Turkey

And on the last day...

Central Intermediate School 11-year-old Camden Day will have lots to remember during the upcoming summer break from schoolwork after taking his first gobbler during Sunday's final day of the spring turkey season. He was hunting with his dad, Dale, on family property north of Clinton near the Woodlands community. The young hunter's trophy had a 10 1/2-inch beard and one-inch-long spurs. The lone remaining hunting season, the spring squirrel season, closes May 26 and hunters will have to stow gear until September until the opening days of the dove season.

In the hubbub of dealing with all the rain and high rivers, is it possible we’ve overlooked a pretty darned good run on speckled trout along the Central Coast?

Yep, but not now.

After showing up at The Fourchon for the unofficial start of the push for the 71st Golden Meadow-Fourchon Tarpon Rodeo near the end of last week, it was evident waters from Four Bayous Pass west as far as the Last Island chain as giving up trout and just enough redfish to test tackle and angling skills.

Frank Dreher at Laid Back Charters on Grand Isle had a party landing 53 specks Wednesday — all nice 15-plus-inch fish — and Spots and Specks Charter’s boss Eddie Berthelot had what looked like a solid catch Thursday morning in the laid-down surf fronting Elmer’s Island.

Know this: the water along the beaches in not clear. In fact, it’s muddy, but live shrimp worked under a cork or on a Carolina rig are responsible for most of these trout bites. There is some early action on cocahoe minnows and live croakers, but these live-bait presentations are second to live shrimp, and these little live fishes will draw the attention of redfish and black drum.

And, yes, there are hardhead catfish in most places except in the surf.

While the brown shrimp in the holding tanks are on the small side, it doesn’t seem to matter, but larger shrimp do produce larger trout.

This action comes just in time for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, Friday’s start of the recreational red snapper season and Saturday’s opening days of CCA Louisiana’s summer-long Statewide Tournament and Anglers’ Rodeo — the S.T.A.R. — and the $500,000 in prizes awaiting winners in Open, Ladies Only and Youth divisions and tagged redfish competition.

S.T.A.R. registration is open at the CCA-La website: ccastar.com.

About shrimp

The spring inshore shrimp season opens Monday morning from South Pass on the Mississippi River west to Freshwater Bayou.

It means there will be an invasion of small shrimp boats working the inside waters, and it means lots of stirred-up water. The target is brown shrimp and working nets in shallow waters of the bays and coastal lakes does cause predatory fish to move.

This activity won’t affect the beaches too much until the brown shrimp decide to move from places like the Barataria and Terrebonne estuaries.

And, just Friday, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced a Monday opening of the state’s “outside” waters from the Atchafalaya River Ship Channel at Eugene Island west to western shore of Freshwater Bayou Canal.

The reason is state biologists determined overwintering white shrimp in the area have reached marketable size.

Safe Boating Week

With the start of the summer boating season comes Louisiana Safe Boating Week.

The reminder is a call for responsible safe handling of boats not only this week but also for a lifetime.

It means wearing a life jacket — a requirement for all 16 and younger while the boat is under way — and a call for boat owners to inspect and update the equipment required on their boats, including having a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for everyone aboard. Remember flares, whistles, operational running lights, a throwable lifesaving device and a fire extinguisher.

There were 20 boating fatalities in our state in 2018 and all but three of the victims were not wearing personal flotation devises — a life jacket. There have been five boating deaths this year.

It also means being careful about operating a boat if you’re drinking alcoholic beverages. If you’re caught “under the influence,” then convicted, the penalties are the same as a DWI.

This week is reminder for anyone born after Jan. 1, 1984, must successfully complete state-approved boating education course to operate any powered boat with an engine or motor rated more than 10 horsepower. For a list of boating courses, go the the LDWF’s website: wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/courses.