How about this: this year’s recreational red snapper season in the Atlantic Ocean (mostly off Florida’s East Coast) was held July 9-11 with one-fish-per person/no size-limit season.

Women only

State Wildlife and Fisheries is teaming with the Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation for Women’s Fishing 101 workshops set Aug. 28 and Sept. 11 at the Waddill Wildlife Refuge on North Flannery Road in Baton Rouge.

The reason for publishing these dates this early is a July 23 registration deadline, and the 15-woman limit for each workshop.

You must be at least 18 years old. The day includes instruction from agency biologists and volunteer instructors covering fish identification, tackle to basic skills along with cleaning, storing and cooking your catch. You’ll need a state fishing license.

Go to the LDWF website: wlf.louisiana.gov.

Lottery hunts

Hunters have a July 27 deadline to apply for lottery hunts for teal on the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area in Vermilion Parish and dove hunts on the Elbow Slough Wildlife Management Area.

The available teal hunting dates are Sept. 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19, 22, 25 and 26. You can submit only one application for these dates — the minimum age is 18 — and a hunter can attend only one hunt either as a lottery winner or as a winner’s guest.

Dates for the dove hunts, and all lottery applications are on the LDWF website: la-web.s3licensing.com/. Paper applications will not be accepted.

You will need to update or create a “customer record,” then pay a $5 application fee and a $2 transaction fee.

You will be notified by email if selected.

For more on the White Lake hunts, call Schuyler Dartez at (337) 536-6061/email: sdartez@wlf.la.gov.

For the Elbow Slough hunts, call David Hayden at 318-487-5353 or email him at dhayden@wlf.la.gov.

They got nabbed

LDWF Enforcement Division agents arrested 11 boaters for allegedly “driving or operating a vessel while intoxicated,” during Operation Dry Water held July 2-4.

Five are from south Louisiana, including Joseph Turnipseed, 56, of Baton Rouge (False River); Trent Theriot, 25, of Thibodaux (Lake Palourde); Jesse Comeaux, 27, of Pierre Part (Lake Palourde); Brandon Larose, 25, of Labadieville (Four Mile Bayou); and, Eric Rushing, 31, of Denham Springs (Diversion Canal).

The other six included Megan Carlisle, 36, of Haughton (Lake Claiborne); Hayes Meek, 20, of Ringgold (Lake Bistineau); Spencer Stewart, 44, of West Monroe (Ouachita River); Thomas Traylor, 23, of Georgetown (Black River Lake); Chase Hattaway, 35, of Simsboro (Lake Claiborne); and, Paige Pilkinton, 24, from Shreveport (Cross Lake).

If convicted, these 11 face the same penalties and fines as on-the-road DWI violators, including, according to the LDWF “jail time (up to six months), fines ($300-$1,000), and loss of driving and boating operator privileges.”

Hurrah

For their fifth-place finish in the recent Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Wild Card on Alabama’s Lay Lake, Tripp Bowman and Blakely Young have qualified for nationals. The LSU-Shreveport anglers had a two-day total of 28 pounds, 8 ounces, less than two pounds from McKendree U.’s winners Trevor McKinney and Blake Jackson (30-2).

Covering corals

If you have anything to say about coral reefs near and off our coast, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and the federal Coral Reef Conservation Program would like to hear it.

The council’s marine biologists indicated they need, “on-the-water expertise to guide our current understanding of what’s happening with corals in the Gulf. Specifically, we would like to know if you have noticed changes to the corals and coral reef habitats in the Gulf in recent years.”

The response deadline is 4 p.m. Aug. 31 to: survey123.arcgis.com