Gonzales’ Jamie Laiche angling for spot in Bassmaster Classic _lowres

Photo provided by Craig Lamb/BASSMASTER -- Gonzales angler Jamie Laiche holds the champions trophy from the Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Central Divisional held on Ross Barnett Reservoir in Mississippi earlier this year. Laiche, an Ascension Area Anglers member, competes against eight other Central Division state winners this week for a berth in the March, 2016 Bassmaster Classic. State and international champions representing the six Nation divisions are in Monroe, and fishing Thursday through Saturday on the Ouachita River out of Forsythe Park.

Jamie Laiche is a bass fishermen who’s been there and done that, and for the next three days, he’ll be trying to do it again, this time on the Ouachita River.

After winning the overall title in the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Central Division tournament on Ross Barnett Reservoir in Mississippi earlier this year, Laiche, from Gonzales, earned Louisiana’s spot in the Thursday-through-Saturday Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Championship in Monroe.

This is not just another bass tournament: For Laiche, and the other 58 anglers — they’re from 47 states, a Canadian province, along with qualifiers from Japan, South Africa, Italy, Portugal, Mexico, Spain, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Australia and Paralyzed Veterans of America Angler of the Year Jack Barber — the grandest prize is a berth in the 2016 Bassmaster Classic.

There are six Classic spots available. They’ll go to this event’s top angler in Central, Western, Northern, Southern, Eastern and Mid-Atlantic divisions. Laiche is competing against the other Central Division anglers in this tournament-within-a-tournament format.

Laiche has gone this route before. He earned the Central Division’s spot for the 2008 Classic held on Lake Hartwell in South Carolina.

This time he’s elected to take a different route: Instead of fishing from a glittery, tens-of-thousands-of-dollars bass boat, he’s using a bateau.

“I can go where a lot of the other boats can’t go,” Laiche said Wednesday after getting off the water. “I can fish more effectively from a small boat. I’ve found a few areas that give me a lot of confidence, and I won’t have to spend time getting this boat off stump after stump. I can ease into areas without spooking everything.

“I know I lost a lot of range by using this small boat,” Laiche said. “I know it’s a gamble, and hopefully it pays off.”

The Ouachita has proven to be a tough place on Federation anglers in past years. It’s not going to produce giant stringers, and Laiche said that has framed his strategy.

“In my opinion, it boils down to whoever can catch five (bass) a day, and have a three-pound-plus kicker at least two of three days,” Laiche said. “That’s what I’m shooting for, to get one or two bites in each place, get five fish, then be in places that the guys in the big boats can’t get to for that kicker fish.”

The field launches at 6:15 a.m. through Saturday at Forsythe Park Boat Launch in Monroe. Daily weigh-ins are set for the park beginning at 2:30 p.m. Live weigh-ins will be streamed on the Bassmaster website: bassmaster.com.

“I just want everyone to know how much I appreciate all the support from everybody throughout the state to get me here,” Laiche said. “It’s an honor to represent our state.”

Hunter’s sight-in

The East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office is opening its Firearms Training range Thursday through Monday (Nov. 5-9) for its annual Hunter’s Sight-in Program. The range is located off U.S. 61 at 999 West Irene Road in Zachary. Range times are 8 a.m.-3 p.m. daily.

The range/sight-in rules are simple: All weapons will be sighted in by the range staff; all weapons must be in good working condition with all actions open when entering the range; hunters must furnish only factory ammo and no reloads will be used for sight-in; and no muzzleloaders are allowed.

Have questions? Call the range at (225) 389-8268.

Saturday trap shoots

The Southwest Gun Club in McComb, Mississippi, launches its every first Saturday of the month trap shoots at 8:30 a.m. Saturday — weather permitting. The range is on U.S. 98 east of McComb. For rules on setup, registration and assignments, and other information, call Doug Bowser (601) 341-8797. There are a 25-single-bird and 12-pairs options with $5 per-round fees.