Large baits, large fish.

How many times have you heard that mentioned when it comes to targeting bragging-sized largemouth bass or redfish or any of the other species Louisiana fishermen pursue?

Now, in the first weeks of the season most other folks called “spring,” a season we could more precisely label “pre-summer,” that’s not the case.

Evidence is coming from all quarters that indicate bass, redfish and other species are ready to break from winter’s doldrums and gorge on almost anything that moves.

And size is not an issue with them.

“It’s more of a case of matching what’s out there,” Cajun Fishing Adventures veteran guide Joe D’Marco said. “We’re catching fish on small baits, because that’s what’s out here.”

The five redfish taken on a late afternoon trip proved him right: The same four-inch long soft-plastic lures D’Marco dragged slowly during the winter and into the very early spring days to take speckled trout are the same baits those five bull reds inhaled to start a many-minutes battle. The redfish, 10-to-30 pounds-plus, were boated and released that afternoon. The 14 trout that came aboard provided supper.

Same’s true in freshwater. Jeff McMorris came in with one of the two 6-pound bass weighed in last week’s Pro Bass Challenge. Reports were that McMorris and half-dozen others who topped stringers with 5-pound-plus largemouths, caught them on baits between 4-5 inches long. Most of them came on light-colored tubes while others took “junior” versions of “creature” baits like D-Bombs, Sweet Beavers and Brush Hogs.

One explanation is that the shad, bluegill and even crawfish are small and the bass are zoned in on these morsels. Larger baits will work after this food has had a chance to grow in the coming weeks.

Council on snapper

Uncertainty over whether U.S. Department of Commerce secretary Penny Pritzker will approve Sector Separation and how many of the five Gulf states will keep their red snapper seasons in line with federal seasons are the factors holding up the announcement of the recreational red snapper season in federal waters.

Following last week’s Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meeting in Mississippi, recreational anglers could get as many as 21 days or as few as seven days depending on which model the GMFMC will use coming from Pritzker’s decision to sign or not sign the Sector Separation move, and the states’ decision on state’s recreational red snapper seasons length and daily limits.

Sector Separation is a plan that would carve a charterboat/headboat quota from the annual allowable recreational take of red snapper.

The four models, by name, and the duration of recreational seasons include :

Sector Separation/noncompatible state seasons: 7-11 days;

Sector Separation/compatible state seasons: 9-16 days;

No Sector Separation/noncompatible state seasons: 12-17 days;

No Sector Separation/compatible state seasons: 15-21 days.

The GMFMC announced this week that a decision on the duration of recreational season will be announced in May.

No matter the length of any season, the season is scheduled to open June 1 in federal waters.

A local winner

David Cavell of Prairieville teamed with longtime friend Albert Collins, who is among the top amateur Lone Star State anglers, to win the BassCat Owner’s Invitational last Thursday and Friday on Sam Rayburn Reservoir in eastern Texas. Cavell and Collins brought in a limit both days and their 10-bass catch weighed 33.13 pounds, just one one-hundredths of a pound better than the Arkansas team of Lonnie and Billy Ray Turner.

While three other Louisiana teams finished ahead of them, Bo Jack Anderson of Prairieville paired with Alexandria’s Ted Pate to finish 14th in the 64-angler field with a 26.19-pound catch.