Last Modified: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 10:46 PM
Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of fellow angler, Cleve Menard.
Menard, 41, was struck by lightning last Friday while fishing in Laccassine and passed away about noon Sunday. His funeral service is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday at Johnson Funeral Home.
Lightning claims the lives of numerous sportsmen each year and records show more lives are lost to lightning in the USA than hurricanes and tornadoes combined.
At Hackberry Rod and Gun, Capt. Buddy Oakes said anglers last week continue to bring in good catches of trout and redfish. Both live and soft plastics are being used with high winds and fresh water from the rains the main two challenges.
Huge tackle-busting redfish are being caught on live bait when winds allow anglers to get to the Jetties and along the shore line points.
I heard from Capt. Kevin Broussard who said they are catching trout from Moss Lake to Turner’s Bay with live shrimp his top choice. He also mentioned that there have been schools of reds in the main lake under birds and will hit just about anything.
At Calcasieu Point, Elaine Huck said they had more than 5 inches of rain over the weekend but the fish still bit. She reported very few big trout but a lot of small ones. She said redfish are still plentiful and have been quality in size with a lot of small drum and still a few flounder.
She had several good reports from the Prien Lake area even with water so fresh lily pads are all along the banks. Birds are working in Turner’s even though the water is very muddy and the Salt Ditch and Black Lake have good salt content. The salinity around Joe’s Cove went from 5 to 10 Tuesday, so that is a huge improvement.
Huck reported progress is being made on the construction at Calcasieu Point as they have opened up the pier and gradually opening up more of the banks for fishing.
“The fishing on the Calcasieu River had gotten really good midweek (last week), but heavy rains at the end of the week ended that,” said tournament angler Doug Guins.
Fishing got really tough by the weekend with high and muddy conditions with a strong current as heavy rains caused near flood conditions on the river. In addition, water temps dipped back to the mid-60s.
As of Monday, fishing continued to be very tough with few fish being caught. Guins reported that conditions should improve later this week as the water levels recede and current slows. For the weekend, barring no additional rains, Guins recommended Stanley Compact model spinnerbaits plus buzz baits around cypress trees and Texas-rigged soft plastics. If the water clears a topwater pattern will also be a factor.
On a very positive note, recent heavy rains and current pushed out a majority of the giant salvinia which had congested the Westfork. It should end up in the salty waters below the Saltwater Barrier, where it should die. This will make it much easier for local authorities to deal with scattered pockets of salvinia as they have sprayed the invasive plant several times already this year.
As expected, the Sabine is also high with tremendous current and is at flood stage of 24 feet at Deweyville, Texas, at Tuesday noon. The river is suppose to fall below flood stage later this week.
Guins reported that fishing has slowed as the water level has risen and muddied but should improve by the weekend. He recommended spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, crankbaits and Texas-rigged soft plastics. Topwater patterns had started to really kick in before the last front should resume in a few days.
Guins reminds river anglers that there is a 14-inch minimum size limit on the Sabine River in certain areas and anglers cannot have undersized fish in possession in these areas even if you caught them in legal areas. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says it is the angler’s responsibility to know regulations on each waterway, so check’em out.
Shane Cormier and Greg Byrley were the winners of last week’s Wednesday Dogfight on the Calcasieu River with an impressive five-fish stringer of 11.14 pounds. The stringer was anchored by a 3.7-pounder that hit a spinnerbait on the north end of the River.
They reported to the weigh-in spectators that they caught 25 fish in the 3 1/2-hour tournament while fishing the main Calcasieu River channel in stained water conditions. In addition to spinnerbaits they also used Bass Kandi Speed Bugs.
In a close second was the team of Derek and Mike Tate with five fish and 10.24 pounds. They had the largest bass of the tournament a big 5.5-pounder that hit a buzzbait. They reported that they caught 15 fish on buzzbaits and Speed Craws in the main river. They qualified for the championship.
In third place was the consistent team of Willard and Kevin Booty with a five-fish stringer at 5.44. They said they fished in the West Fork and caught most of their fish on buzzbaits and topwater lures.
One of the most exciting happenings in bass fishing today is the rapid growth of bass fishing among college age anglers. Both FLW and B.A.S.S., two of the largest bass tournament organizations, have well-organized events all over the country with hundreds of colleges and universities having teams.
While the Southern half of the country has the highest saturation of competing schools, the rest of the country is coming on strong and fielding teams. Almost all of the major institutions, public and private, in both Louisiana and Texas have teams. One of the neat things about this is that smaller schools can be very competitive in this arena.
From a personal view, one whose life has been made much richer from being a lifetime angler, it is very exciting and encouraging to see the tremendous amount of interest and support for these young anglers. Many are fantastic anglers and it is not just a male sport as female students are also competing and are doing well.
The fishing industry has also climbed on board with names with many companies offering sponsorships. It’s a win-win for all sides.
The young anglers get access to products at a reduced price and are improving their skills as they share knowledge with each other while also learning by competing in these tournaments. The sponsors get to share their brands and products with numerous new potential customers and also have a larger pool of potential future employees.