Bass photo

Wyatt Ensminger shows off his two heaviest bass from his five-bass limit weighing 13.1 poundS to win the 15-18 year-old age group in Saturday's Junior Southwest Bassmasters final 2019 tournament held from Doiron's Landing. An accomplished junior angler, the 2017 state high school champion and two-time national high school championship qualifier is graduating from high school and will become a member of the 2020 Southeastern Louisiana University bass fishing team. After fishing with the club for the past six years, this tournament was his last in the club.

It looks like the youngsters showed us the way again.

OK, so they had a little help from their adult partners, mostly dads, uncles and grandpas, but with catches like Jackson Rogers and Wyatt Ensminger had Saturday, these young anglers appear to know what they’re doing with rods and reels in their hands.

Rogers won the Junior Southwest Bassmasters’ 11-14 year-old age group with a five-bass limit weighing a solid 14.8 pounds. Ensminger took the 15-18 age group with a 13.1-pound catch. JSB went from Doiron’s Landing in Stephensville and the adult-young anglers teams could fish either the Belle River (east) or Atchafalaya Spillway (west) sides of the guide levee.

With 23 teams showing, it looked like the early morning chill kept participation down — monthly tournaments usually draw 40 or more boats — and the combination of the cold front and coming off last week’s full moon crippled the morning action. About half the field went east.

Only eight five-bass limits were brought to the scales. Word from JSB organizer Jim Breaux was the bass didn’t seem to wake up until the middle of the day, yet there was an average of 2.21 pounds for the 60 bass weighed. All fish were released alive.

Breaux reported vibrating jigs and crankbaits produced as did punching mats with soft-plastic creature baits.

It was 2019’s final tournament for the club with the annual awards banquet set for December.

For more on JSB, call Breaux at (225) 772-3026.

There’s more

The Mississippi River’s up again this fall and it’s cut into the down-river action on bass in the Venice area.

Tuesday’s river reading in Baton Rouge was 27.2 feet — 10.5 feet on the New Orleans gauge — and with what’s in this huge river system now, the prediction is for a steady fall to 20.3 in Baton Rouge and 8.3 feet in N.O. by Dec. 16.

That rise hasn’t affected the Atchafalaya all that much. By the old book, Spillway catches are generally better on fall and winter afternoons — except a day or two after a cold front (remember to check the barometric pressure).

With little rain in the forecast, you might want to consider trips to the Florida Parishes rivers and bayous. The Tickfaw, Amite, Natalbany, Tangipahoa and Pearl rivers produce first-rate bass and sac-a-lait action at this time of year. Soft-plastic worms and small creature baits along with slowly worked jarkbaits usually are the best bets.

The marsh

Blame last week’s full moon for decreased trout and redfish catches during the past week. Trips from the Pontchartrain Basin west to Cocodrie and Four Point produced decent catches, but not like November’s first two weeks.

The back side of the full moon brought lower tides and moving water was hard to find during the first 6-7 hours after sunrise, and it meant fish were not in the feeding mode.

Catches should pick up this week with a not-so-strong front rolling in Friday. Rain is in the forecast for Tuesday through Thanksgiving Day.

Red snapper

Unless something dramatic happens, it doesn’t appear we’re going to get near our state’s 816,439-pound private recreational red snapper quota.

With Friday-through-Sunday seasons open “until further notice,” the LA Creel count is up to 787,053 pounds after recreational fishermen took an estimated 7,894 pounds during the Nov. 1-3 weekend.

Commercial closure

The Gulf Council has ordered the commercial king mackerel season to close Nov. 21 in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico’s Western Zone, and will not reopen until July.

That news followed the council’s announcement that the Gulf-wide king mackerel commercial quota’s gill net component now is 530,043 pounds for 2019-2020.