Big bass

Junior's giant

Caleb Roblin used this monster bass, an 8.63 pounder, to win the Junior Southwest Bassmasters' monthly tournament last weekend from the public landing in Amelia. Competing in the 15-18 year-old age division, the Denham Springs angler set an all-time club record with this lunker, which was among the 116 bass released alive after fish were weighed. There were 17 five-bass limits among the 24 young anglers, and reports indicated most fish came from the Verret Basin and the Bayou Black areas.

Did we fail to honor Mother Nature enough on Mother’s Day?

Maybe, because every day since May’s second Sunday south Louisiana has been plagued by foul weather, so much so that we can rival the descriptions of what rain was like during biblical times.

To top all this, came Friday’s news that the dam at Bayou Sorrel collapsed and the Bayou Sorrel and Bayou Pigeon communities were evacuated.

False River is closed to motorboating. This oxbow lake neared the 19-foot level Friday and will not reopen to traffic until levels fall below 17 feet.

Landing are closed throughout the Verret Basin, and No Wake zones are posted.

The Florida Parishes river and bayous continue to run high and muddy.

Even though it looks we will have a chance to dry out in the coming days, persistent southerly winds will keep water levels high after last week’s deluge, and the chance of coastal flooding will remain through this week.

With a holiday weekend coming up, there’s little chance of getting on the water with any degree of safety, and, please, for those folks battling high water, don’t make matters worse than they are.

Safe Boating Week

All this water comes during Safe Boating Week which runs through Friday.

Our state annually wades into this national awareness knowing we have already recorded nine boating fatalities this year, and that coming after 2020’s 24 boating deaths.

This week will be the chance for all fishermen and boaters to make sure they have all the safety devices required. That means having serviceable life jackets for all aboard, a throwable devise, ropes, flares, whistles or horns, operable running lights and a fire extinguisher.

Remember, state law requires anyone 16 years and younger aboard a boat under 26 feet long to wear a life jacket when the boat is under way.

And, Wildlife and Fisheries’ top boating-safety manager, LTC Rachel Zechenelly, made sure to advise anyone driving a boat to remain sober, or, if you’re nabbed, you face the same same penalties as those convicted of vehicular DUI, and adding the loss of boating privileges to losing their driver’s license.

Another state law requires anyone “...born after Jan. 1, 1984 that they are required to successfully complete a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators boating education course to operate a motorboat over 10 horsepower.”

For complete boating regulations, go to the LDWF website: www.wlf.louisiana.gov, then click on the “boating” tab.

After the flood

A friend driving along Burbank Drive in south Baton Rouge last week saw two dead deer, victims of being driven from lowlands by floodwaters.

Wildlife and Fisheries took time last week to remind us about displaced animals fleeing from flooded areas, warning against feeding displaced animals, avoiding areas where wildlife have taken refuge and driving safe speeds along roadways to reduce collisions with wildlife.

The warnings included species like black bears, alligators, all snakes, deer and feral hogs.

If a wildlife problem persists, go to the LDWF website: www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/nuisance-wildlife-control-and-removal.

At Elmer’s Island

Access to Elmer’s Island will get easier next weekend.

A beach shuttle will begin operating Memorial Day weekend and will run from sunrise to sunset daily through Labor Day.

According to the LDWF, the shuttle can free transport up to five passengers and gear from the parking area at Elmer’s Island beach to two miles east toward Caminada Pass.

The parking area is located at the end of the access road off La. 1.

A reminder

You will need a no-fee Recreational Offshore Landing Permit if you want to take red snapper when the season opens Friday in addition to state basic and saltwater fishing licenses. Get the ROLP on the LDWF website: wlf.louisiana.gov.

Sad days

May brought so many sad days to our outdoors family.

Gone are Larry Doiron Sr., Gary Alford, Kyle Jackson and Pete Lammons.

Doiron developed the area around Stephensville and made it into a fishing mecca for tens of thousands of freshwater anglers. He was generous, down to earth, a good friend and his efforts provided well for his family.

Alford was a great shooter and you didn’t want to be behind him in a dove field or on a sporting clays course. His sharp wit was always something to enjoy, and as a good businessman he offered his good fortune to help youngsters get into the sport he loved so dearly.

Jackson was far too young. The Catholic High tennis coach not only brought championships to his alma mater, and more than that, he was waist deep into dedicating his time to continuing the school’s Alumni Fishing Rodeo.

Then, there’s Lammons. Not many of you knew him, but the former NFL player died earlier this month while competing in a Major League Fishing fishing event. The 77-year-old lived in Houston, and we remember him from the days when he competed in the Pro Bass Challenge, a bass tournament for south Louisiana locals and current and former NFL players.

All were likable men who will be missed mightily and heartfelt condolences to their family and many friends.