Maybe it’s because Jeff Bruhl is smart, or maybe it’s because he works in the world of medicine — most assuredly both — that has made Bruhl cautious about where and what he does in these days of coronovirus.

Bruhl works indoors. He's extra cautious there. Social distancing is just one part of the precautions while preparing exacting medicines to help cure the ill among us.

He’s carrying those precautions over to what he likes to do when he’s not in a nuclear pharmacy lab.

“I’m fishing alone and not coming in contact with anyone. I’m not tying up to anything at the launch, or anywhere else, and not trying to touch anything,” Bruhl said after his midweek trip to the Tchefuntce River.

“Oh, you’ll see families together. They’re in close contact off the water anyway, but I’m not seeing groups fishing, at least not where I’m going,” he said.

Then there was that one trip to Delacroix: “It was busy, but I practiced the same thing as I’ve done on the Tchefuncte,” he said.

Reports coming from Belle River are the same — busy — and Bruhl said the best thing to do is wait for the traffic to clear, to maintain distance while paying fees at the launch and in parking areas, to be patient, and take all the other precautions like using hand sanitizers.

And all this because the fish are biting — bass and speckled trout and redfish. The bluegill runs hasn’t started yet and the sac-a-lait spawn apparently is over.

When Bruhl talks about his days on the water, it’s like brushing the dust from a tackle box locked up and stored for the past 40 years.

“I’m throwing a Nip I Diddee and a Boy Howdy in the first hour in the morning and catching some good fish (bass),” Bruhl said.

The Nip I Diddee is an old South Bend lure and the Boy Howdy was made by Cotton Cordell. They were common in tackle boxes two fishing generations ago. Both are topwater lures with spinners on the front and back.

“I remember fishing with my dad when he threw a Devils Horse (an old Smithwick lure) and the Boy Howdy and we’d paddle, maybe a half-mile at the most, upriver in a flat boat and drift down and he’d look for shad and trashpiles and grassbeds, whatever, along the bank. When the tide was moving out, we’d drift with the current, then paddle back upcurrent to start again.”

OK, so Bruhl is well past his paddling days, but the situation is the same. The trick is to get the lures as close to the cover as possible then twitch the lure to make the spinners move. Bass, lurking in the cover, eat flickering shad — something these lures imitate.

“These lures sit a little higher in the water than other topwaters and I think that’s a factor, too.” Bruhl said. “Anyway, that’s a good pattern for early in the morning. After that the shad move out into the river and the bass will move with them. But it’s exciting while it lasts.”

Bruhl said jerkbaits, Rebels and Rogues, work, too, but getting the lure close to the cover is critical, and added that striped bass and flathead catfish are moving into the Florida Parishes rivers for the spawning season.

“This action will continue into early May, and after that most of the bass action will be in deeper water,” Bruhl said.

Along those lines

Several Pure Fishing brands joined forces for a “Fish Through It” campaign to help anglers and their families enjoy the sport while we make our way through this pandemic.

Their message here is to comply with all local/national rules and guidelines for activities outside your home. For those with a shelter-in-place order, websites for Abu Garcia, Berkley and Penn have content geared to tips, tricks and other fishing info. Google these sites.

Other outdoors groups like the National Wild Turkey Federation (Turkey Hunting 101), the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited and the Quality Deer Management Association have posted instructional videos on their websites.

What’s new

  • Grand Isle reportedly is stopping all traffic and checking IDs, then allowing only residents onto the island.
  • If heading to Empire, Buras or Venice, know Plaquemines Parish has a 10 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew for all nonessential traffic.
  • Elmer’s Island is closed.
  • Wildlife and Fisheries issued a release last week decrying reports about closures and increased fishing fines, and LDWF secretary Jack Montoucet said hunting seasons, fishing and most wildlife management areas, remain open, and urged outdoorsmen to practice social distancing and avoid gathering in groups.
  • Flooding has closed the turkey season on the Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Yamaha and Yamaha Marine announced furloughs and staff reductions for operations in Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, Missouri, Indiana and Wisconsin.
  • Kudos to Arkansas-based PRADCO for turning manufacturing operation into making face shields and hand sanitizers for medical personnel.

Hunters for the Hungry

Working with Sysco New Orleans, Hunters for the Hungry secured a donation of 6,975 pounds of meat products donated to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank last week.

H4H executive director Julie Grunewald said hunters donated 742 deer during the recent season, and one major processor’s numbers are still uncounted. She said the near 19,000 pounds of venison will provide as many as 76,000 meals for the needy across the state.


All time favorite fishing quotation comes from Ed Zern, the ardent fly fisherman, humorist, self-proclaimed member of the Madison Avenue Rod, Gun, Bloody Mary and Labrador Retriever Benevolent Association and the man who wrote “Exit Laughing” for Field & Stream for more than 30 years: “Fishermen are born honest, but they get over it.”