Remember when you were a kid, recalling those days when you had a cane pole or your first rod and reel?
Admit it: you had dreams about landing a giant fish — bass, speckled trout, redfish, anything that stretched your imagination further than any fish could stretch your line.
Did any of those dreams come true?
One did for Drew Dubuc.
Earlier this year, here on an Advocate Outdoors page, Jeff Bruhl documented the story, and it’s one that led members of the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association’s Fish Record Committee to vote the young man’s 33.9-pound striped bass catch one of two of Fish of the Year awards.
Dubuc will receive a plaque for his striper standing No. 6 for that species in the Louisiana Top 10 Fish Records List. His will be in the Rod and Reel Division.
The other plaque, this one the committee judged was the top Fly Fishing Division, will go to New Orleanian Charles Miller for taking a state-record 3.98-pound white bass from the Pearl River.
Both will be honored Saturday night during LOWA’s annual banquet where the association’s Youth Journalism Contest and Youth Angler of the Year winners will be presented. The banquet is the headliner of LOWA’s annual conference, this year being held in Morgan City at the Clarion Inn.
Unlike most older anglers, the 8-year-old Metairie youngster didn’t have to wait long to live a dream when, back in March, he was fishing from the dock at a camp on Lake St. Catherine. Bruhl’s story read like this:
“Drew loves to use live mullets for the bull reds that frequent the Lake St. Catherine area. The first fish that day to snap up the offering was not a redfish but a 33.9-pound striped bass. After about a 30-minute battle, Drew was able to bring the fish to the dock.
“With the big striper worn out, Drew stuck the rod in the holder and ran down the pier to the camp for help. His dad, Mike Dubuc, was able to bring the fish on the deck.
“Several certified scales later, most marinas only have scales that weigh (fish) 30 pounds or less, the Gulf striper is a possible No. 6 on the State Top 10 Fish Records List … the youngster's striper will be the first to crack the top 10 in 14 years.
“The fish being caught in Lake St. Catherine is just another part of the puzzle that makes it such a great story. Almost all the state's record striped bass come from Toledo Bend, where stocking programs introduce the saltwater fish into the lake.”
Young Dubuc caught a wild fish, a sea-run striper, a species more and more fishermen are finding during the species' late fall-to-late winter migration into the coastal lakes and rivers, even the Mississippi River, for the spawn. Stripers spawn in moving water, because, in order to hatch, the fertilized eggs must tumble.
Fish Records Committee chairman Lyle Johnson said committee members agreed for Honorable Mention certificates to two other anglers.
Brian Neil, of Metairie, will be honored in the Rod & Reel Division for a state-record 213.5-pound big eye tuna taken from Mississippi Canyon waters.
And, Lake Charles’ Dustin Semar will stand tall in the Fly Fishing Division for the state-record 6.66-pound bowfin (choupique) he caught in the Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge.
The LOWA is nearing a milestone year: The association took on the challenge of keeping and preserving the Louisiana State Fish Records in 1940, and next year will celebrate 80 years of maintaining one of the most extensive state-record fish lists in the country.
The State top 10 list is available on the LOWA’s website: laoutdoorwriters.com. Once there, click on “records,” then find, and click on the highlighted (in green) “Louisiana State Fish Records.”
For more information about the records, email Johnson: email@example.com.