What Arctic blast?

Concerns about the effects on south Louisiana’s fish from February’s deep chill, snow and freezing rain have been soothed during the past three weeks notably on the area’s most heavily fished waters — the Atchafalaya and Verret basins and False River.

Tournament catches from last weekend’s 9th annual Anglers Against Autism and the late February’s Louisiana B.A.S.S. Nation qualifier show bass were ready to feed heartily in the wake of that record-setting chill. Both tournaments were held from Doiron’s in Stephensville, and anglers could fish either the Atchafalaya or Verret basin.

“We had a good turnout, 100 boats, and we had two 21-pound-plus stringers,” Anglers Against Autism’s Keith Thibodeaux said. “The big stringer came from the southern end of the Atchafalaya Spillway, but we had the second-place catch and several top-flight stringers come from the Belle River side.”

A check from AAA’s weigh-in showed more than half the field had five-bass limits. The same was true in the two-day Louisiana B.A.S.S. Nation tournament.

“The deciding factor seemed to be finding the heavier females in prespawn mode,” Thibodeaux said. “Some fishermen said the big females they found earlier in the week left the area or pulled away from spawning areas.”

David Cavell fished both weekends and said he and AAA partner Corey Wheat “ just couldn’t get that 4-5 pounder to help our 3-pound average.”

And it took a 3-pound average on the five-bass limit to make AAA’s top 15. Cavell confirmed heavier bass came from the Atchafalaya’s Flat Lake area. He said he and Wheat had “lots of action on a black and blue Delta Lures Thunder Jig (a bladed jig), frogs and soft plastics around cypress trees.

“The key was staying away from the Intracoastal Canal and the (Atchafalaya) river,” Cavell said. “It was amazing so many guys caught fish with the (Atchafalaya) river rising.”

Rising water sent Cavell and Wheat to the Bayou Pigeon area.

“It was a fun weekend. Anytime you can catch fish and cull 3-pounders to make your (tournament) limit is a great weekend,” Cavell said. “But what’s so weird about this year is the northern part of the Atchafalaya is holding lots of water along with Grand River and Pat’s Bay, but when you get to Bay Natchez (in the Verret Basin) and in the Bayou Pigeon area, water is not high. And when the Mississippi River is at 30 feet in Baton Rouge, and the Atchafalaya is at 3.5 feet (a very fishable level) at Morgan City, then it’s a weird year.”

Bass action has picked up on False River, too.

Thibodeaux said AAA’s anglers and sponsors contributed $8,000 to the Emerge Center to help families battling autism. He said Jerome Suggs and Jared Watson won Moonie Bergeron’s $300 bounty for weighing in a 3.00-pound bass.

Anglers vs. Autism

STEPHENSVILLE—The top 15 teams from 9th annual Anglers Against Autism bass tournament on March 6 held from Doiron’s Landing with anglers, number of bass weighed in parentheses (5-bass limit) and total catch weight in pounds.Also the top three big bass:

Top 15: 1, Bradley Guidry-Jedd Lipari (5) 21.7 pounds, $5,000. 2, Chase Martinez-Brad Callegan (5) 21.12, $2,300. 3, Dwaine Cantello-Tyler Cantello (5) 18.88, $1,550. 4, Howard Hartley-Scott Thibodeaux (5) 18.54, $1,300. 5, Marvin Alleman-Scott Alleman (5) 18.5, $1,200.

6, Jimmy Charbonnet-Donnie Spurlock (5) 17.24, $900. 7, Willie Couch II-Willie Couch III (5) 16.62, $650. 8, Eric Weaver-Shane Grimmett (5) 16.4, $550. 9, Ty Patin-Tyson Mire (5) 16.36, $500. 10, Logan Latuso-Ross Roper (5) 16.12, $425.

11, Steve Gullotta-Roger Hudnall (5) 15.86, $350. 12, Wayne Tucker-Chuck Major (5) 15.72, $300. 13, Stevie Gautreau-Beau Gautreau (5) 15.68, $275. 14, Brandon Madine-Cameron Aucoin (5) 15.48, $240. 15, Corey Wheat-David Cavell (5) 15.4, $225.

Big Bass: 1, Guidry-Lipari, 5.9 pounds, $500. 2, Patin-Mire, 5.4, $300. 3, Latuso-Roper, 5.34, $200.

Louisiana Bass Nation

STEPHENSVILLE — Top 15 in Boater and Co-Angler divisions in the two-day Louisiana B.A.S.S. Nation qualifying tournament held from Doiron’s Landing with anglers, their club affiliation, number of bass weighed (five-bass daily limit in Boater, three-bass daily limit in Co-Angler) and total catch weight in pounds. Also Big Bass leaders in both divisions:

BOATER

Top 15: 1, Garrett Strickland, Ascension Area Anglers (10) 29.88 pounds. 2, Tim Carmouche, Ascension Area Anglers (10) 29.41. 3, Ross Roper, Grandpoint Bassmasters (10) 28.76. 4, Curry Schaubhut Jr., Grandpoint Bassmasters (10) 27.37. 5, Ryan Kemp, Westside Bassmasters (10) 26.02.

6, Kevin Simon, La Bass (10) 25.92. 7, Charles Hewitt, Ascension Area Anglers (10) 25.71. 8, Ryan Lavigne, Ascension Area Anglers (10) 25.45. 9, Jamie Laiche, Ascension Area Anglers (10) 25.25. 10, Mike Bueche, Lake Verret Bass Club (10) 25.13.

11, Malcolm Smith, Westside Bassmasters (10) 24.55. 12, David Cavell, Ascension Area Anglers (10) 24.4. 13, Benjamin Nobile, Ascension Area Anglers (10) 24.34. 14, Teddy Granier, South Lafourche Bassmaster (10) 23.99. 15, Garrett Kemp, Twin Rivers Bass Anglers (10) 23.98.

Big Bass: 1, Roper, 6.21 pounds. 2, Caleb Prestenbach, St. Mary Bassmasters, 5.19. 3 (tie), Carmouche & Schaubhut, 5.15.

CO-ANGLER

Top 15: 1, Travis Bodin, Westside Bassmasters (6) 17.05. 2, Jason Campbell, St. Mary Bassmasters (6) 15.72. 3, Peyton Grizzaffi, Morgan City High (6) 15.3. 4, Ben Parker, Nicholls State (6) 14.75. 5, Dwight Minogue, Ascension Area Anglers (6) 14.22.

6, Justin Hebert, Bass Finatics (5) 12.94. 7, Vince Sonnier, Poor Boys Bass Club (6) 12.66. 8, Charles Major, Twin Rivers Bass Anglers (5) 12.4. 9, Hunter Neuville, Atchafalaya Bassmasters (6) 11.7. 10, Pete Adams, La Bass (6) 11.7.

11, Colby Badeaux, BR Metro Bassmasters (6) 10.99. 12, Corey Babineaux, La Bass (5) 10.51. 13, Dwayne Guitreau Jr., Lake Verret Bass Club (4) 10.14. 14, Ronald Leblanc, Atchafalaya Bassmasters (4) 10.1. 15, Hunter Thibodeaux, Atchafalaya Bassmasters (5) 9.99.

Big Bass: 1, Bodin, 5.34. 2, Major, 5.04. 3, Jordan Davenport, LSU Sportsman Fishing Club, 4.39.