Connor Rushing, an 18-year-old from Pride and former Central High School angler, brought in a three-bass catch weighing 7 pounds, 12 ounces to earn a spot in November’s B.A.S.S. Nation Championship.

Rushing outdueled fellow Louisiana team member Trace Day of Denham Springs to take first-place money of $2,500 for his 21-pound, three-day total in the B.A.S.S. Nation Central Regional tournament’s Nonboater Division. Day finished with 19-15 for second place.

Missouri angler Jay Beffa rallied from 16th place on Friday’s final round of the Central Regional with a Toledo Bend-like five-bass catch weighing just shy of 20 pounds to take home the $5,000 first-place prize money in the Boater Division and earn the right to represent his home state in the Nation Championship coming up in November. Beffa’s three-day total was 35-12.

Beffa turned back two-day leader Albert Collins of Texas and Blake Sylvester of Plaquemine. Collins finished with 32-8 and Sylvester had 32-1. Sylvester will represent Louisiana at theNationals in the Boater Division.

Rushing went into Friday only three ounces from the lead and said he caught all his first-day (Wednesday) fish in the first 15 minutes, then caught two 3-pounders on a June bug-colored Shongaloo 10-inch worm. He said he used a Missile Baits’ D-Bomb to catch his two heaviest bass on the final day.

The tournament qualified the top Boater and Nonboater anglers from each of the eight Central Region states.

The 20-angler Louisiana team earned $2,500 for its second-place finish in the team challenge (Arkansas won), but that’s hardly enough to help defray the costs of our state’s qualifiers for the Nation Nationals coming up Nov. 11-13 on Alabama’s Pickwick Lake.

For Sylvester and Rushing, that’s where Saturday’s Ascension Area Anglers’s Open tournament comes into play. All the info is listed in the Outdoors Calendar.

Proceeds help our state’s qualifiers with expenses to compete in the Nationals, where at least four Louisiana anglers have earned a berth into the Bassmaster Classic.

“It helps,” AAA organizer Ryan Lavigne said. “We’re working men and this helps defray some of the costs of getting to and competing in the national tournament. We also use the money to help other charities that use fishing tournaments to help our fellow fishing families.”

Lavigne was one of those fishermen helped by this event. He qualified for Nationals in the Nonboater Division and won the whole shooting match from that division to advance to the Classic.

College anglers

Teams from Louisiana-Monroe and UL qualified for the 2021 College Fishing National Championship after top-10 finishes in the Abu Garcia College Fishing tournament held on the Ouachita River earlier this month.

After an East Texas Baptist University team came in with a winning 15-pound, 4-ounce catch, the ULM team of Luke O’Neal and Wesley Banks took second with 13-12. UL’s Hayden Pinho and Cole Bailey took 10th place with a five-bass, 10-5 weight.

Oh, those trout

It looks like the speckled trout bite is on the lower end of the Pontchartrain Basin after decent catches of specks came last week from Mud Lake, Unknown Pass and Lake St. Catherine.

At least two dozen boats lined up at Rigolets Harbor and there was a line to buy live shrimp, but we found VuDu Shrimp and the shrimp creole-colored Matrix Shad 18 inches under a cork worked for a steady bite.

Tuesday held a morning of rising tide and rising barometric pressure and the bite was slow, and near nonexistent for redfish and bass. There were mullet, white shrimp and pogeys most everywhere we stopped.

Evidence of the parade of tropical systems showed up in several places where there was a void of the aquatic grasses that held reds and bass during the previous four years. Eel grass was found, but not much else.

We didn’t make it over to the MRGO, but that’s for the coming weeks.

Don’t do this

Houma residents Avenir Dupre, 39, and Katelyn Pinell, 29, were cited earlier this month for several violations on the Pointe-Aux-Chenes WMA, notably for taking over a recreational limit of shrimp during nighttime hours — nighttime use of WMAs is prohibited.

The report stated Dupre, using a headlight, was casting a net off the Island Road (Terrebonne Parish). Pinell was in a nearby truck.

Agents found 261 pounds of white shrimp (that’s a lot of cast-netting), which is 236 pounds more than the WMA limit, and 161 pounds in excess of the recreational daily limit. Dupre also did not have the required basic and saltwater fishing licenses, a $50 fine.

Nighttime and shrimping violations could bring fines up to $850 and jail time up to 150 days.

In late September, LDWF Enforcement agents bagged a couple of Baton Rouge men for hunting violations, the most severe being Chris Kleinpeter, 36, allegedly killing a turkey with a rifle during a closed season, taking turkey over a baited area, hunting without basic, big game and turkey hunting licenses, and failing to comply with turkey tagging requirements.

During that investigation, agents also discovered John Grimmer, 40, for failing to comply with deer tagging requirements after he allegedly took an 8-point buck on the same property near Roseland (Tangipahoe Parish). Grimmer allegedly “never possessed deer tags during the 2019-20 hunting season,” the report stated.

Kleinpeter faces fines of up to $2,750, and max jail time totaling 405 days and a $1,539 civil restitution fine, while Grimmer’s civil restitution penalty could be $2,033.

Gulf Council news

South Louisianans Mike Frenette, Ben Graham and Rudy Valenciano have been appointed to three-year terms on the Red Drum Advisory Panel announced by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.

In other GMFMC news, before taking final action in November, the council is in the process of setting up a “virtual public hearing” to get public comment on Reef Fish Amendment 48 and Red Drum Amendment 5, which, according to the news release, “aims to define, and in some cases modify, existing status determination criteria for reef fish and red drum.”

The council already decided to change the percentage range of maximum sustainable yield that could be selected to define optimum yield — 90% of the maximum sustainable yield for reef fish and shallow-water grouper.

For cobia, the latest Gulf-wide stock assessment shows this species is not overfished but is “currently experiencing overfishing,” all of which means there could be a 30% decrease from the current allowable catch.

Federal redfish management begins three miles off the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama coasts and nine miles off the Texas and Florida coast. The council wants to move to a nine-mile limit for all five states.