April 2012 - Volume 32, Number 4

Features

This Wayne County hunter has figured out how to convert a small-acreage tract into a family paradise.

Dr. Scott Tynes’ father, the late Rev. J.W. Tynes, was the type of man who always knew where the right place was at the right time.

Back in the days when Mississippi deer were more rumor than reality, the elder Tynes would play the role of huntmaster in unmanageably large and fabulously gregarious dog drives, and somehow, Tynes always intuitively recognized the sweet spot — the one draw or ridge or saddle where the dogs would inevitably push the deer.

The large diversion has forced Lafitte anglers to change their trout-targeting tactics this time of year.

While telling me about how the Davis Pond Diversion has affected speckled trout fishing around Lafitte, Capt. Theophile Bourgeois mentioned something that I don’t think he realized provided a perfect contrast of the life before and after the levee break started flowing.

When he was a kid, the area known as The Pen was small. Now, it’s a monster. Chalk up this increased size of The Pen to coastal erosion.

Up until a few years ago, all Bourgeois had to do to catch speckled trout was to make a short trip to The Pen where the salinity levels were high enough for speckled trout.

This sport might be just a little bit crazy, but these guys have a ‘hole’ lotta fun doing it.

It was late evening in the early summer. The five men assembled on the back deck of the Petrus family camp, set on a hill slope overlooking Lake D’Arbonne, were engaged in a masculine redneck ritual. Bobby Petrus, a.k.a. “The Claw,” was grilling meat, and all of them were exchanging humorous insults.

The rough-and-tumble humor, mixed with an equal blend of braggadocio and self-deprecation, was delivered with powerful North Louisiana twangs in what a Cajun or a New Orleanian would consider a foreign language.

Caney Lake was once THE lake to fish for lunker bass, and this angler thinks it’s working its way back to the top of the list of Louisiana trophy lakes.

I walked down to the dock and saw Craig “Bubba” Graham shielding his eyes from the glare of the sun, just staring into the water. Something had his attention.

“I found one,” he shouted to me when he finally noticed me nearing the end of the dock.

He eased his boat around and trolled the 30 or 40 yards to the dock, letting me hop in.

St. Francisville’s Graham then pointed the boat right back to the same spot, positioning it so the sun wouldn’t be in our eyes. And he quickly took up position on the front deck, and went back to staring into the depths of Caney Lake.

Take advantage of the weather windows this month, and share in some of the best tuna action of the year.

My transformation to a recreational angler is complete.

No longer do I subject myself to rolling waves and roaring winds all in the name of fishing. Rather than spend a day making myself miserable on the water, from my recliner I look forward to all the fish pictures in my inbox from friends whose invitations I turned down.

Rain I don’t mind so much, but wind? I would rather dance with Bobby Hebert in his dress than fish in anything over 15 m.p.h.

There’s absolutely nothing to not love about Bedico Creek in April.

Pelayo motioned me over with frantic gestures and wide eyes. Then he managed a frozen smile and turned back to the conversation with Artie’s spanking-new brother-in-law, Steve.

Pelayo fancied himself sneaky and discreet, but his arm motions looked like a traffic cop giving the “come-on” signal and now his smile mimicked the face of an Oscar-nominated actor when the camera zooms in for a close-up as the envelope opens — announcing that he lost.

It’s not an Olympic sport, but maybe it ought to be!

The early morning sky was grey and overcast, and a cold chill greeted us as we stepped out of the truck at the Sweetwater Marina in Delacroix. My son-in-law, Shane Ansardi, and I were meeting Capt. Chris Pike (504-427-4973) for some redfish angling in the ponds, a trip we’d planned and postponed several times already due to contrary conditions.

Few places get fished more heavily than Bayou Teche, but that’s because it always seems to deliver the goods.

Bayou Teche starts in Port Barre and runs 125 miles to the Atchafalaya River in Berwick Bay. But it’s the 8- to 9-mile stretch of bayou between the East Calumet Spillway locks and the Berwick Bay Locks at the Atchafalaya River that competitive anglers know is the place where they can always find five good fish to put on the scale. Franklin resident Gary Foulcard, a member of Bullet Bass Club, is one of those club anglers who fishes in the Teche several times throughout the year.

Fish these things smartly, and you won’t want to tie on anything else this time of year.

Designed to imitate a range of forage, tubes are among the most versatile and productive baits in a bass angler’s arsenal. A simple drop-and-hop approach will certainly earn you a few bites here and there, but paying closer attention to how you rig the tube, how you alter the tube, how you enhance the tube and, of course, how you present the tube can greatly improve your productivity.

Suffice it to say, many a largemouth bass has found itself heading topside after gobbling what appeared to be a crawfish scooting across the bottom, while many more have attacked tubes that did a fine job of imitating shad, bream and others moving through the water column. Certainly, the right technique helps sell a tube’s performance, but the best thing about this bait is its user-friendly nature.

When Franklinton’s Randy Stafford hits your state, the odds are strong he’s going to reduce your turkey population.

If Alaska had a huntable population of turkeys, Franklinton’s Randy Stafford wouldn’t be stuck on having killed a turkey in 49 out of 50 states.

As it stands, though, the current Louisiana State Chapter President for the National Wild Turkey Federation is kind of glad he doesn’t have to travel to Alaska because that means he has more time to help his wife Debbie reach the same goal he has accomplished.

This area is eroding faster than Obama’s approval numbers, but it still produces a crazy amount of fish.

The smoke/glitter sparkle beetle arched through the air toward a handful of scraggly, brush sticks poking out of the water — the few remains of the live black mangroves that once covered a substantial island. Two feet into the retrieve, the lure stopped and the water erupted into a wild explosion of spray as the fish shook its head violently in an unsuccessful attempt to rid its yellow mouth of the stinging hook.

The big man on the bow expertly flipped the 2-pound fish into the boat. The huge smile that seemed to perpetually wreath John “Hawkeye” Aucoin’s broad face became even wider as he briefly admired the quicksilver flanks of the speckled trout before slipping it into the ice chest to join nearly 20 of its brethren.

Is there a better month than April? Trout are getting active, and bass are still clobbering anything in the water.