Outdoor Corner: Snow is fun, but it's time to get home

Lyle Johnson
Plaquemine Post South

As I start to pen this column, I'm sitting at my daughter’s kitchen table looking at the ski slopes in Breckenridge. What looks like little black ants are actually folks shredding the slopes on skis or a snowboard.

Thoughts about heading back home to Louisiana are somewhat bittersweet as I'll be leaving Gabby's family: Brandon her husband, and two kids Enoch and Eli. It is about 12 degrees so my own house and bed along with warmer temperatures will be welcome.

Just two days before as my wife, Deborah was drinking an early morning coffee, she looked out of the window and saw what she thought was a big rock just below the deck outside.

As it got closer to daylight that rock turned into a moose lying in the snow. As it got a little more light, she noticed another moose lying behind a tree. As it turned out the moose behind the tree was the mama and her really big calf was actually eating snow.

When the sun was up, both moose stood up and began to feed, munching on a small tree. There's not much to feed on in the middle of winter so small trees (branches and all!) and bark is the main staple in their diet until things get green again.

The next afternoon, the gang was heading out to eat when a fox decided to visit the house. It looked like it was looking for an easy meal, sort of like a hand out. It wasn't afraid of us as it seemed like it was expecting a treat from us. After a few minutes with nothing to show for its efforts, it moseyed on its way still looking for something to eat.

On our way back to the Denver airport our shuttle driver had to take a back road because of the traffic. We saw six mule deer, two of which were really big bucks with awesome racks. So along with playing in the snow, our opportunity to see some wildlife was very successful.

After getting in a little after 1:00 a.m. and getting a few hours sleep I headed south through Pierre Part on my way to Stephensville for the weigh-in at the Fishing for Tucker Bass Classic.

It wasn't really that cold compared to where I'd just come from, but the wind accompanied by our humidity levels made it feel colder that the temperature on the thermometer read.

That coupled with post frontal conditions made me think it would be the fate of the anglers fishing that they might just have some tough conditions trying to catch some bass. The reason for the fishing being a little tougher after a cold front is because fish are cold-blooded.

Us humans are warm-blooded so our internal temperatures stay the same (around 98.6 degrees) all the time. On the other hand our finned creatures internal temperature are controlled by the water temperature. It's probably in the high 50's to low 60's right now so with all things being the same they don't move quite as fast as they do in the summer when the water is warm.

The barometric pressure is also a big factor as well. The higher the barometer's pressure is the less those moody bass want to move around and feed. The blue bird (very clear) skies don't help matters either, but we have some really good anglers around our area so I knew somebody would find the fish and bring in a good stringer.

One hundred and six dual-angler teams put up their entry fees to help the Tucker Townsend family and took off to points unknown when safe daylight came around hoping to be the team fortunate enough to come across the weigh-in stage at Doiron's Landing and take the $2000 first place prize.

Although the Atchafalaya Basin (Spillway) had been producing some good stringers of bass the water levels rose and the bite fell off as only seven boats chose to fish that side. The rest of the teams chose the Verret side of the levee to try their fortunes.

The team of Matt White and Connor Rushing hauled in a bag of five bass that weighed in at 14.85 to take the 1st Place honors along with a hefty pay-day of $2000 for their efforts. The team of Jimmy Roberts and Neil Whitam brought a five-fish limit to the scales that weighed in at 13.45 for 2nd Place place and a $1250 pay day. Third Place was captured by Joey Decuir and Blake Canella with 13.09 and a $850 pay out.

The 4th Place team of Corey and Kelly Wheat brought 13.05 in. Corey caught a bass with a blue tag attached that would have won him a $1000 if he'd been signed up for Bass Cash Bash 2020 which offers prizes for landing a tagged fish all over the south. In 5th Place was the team of Shane Bourgeois and Billy Polk with five bass for 12.80.

Additionally, 6th Place: Tre' Gautreau and Garrett Strickland 12.64; 7th Place: Ryan and Jackson Gomez 12.17; 8th Place: Vernon Silver and Khristian Roussett 12.03; 9th Place: Alex and Gil Heintze 11.80; and rounding out the top 10 was the team of Sandy Gaudet and Dustin Champagne with 11.60.

Big Bass for the tournament was caught by the team of Bryce Hanna and Derek Braud with a whopper that moved the scales to 4.99 pounds and $500 for their efforts. Second Place Big Bass went to the team of Marlin Jackson and Edward Scott with a 4.54-pound for a $250 payout.

"Thank you for helping us make the 10th Annual Fishing For Tucker a success! We had 106 boats and we raised $15,162!," stated Ryan Lavigne, Tournament Director.

"To the fishermen who fished, to the spectators who supported them, to the volunteers who helped with every aspect of our event, to Jacob Heath and Anything Outdoors who provided the delicious jambalaya, and to our sponsors for supporting our event . . . from the bottom of our hearts, thank you!"

So until next time, remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. Have fun in the outdoors, be safe, and may God truly bless you!

Lyle Johnson is a free-lance writer, co-host of Ascension Outdoors TV and Curator of the Louisiana State Fish Records. He can be contacted at reelman@eatel.net.

Outdoor Calendar

EASL Monthly Meeting: 3rd Monday every month, East Ascension Sportsman's League meeting held at Gonzales Fire Dept on Orice Roth Rd. starting at 7:00 p.m. A meal served and special speaker will be in attendance.

Squirrel, Quail & Rabbit Season: Through-Feb. 29, open statewide on private lands only. Daily bag limit 8 and possession limit 24.

Fly-Tying Class: Feb. 15 from 9 a.m.-noon, Ascension Parish Library, 708 South Irma Boulevard, Gonzales. No fee. Learn to make basic bream & bass flies. Must bring materials. Also March 14. Call Darrel Crawford 225-253-4127. Email: wimpflies@gmail.com.

Krewe of Diversion Mardi Gras Boat Parade: Feb 15 beginning at noon from Canal Bank to Manny's on the Amite River. $35 per boat sign up at Manny's on Feb 14 6:00 p.m. Contact David or Vivian Stevens 225-939-2135 or 225-324-5695.

Fly Tying 101: Feb. 15 from 2-4 p.m., Orvis, 7601 Bluebonnet Boulevard, Baton Rouge. No cost. Hands-on clinic covering basics of fly tying. Materials, tools provided. Registration required. Call 225-757-7286.

Anything Outdoors/St Jude Bass Classic: March 28—save the date. Hosted at St James Boat Club, New, bigger and better.

Need an event publicized? Contact Lyle at reelman@eatel.net