March 2013 - Volume 33, Number 3


The Sherburne WMA complex was swamped in 2011, and turkey hunting took a hit last season. Follow these tips to claim your gobbler this season.

Brandon Trahan remembers walking down a long, winding trail in Sherburne Wildlife Management Area and hearing a gobbler sound off at daybreak.

Accompanying him was a youth hunter, Matthew Matherne, and the youth’s father. The younger Matherne had been chosen through a lottery to chase gobblers on the WMA.

“Matthew’s father had located the gobbler on a previous scouting trip,” Trahan said.

The hunters initially heard the gobbler some 300 yards from where they were walking.

Have you noticed bass aren’t in spawning as shallow as they once did? That might be because they’re tired of being hit with baits. The key for anglers is to know how to adjust.

So much emphasis is placed on bullying in schools today that students can spot a bully much more quickly than they can spot an action verb.

How they learn to deal with those tyrants will go a long way in determining how successful they will be in life because life is full of bullies.

Should victims simply run away?

Staying where you aren’t catching fish seems dumb, but we all do it figuring the fishing will turn on. These crappie fanatics load up their boat and head to more-productive waters — and always come home with fish.

Moving is a hassle.

Whether it’s cushioning the china in newspaper, bearing the weight of heavy boxes or figuring out what to do with the furniture, nobody likes to move.

But the eternal optimism of better opportunity in other places pulls us through.

This hope for a better life is what made pilgrims sail to Plymouth Rock.

When bass lock down and refuse to bite, subtle changes can trigger strikes from testy bass. Here are some tips on how to round out your limit on these tough days.

You know they're there, but the bass just have a bad attitude and they're refusing to cooperate. Persistence is certainly an admirable trait, but repetitive casts are only one tactic for getting the job done.

Often, bass anglers have to dig a little deeper into their bag of tricks to find the right combination of elements that push a reluctant bass over the edge.

Sure, you can fight the crowd and load the boat with dink trout. But when you want to catch big fish, it’s time to find solitude and pull out topwaters and suspending lures.

At the mouth of the cove on the southwestern portion of Calcasieu Lake, Capt. Adam Jaynes slowed his Haynie Bay boat way, way down.

“All of this is a huge flat, and in several places there are some real nice reefs in here,” the 26-year-old angler said. “And look, there’s some mullet moving in front of us — moving really well.”

These were not the rafting schools of mullet most anglers cherish finding; they were of the single, jumping variety observed in most sections of any saltwater estuary at any given time of the day.

There’s more to March than great outdoor shows. Head to Hopedale’s inside lakes and bays to put together boxes of specks and reds.

If you’re a fisherman, “mediocre” is a good word to describe March. Webster’s says it means “average, ordinary, unexceptional, low in quality, second-rate and inferior.”

Pretty harsh.

To be sure, it’s not horrible, like the months of January and February can be with their frigid cold and exceptionally low water conditions. But it’s certainly not May and June, either, when our weather and fishing action turns on and becomes phenomenal down here in Southeast Louisiana.

Take a break from today’s hectic pace to chase down some of the Louisiana coastline’s mortal enemies — the lowly nutria. They’re a blast to shoot, and they taste good, too.

Revelry raged around him, but Artie looked morose. Doc’s uptown bungalow rocked with the traditional St. Patrick’s Day lunacy, but Artie remained oddly oblivious to the festivities.

Not even the stroll to Parasol’s helped.

“What a difference two months make,” Pelayo laughed, while pointing at his pouting friend. “New Year’s Artie was the life of da paaawty. Now look at him.”

These two angles seem like polar opposites - but they share a love for all things trout fishing. Here’s how they continue to catch fish before Lake Pontchartrain turns on.

The big, fair-skinned, bluff man looked at me level in the eyes as he spoke.

“The worse the weather is, the better the fish bite,” he said. “We never have found it too cold to catch fish there — period!”

I couldn’t believe he was talking about speckled trout, but I knew he was. The area he was speaking about is closely connected to Lake Pontchartrain and “everybody knows” that 50 degrees is the magic mark for lake trout. Below that number, the fish just don’t bite, and legions of speckled trout anglers simply hang up their rods until April.

Follow this 40-year veteran of the gobbler wars, and you just might find a big gobbler strutting in front of your blind this season.

Sitting dejected with my chin touching my chest, the realization of blowing it started to sink in. Replaying the whole affair in my mind it seemed surreal. It happened way too fast for me to grasp and was something totally unexpected. After seeing an ad for a package turkey hunt at the elegant Briars Bed and Breakfast in Natchez called “Gobblers and Gardenias,” I felt there was no way I could go wrong with a shindig like that. Or so I thought.

The weather should finally lay this month, and packs of wahoo are waiting just offshore. This ’hoo expert shares his secrets to success.

Offshore anglers know winter offers some of the best wahoo fishing of the year.

Unfortunately, winter is a difficult season during which to head offshore.

That’s why offshore charter captains like Tommy Pellegrin with Custom Charters out of Cocodrie can hardly wait for late February and March to roll around.

Springtime is here, and that means bass fishing breaks out across the state as fish move to the shallows to spawn.