Wounded and disabled military veterans, among the millions we honored last Sunday, hopefully will find out just how much Louisiana appreciates their service to our country with a special program to get them on the water.
The target is the remaining red snapper quota Louisiana anglers did not take during this year’s recreational season.
Through the combined efforts of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office, the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the Department of Veterans Affairs and a special push from CCA Louisiana, the plan is to team with Wounded War Heroes to identify these special men and women for a special day or days in Louisiana waters in the Gulf of Mexico.
LA Creel, the state’s federally approved data collection system, showed in early August recreational fishermen came up 5,911 pounds short of the LDWF’s self-imposed 743,000-pound red snapper recreational limit.
Here’s the rub: Any remaining quota must be caught before Dec. 31, and the fish must be taken in state waters out to nine miles off Louisiana coast.
The move comes at time when cooler Gulf of Mexico water temperatures usually means a move of red snapper into state waters. That and the remaining quota was a starting place for getting the wounded and disabled veterans into this unprecedented fishing adventure.
Because it wasn’t feasible to stay within the annual quota by opening a special all-inclusive weekend season, it’s much easier to monitor special groups targeting red snapper.
This special season is open through a permit application.
That’s where CCA Louisiana enters the picture: The state’s top fishermen’s organization will muster members with boats to set off on this mission.
“This is a very unique opportunity to give back to heroes who have given so much for us,” CCA executive director David Cresson said. “CCA is proud to support this effort, and encourages all of our members to donate their boats and their time to take a wounded veteran fishing.”
Folks willing to offer their boats can email Wounded War Heroes, email@example.com and write “red snapper” on the subject line.
After that, it’s up to WWH to put veterans, boat owners, locations and dates together, and further coordinate with Wildlife and Fisheries for the special permits.
For boat owners, it’s probably good advice to have a current (no fee) Recreational Offshore Landing Permit before doing this good deed.
“Thank you for allowing the Wounded War Heroes to be a part of this event. It really means a lot,” WWH’s Deron Santiny said. “I know I speak for all of them in saying that you have no idea how much this means to us.”
Santiny is an Office of Veterans Affairs commissioner, and tributes to the veterans and this program flowed from the Governor’s Office and the two state agencies.
Veterans Affairs secretary Joey Strickland said, “Healing through nature and activities in the outdoors, like fishing, has been proven to be beneficial to veterans,” before thanking fellow veterans Edwards and LDWF secretary Jack Montoucet for their work in getting this plan off and running.
“We can never do enough to thank our veterans for their service to our country, but we’ll always try. I think our veterans will enjoy having the chance to catch the popular red snapper,” Edwards said. “I hope our wounded veterans, who sacrificed so much for our country, will have a great time on their fishing trips. They deserve it, and it is a great way to ensure we catch our full allotment of red snapper in 2018.”
For Montoucet, the reaction to the plan was, “Let’s make it happen.
“Our anglers did such a great job helping our agency manage the red snapper catch numbers earlier this year, that now we are in a position to do something good for our wounded veterans. I could not be happier.”
Cresson said any CCA member volunteering their boat should also copy the WWH email to him: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Downright chilly mornings and sunshine-filled days mean only one thing for fishermen – wait until the sun breaks the cold so you can settle into a comfortable fishing day.
There is no single fishing forecast for coastal action on trout and redfish, and folks know the high-water situations in the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers.
Light winds and the lack of rainfall make for the best conditions through Tuesday before wind speed increased Wednesday and rain is in the forecast Thursday through Saturday.
Know, too, despite recent cold, water temperatures have not fallen to match the thermometer, and fish remain active, even to the point where trout, redfish and bass have moved onto the flats and to the banks in most “fishable” places.
Wednesday’s increasing northeast winds will put a damper on some of that action.
If you need more weather info, go to these websites:
-National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Forecasts: nws.noaa.gov. Find the “Coastal/Great Lakes Forecasts by Zones – Gulf – New Orleans, La.
-Weather Underground: wunderground.com. Current conditions, a 10-day forecast, and hour-by-hour predicted temperatures, winds, precipitation and barometric pressure.
-National Weather Service’s River Forecast Center: water.weather.gov for river stages.