Bass photo

John Chaney, left, and his son, Hanson, hold the five largemouth bass Hanson caught to take the 15-18 year-old group and overall first place in Saturday's Junior Southwest Bassmasters tournament held from Bayou Segnette State Park in Westwego. While low water plagued the 28 young fishermen, the winning catches in all three age groups had a five-bass limit.

Just when fishermen thought they might have figured all this rainy, somewhat mild winter thing figured out, they come to the stark realization — again — that they haven't, and likely might never be able to.

A couple of weeks ago, the B.A.S.S. High School bass qualifier produced a handful of wow!-look-at-those-largemouths stringers from the Bayou Segnette State Park launch in Westwego. For more than 50 young anglers in the 300-plus field, it was winter bass fishing at its south Louisiana best.

That was then. The now is after the Thursday-Friday cold front pushed 30-40 knot north winds across the coast, the Junior Southwest Bassmasters youngsters and their adult “captains” launched into waters substantially lower — and predictably much less productive — than the high-schoolers faced just days before.

Because the location for JSB’s monthly tournaments are selected 10 days in advance, Bayou Segnette was a clear favorite. So many other areas close to home were high, muddy and on a continued rise.

So, the vagaries of wintertime fishing caught up to them. It’s something that happens to the best, and somehow enough among the 28 young anglers managed to solve the low-water, “bluebird” conditions to make a good show.

Hanson Chaney led the way. His five-bass, 11.37-pound catch was the best of show and topped the 15-18 year-old age group that included five-bass limits for second- and third-place finishers Peyton Matherne and Jacob Tuillier.

Even Burris won the 11-14 age group with a limit weighing 8.58 pounds, and Mason Foster’s 6.66-pound, five-bass limit took first in the 7-10 age group.

Hunter Robinson’s 3.05-pounder was the day’s big fish.

Club organizer Jim Breaux reported most of the fish, “were caught on soft plastics, vibrating jigs, frogs, top waters, and caffeine shad.”

A note: In the results you’ll find Hanson Chaney with the same weight as his dad, John. Breaux explained a club rule allows the parent/guide to take the same weight as the young angler in his boat, but the adult cannot carryover the youth’s big bass.

The adult has the option of using the junior's weight for the team’s (adult) weight. If he chooses that option, the adult is not eligible for the adult Big Bass award.

For more on this club, call Breaux at (225) 772-3026.

The conditions

The amount of rain that fell in your area Monday night will determine water levels in rivers, bayous and places like the Verret Basin.

We’re in the middle of the longest stretch of sunshine in weeks, and that should help break the early morning chill and the cold rainwater — and possibly push more fish to spawning beds ahead of March 9’s full moon.

But, with northerly and westerly winds lingering well into Saturday, don’t look for water to return to the marshes, and a high barometer likely will keep most fish in the doldrums before it begins to fall from this week’s high of a 30.42 inches reading. Another three-day period of rain is in the forecast beginning Tuesday.

The latest

Decent catches of sac-a-lait came from the Tchefuncte River leading up to Mardi Gras. The fish continued to hang in deep water off the ends of piers and in the deeper brushpiles, but they were there and taking shiners and tube jigs.

Sticking to the deeper rivers, bayous and canals is the best advice, which likely accounts for the action on catfish and bass in the Delacroix area. Fishing market shrimp on or near the bottom produced catfish in the Oak River area, and fishing the drains and runouts with small soft plactics were the ticket for male and larger female bass.

The MRGO and The Wall is one place to find trout, redfish and bass, which are reacting to slowly worked plastics.

Last shot

The last two speckled trout public meeting are this week in Alexandria (Thursday) and Ruston (Saturday).

Remember, if you want to make comment, email Wildlife and Fisheries Marine Fisheries Section biologist Jason Adriance at jadriance@wlf.la.gov.

Did you see this?

Florida has set its red snapper season for Gulf of Mexico waters to run  June 11 through July 25 with, as the announcement stated, “with a possible fall reopening if quota is available.” These dates apply to private recreation fishermen and to charter operations without a federal reef fish permit.

And, if you believe Louisiana anglers are wading into a hotbed about speckled trout, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, through executive order, has extended catch-and-release regulations on speckled trout, snook and redfish for an additional year through May 31, 2021, “in all waters from the Hernando/Pasco county line south through Gordon Pass in Collier County.”

The action has been, and is being taken to, according to the FWC, “to help conserve these popular inshore species that were negatively impacted by a prolonged red tide that occurred in late 2017 through early 2019.”