Sunday wild art

All-American angler

Wes Rollo, a senior at Natchitoches Central, is one of 12 teenagers named to the Bassmaster High School All-American Fishing Team. Rollo was selected from among 400 names submitted, and, with and against the other 11 on the team, will compete in this week's All-American bass tournament held with the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest on Lake Fork. Rollo has earned a berth in the High School Nationals. Since he was 12, Rollo has battled leukemia, and doctors at St. Jude's Children's Hospital credited fishing with a turnaround in his prognosis. Combined with his fishing exploits and his high school grades, Rollo organized and got help to raise money while taking dinner and providing Christmas gifts for St. Jude's kids and their families at the Ronald McDonald House in Memphis (Tennessee).

If you’ve never paid attention to Louisiana coastal tides, then now is the time.

Adventuresome anglers have braved the recent spate of powerful fronts to send in reports of solid speckled trout catches in Terrebonnne-Barataria waters and places like Hopedale and the marches on the east and west sides of the Mississippi River from Empire south.

Just last week, Frank Dreher at Grand Isle said two good weather days helped put right at two-angler limits each day on the table. And, despite an approaching front Thursday morning, 2-pound-plus trout were the norm in areas north of the island.

There is equal action east of Grand Isle, and, when winds lay, the action in the lower Terrebonne bays have been productive.

But here’s the part about the tides: Go back to Thursday’s Outdoors page and check the tide chart for Tuesday through Thursday.

Notice the three- and four-tide days, and notice anything about tidal strength for those days?

Four tide days happen once, maybe twice a month for most of our coast, and only last three days. (It’s an oddity here. Most places in the world have four tides every day.)

Most times these four-tide days have relatively weak movement, but this week’s four-tide periods come with relatively strong tidal strength.

For folks fishing the marshes, it means water will be moving either in or out most all day, and water movement usually means predator fish will be more active because what they eat will be more active.

In the open bays, it means trout and other predators will gather in the lee of reefs and along jetties to take advantage of passing shrimp and baitfish.

Along the beaches, trout and redfish move to the shallows to feed on the shrimp, baitfish and crabs, which are moving in to feed on the morsels they need to survive.

Naturally, the effects of tides across the broad expanse of shallow water is influenced by winds, and the early forecast is for southeast winds around 10 knots. That comes after a post-front weekend of up to 20-knot northwest and northeast winds.

The northerly winds push lots of water from the marshes and bays, and a return to the southeast will bring more water back into these areas. It also should push more shrimp into the bays and bring clearer water, too.

When that happens, and you can take advantage of lighter morning winds, it’s time to start watching for laughing gulls diving to feed on shrimp, and those feeding gulls can lead you to trout gorging after wintering in the marshes and putting on weight for the coming spawn.

Bon chance!

The commission

The spring inshore shrimp season always dominates the discussion for the Wildlife and Commission’s May monthly meeting, and it will for Thursday’s meeting at state Wildlife headquarters on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge.

Best note a change in the usual time: the meeting is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

The LWFC first hears a review of the data from agency biologists most of which points to a “crossover” date when shrimp — brown shrimp are the targets for this season — are larger than 100 to the pound. LDWF biologist Peyton Cagle outlines these dates in several estuaries and the seven-member commission votes on the opening dates for each of these areas.

Other agenda items include:

  • A final public-comment summary on the 2019-2020 hunting seasons;
  • Reports on the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council’s April meeting from which state management for recreational red snapper was approved;
  • Recognition of LDWF biologists and managers responsible for the development of LA Creel, the widely acclaimed fisheries data collection system for offshore species, notably red snapper;
  • A report “Angler Attitudes Toward Red Snapper Management: Fishery Importance, Catch Reporting and Agency Perceptions,” by LSU professor Steve Midway;
  • And, updates on the wildlife/fisheries bills and any resolutions coming from the current State Legislative Session.


Planning to travel to Florida for a fishing trip?

Florida’s snook season will close Wednesday in all waters along the Gulf of Mexico including Monroe County and Everglades National Park.

And, because of Florida’s battle with red tides, fishermen must pay heed to a catch-and-release only regulation in waters from the Pasco-Hernando county line south to Gordon Pass in Collier County.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s announcement also carried an ominous warning about the commission’s intent to “discuss whether to extend the current red-tide related measures for this species, as well as red drum and spotted seatrout, for an additional year.”