September 2016 - Volume 36, Number 9

Features

Hunting begins this month, but you don’t have to be a member of a high-priced hunting club to get in on the action. Here’s the low-down on what to expect if you’re planning to hunt the state’s WMA system.

As excited as public-land hunters must be as the 

2016-17 hunting seasons approach, there were some anxious moments over the winter and into late spring as floodwaters inundated some of the wildlife management areas.

Don’t let September fronts scare you away from bass fishing. Just head to Venice, where the bass go nuts when high pressure and falling tides prevail.

When I was a kid, a big lie was called a “humdinger,” as in “That Billy Bob shore tole a humdinger!” 

Nowadays, the dictionary definition seems to have settled on a humdinger being something extraordinary or outstanding.

I’m sure this definition is the one Tony Landry prefers. 

If September cool fronts don’t materialize, Breton Sound trout fishing can get pretty sluggish. But these captains say success is just a matter of slowing things down to reach fish in comfort zones.

I could tell he was getting a little impatient. Capt. Ross Montet knew there were loads of speckled trout in the warm shallows skirting Breton Island.

Two key words in that sentence: “loads” and “warm.”

This time of year does, indeed, find trout both stacked around the barrier islands and hanging out in the breeze of Breton Sound.

Lake Claiborne is full of crappie, and this die-hard angler knows all you need to catch them this month are good electronics and the right tactics. Here are his tips for success.

Crappie fishing is simple in the fall on Lake Claiborne.

“Find the shad and find the crappie,” said Steve Danna, a veteran angler who goes chases the panfish for fun and as a seasoned tournament fisherman. “That’s true just about all year long, but it is especially true when you are after crappie this time of year.”

Opening weekend of dove season can be awesome, but how can you get more than that one hunt out of a field? This Washington Parish hunter has it all figured out.

The small field behind my house that I remember being full of Washington Parish watermelons when I was young had been lying fallow over 15 years. 

Except for the occasional cutting and baling of hay, this little piece of ground seldom saw any action.

This is a transition month, with unpredictable weather and sometimes tough fishing. But this guide knows the passes fill with enough big redfish to keep anglers busy — and he understands what it takes to add some trout to the box, as well.

September can be a stressful month. We’re in the peak month for tropical activity — a fact that keeps most of us glued to the daily weather forecasts, and a significant stress producer in itself.

Plus, all the kids and students are back in school. Traffic is heavier, commute times are longer, and the Saints, LSU, Tulane and all our favorite prep and college teams are back on the football field, increasing our anticipation and anxiety.

September is a time of high tides and flooded marshes, but that doesn’t mean you should stay home when teal season opens. Instead, follow these tips to fill your strap every trip.

As the remnants of tropical storm Isadore raced eastward, I hastily gathered my gear in a last-ditch effort to salvage what was left of the teal season, which was quickly being snatched away from me.

I was determined not to sit out the remaining few days of the season.

I had no idea what would await me as I journeyed into a marsh that had just been thrashed by a tropical storm. The prospects of success were bleak, but I was compelled to give it a try.

Football season also means some of the best coastal fishing of the year can be found in Southwest Louisiana. And this Big Lake guide knows just how to fill the boat with redfish and flounder — and even a few trout.

“Look at the camera! Look at the camera!” 

Keeping him looking at the camera was almost impossible. Erik Rue’s brown predator eyes kept darting toward any sign of another fish to which to feed his artificial bait.

The 30-year veteran charter captain with Calcasieu Charter Service (337-598-4700) was out to show me there really is life after summer.

Last year’s season was pretty tough, but that just means there bucks have had another year to grow antler mass. Now all you have to do is schedule your vacation days to be in the woods at the right time.

There is no debate that the best bucks killed each year in the Bayou State are taken during the rut. And, since the rut is your best time to tag a buck, now is the time to start planning hunts and understanding when the rut occurs.

Hunters often say they simply hunt whenever they can. While this is good, success can be poor on days when deer activity is slow.

Why not put the knowledge of the rut dates to work and up your odds for success?

Vermilion Bay isn’t a year-round trout fishery, so many anglers ignore the area. That’s a big mistake, these trout experts say. Discover how they make the most of this fishery, which should be turned on by now.

Those wiggly, slimy, little silver fish just do something to a person. 

Speckled trout might not fight as hard and be as colorful as their redfish cousins, they might not grow as large as their black drum kin and they might not be as tasty as their croaker and channel mullet relatives, but specks rule in Louisiana.

Deer season is almost here, and it’s time to start deciding on your stand for opening day. Check out the 2016-17 Rut Report and the WMA Forecast in this issue to set yourself up for success.