Bass photo

Hanson Chaney, left, and Luke Ferachi pose with five bass weighing more than 15 pounds to win Saturday's Louisiana High School East qualifying tournament.

There’s silver vein near Sulfur Mine Lake and Tom LeBlanc and his longtime fishing buddies, Ron Aime and Cesar Garcia struck it rich Monday.

Launching from Bason’s in Cut Off, the trio’s first stop was the lake. LeBlanc said boats were piled up on the south end, but nothing was happening there, so they went into old Bayou Blue, caught two keeper speckled trout, then looked for a more productive spot.

“We found water moving out from a cut, a small canal, and the fish (silver specks) were there,” LeBlanc said. “We stayed there a long time and had to fish hard, but we came home with our best catch in a long time.”

Yeah, 57 trout 13-16 inches long, a couple of keeper redfish and, surprisingly, a 14-inch white trout — yes, LeBlanc keeps detailed records — and it looks like he’ll keep “mining” those trout throughout this chilly, clearweather push.

What’s important to note was his report of 31.13 inches barometric pressure, just high enough to bring clear skies, a warming sun — maybe why catches were better later in morning on the falling tide — but not too high pressure to drive the fish deep and reduce the bite.

Young fishers

From what Walker High’s Hanson Chaney and Luke Ferachi, and enough other teenagers, too, did Saturday, it’s clear the Atchafalaya Spillway and Verret Basin waters have enough bass to go around.

Chaney and Ferachi won the 200-angler Louisiana B.A.S.S. Nation East Division fall qualifying tournament from Doiron’s Landing in Stephensville with a five-bass limit weighing 15.69 pounds.

Patterson High’s Logan Martin and Dylan Verret were next at 14.49 and Ethan Simon and Connor Rushing from Central High were third with 12.33 pounds. Live Oak High’s Chance Shelby brought in a solid 5.36-pounder to top the big bass list.

Jackson Rogers and Caden Sellers took the 18-angler Junior Division event with 9.38 pounds.

The Livingston Parish Bassmasters won the team trophy.

State Nation Youth director Eugene Hoover’s report was even more impressive in that the top 20 high school teams came to the scales with five-fish limits.

Be an agent

Wildlife and Fisheries’ Enforcement Division is opening its application process to fill a 24-cadet class set to begin March 2020.

The six-month training will be held at the LDWF’s Waddill Outdoor Education Center in Baton Rouge. The application deadline is Nov. 24.

Anyone interested can apply online through the Louisiana Department of Civil Service website: civilservice.louisiana.gov for “Wildlife Enforcement Cadet,” and all applicants must complete the LEAPS 9500 test.

“We are looking for men and women that have a strong work ethic, enjoy the outdoors and have an interest in law enforcement,” Enforcement Division chief Col. Sammy Martin said. “Getting the chance to work in the outdoors while upholding conservation laws as well as our other duties makes for a very rewarding experience and career field.”

Martin said graduating agents will fill field officer vacancies around the state.

Now, for lionfish

Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is far and away leading the battle to remove nonnative lionfish from state and federal waters, and announced the results of its 2019 (the fourth annual) Lionfish Challenge.

Ken Ayers from Bay County was crowned Lionfish King after he took 1,194 lionfish to win the Recreational Division. John McCain (983) and Shea Lowe (942) completed the top three.

Joshua Livingston won the Commercial Division with 3,192.8 pounds removed from the water, and Ron Surrency had the largest lionfish at 433 mm – that’s more than 16 inches long – and the smallest, from Nikkie Cox, measured just 37 mm.

The totals: 23,451 lionfish removed by 349 registered fishermen.

And, yes, there are lionfish living on the reefs off Louisiana’s coast.