Ever notice, in our hustle-and-bustle world, how difficult it is to get knowledgeable folks to gather in one place at one time?
OK, so Tiger Stadium and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome are exceptions. Everyone in those seats are experts. Right? Throw the PMAC and Alex Box Stadium, too.
But when it comes to the outdoors, especially fishing, about the only big attraction is a tournament or rodeo to move lots of people to a singular cause, if only because there’s a prize waiting at the end of the day or days.
Not so Saturday.
The “not so” is the annual Red Stick Day, the 26th in a row for the Red Stick Fly Fishers' blowout at the Waddill Wildlife Education Center in Baton Rouge. From the group’s name, you can tell the day is all about the art and science of fly fishing, and it’s a day most of its members and the invited speakers and featured fly-tiers give up doing what they like to do best — fishing — for a day to teach young and old the simple beauty of their sport.
“We love doing it,” longtime RSFF guy Roger del Rio said a couple of years ago. “Yeah, we’d like to get new members to join, but it’s more than that. We enjoy what we do, and we want to let others know they can enjoy it, too.”
Best of all it’s free. The club sells lunches for those who stay the 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m run of Red Stick Day, and there’s a raffle of usually one-of-a-kind tackle to help the club’s treasury which funds local conservation and educational fishing projects.
This year’s fly-tiers is a who’s who of local and regional artists — yes, artists, because it’s amazing when you see what these guys turn out with yarn, thread, tinsel and feathers. Local and area guys like Marc Pinsel, Ron Braud and Kyle Moppert will be joined by New Orleans area tiers Mike Jackson and nationally renowned Ted Cabali, and fellow Louisianans Ray Boudreaux, Ron Foreman, Kenneth Breaux and Steve Oliver will demonstrate their expertise in tying freshwater and saltwater flies proven over the years to catch species from bluegill, sac-a-lait, bass and cold-water trout to speckled trout and redfish.
Day-long seminars will feature dedicated local anglers like Glen “Catch” Cormier and Kevin Andry, the St. Michael High’s band director who’s organized the school’s one-and-only high school fly fishing club.
Joining them are well-recognized national instructors Kirk Dietrich, the author of “Tying Bugs: The complete Book of Poppers, Sliders, and Divers for Fresh and Salt Water;” master caster Jay Clark, the former San Francisco Fishing and Casting Club; and, Orvis presenters and cold-water trout guides Alex Beane and Ian Huang.
The schedule completes with casting instruction and an introduction to the increasing popular kayak fishing. If you need more, go to the club’s website: rsff.org.
‘Not so’ part deux
The generosity of the south Louisiana outdoors community is astounding, and one more brick in this building comes up Saturday.
Like RSFF, the dedication to a cause comes to the fore with the Angling Against Autism bass tournament and South Louisiana Family Festival at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales.
Yes, there is a $5,000 first-place prize awaiting the bass tournament’s winning team. The “not so” is the determination of dozens of volunteers who turn out every first Saturday in March to help the increasing number of families fighting for and dealing with their children with any in a number of degrees of autism.
During the past decade or so, this event has raised tens of thousands of dollars to help the Baton Rouge-based Emerge Center, and most of the success has come from the generosity of sponsors and the fishing community.
Craig “Moonie” and Angela Bergeron took on this task of enlisting family and friends, then convincing the Emerge Center this event could provide much-needed funding for families who couldn’t afford all that’s needed to help their children.
Raffles, silent auctions and cooking contests — this year it’s boiled crawfish — turned it from a bunch of guys, gals and young anglers showing up to show off their fishing prowess into a day-long, family-friendly event.
Now with the Family Festival added to the bass tournament, there’s kids fishing, an ag farm, an arts and crafts fair, a car/truck show and hot air balloon rides in the mix.
For the anglers, Moonie Bergeron said Friday, the only allowed “fishing” area south of U.S. 90 will be Bateman Island, and, as usual, he’s putting up $300 for the first team to bring in a bass weighing exactly $300. The predawn launch will be at Doiron’s in Stephensville, and there’s a 4 p.m. weigh-in.
For details go to the center’s website: emergela.org. Go to the “support” pulldown, then click on events to find bass tournament details.