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Dave Cavell (left) and Corey Wheat teamed up to win Claire's Heart benefit tournament in the Atchafalaya Basin by banging vibrating jigs off stumps around main points.

Stay off the banks for Basin bass, anglers say

Prairieville's Dave Cavell and Gonzales' Corey Wheat teamed up to win Claire's Heart benefit tournament last weekend, and the pattern wasn't what they expected.

"We thought we'd catch them punching," Cavell said. "That's how Corey caught them practicing."

Instead, they had to back off the banks, and turn away from heavy flipping rigs.

17 hours ago
Spotted bass add variety to the largemouth bass catch.

The magic of the Pearl — How to catch more Pearl River bass

When we pulled up to the rugged little launch off to the side and under the Highway 90 bridge over the Middle Pearl River, Chance Morse got out of the truck and strode closer to the water’s edge.

The big guy squinched one eye at the bridge.

January 01 at 7:00am
Jonathan Cheely with his Atchafalaya Basin Buster 10-point shot two days after Christmas this past year.

Basin busters — Top deer-hunting tips for the Atchafalaya Basin

Jonathan Cheely walked behind his father Jamie in knee-deep water and rain to make an afternoon deer hunt near Bayou Boutte in the Atchafalaya Basin swamp.

Over the past few years, the father-son team had become almost inseparable, as the younger Cheely decidedly became a deer hunter.

January 01 at 7:00am
Joe Sadalis and his daughter Hannah were all smiles after boating a Halter’s Island redfish.

Halter’s Island redfish gang up

A natural disaster started a wintertime tradition for residents and visitors to lower St. Mary Parish, where Halter’s Island becomes a redfish hotspot each December.

Morgan City’s Bill McCarty, a St. Mary Parish School Board member who owns WHM Services LLC, knows as well as anyone about catching redfish after redfish — most of them 18 to 24 inches long with the occasional bull red — down there.

December 22, 2016 at 4:04am
Bronson Strickland took this Texas buck in 2010.

Truth vs. Fiction — The truth behind several deer-hunting maxims

It’s the middle of hunting season and you glance at the weather forecast for the weekend: There’s going to be a full moon.

So you tell your buddies at the camp that you’ll be sleeping in on Saturday morning and heading to your stand around midmorning. That’s when the deer will be moving, you tell them.

December 01, 2016 at 7:00am
A fishing trip will put a smile on your face and make the cares of life disappear. So make time to enjoy the outdoors as we move into a new year.

Get out and relax

A chaotic year is coming to a close. Spring flooding swamped North and Central Louisiana, and Toledo Bend reached historic levels. Then the Great Louisiana Flood in August destroyed homes and businesses down south.

December 01, 2016 at 7:00am
Bassmaster Elite Series pro Cliff Crochet focused on 2-foot water in an old bayou in the lower Atchafalaya Basin to win the Central Open stop last week.

Crochet shares keys to Bassmaster Central Open victory

Pierre Part’s Cliff Crochet relied on a spot he rarely fishes to work his way to the top of the leaderboard during the Bassmaster Central Open stop at the Atchafalaya Basin last week.

“It’s one of those areas you kind of save until it’s needed,” Crochet said. “You don’t fun fish it; you just kind of save it until you need it.”

And he needed it. The young pro has struggled on the Bassmaster Elite Series trail the past two seasons, and without a win he would be sitting out his second straight Bassmaster Classic.

Instead, he jumped from sixth place to first in the Basin tournament to clinch his third Classic berth in four years.

November 03, 2016 at 10:22am
Cliff Crochet, the 'Cajun Baby' from Pierre Part, won the Bassmaster Central Open in the Atchafalaya Basin Saturday and qualified for the 2017 Classic.

Crochet wins Central Open, clinches Classic spot

Cliff Crochet cashed in on home field advantage Saturday at the Central Open at the Atchafalaya Basin to claim his first B.A.S.S. victory and a berth in the 2017 Bassmaster Classic. 

October 30, 2016 at 8:32am
The Southern gray squirrel is the most commonly found subspecies of gray squirrels in Louisiana’s forests. This prolific subspecies sports a grayish-brown body with a white underside. The central portion of its bushy tail matches the body coloration with

Bayou boogie — Best WMAs and squirrel-hunting tips

On opening day last year, conditions were favorable for squirrel hunting at Sherburne Wildlife Management Area and the adjacent Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge.

Winds were calm, temperatures were tolerable and the forest floor was moist as hunters made their way into the 44,000-acre wetlands complex.

Well before sunrise, Joe Speyrer and his three sons boated south along Big Alabama Bayou, making their way through the area locally called the “narrows” and traveling past the Bayou Des Glaises junction.

October 01, 2016 at 7:00am
The first of two Central Opens in Louisiana over the next four weeks will be contested on the Red River starting Thursday. Next month, the final Central Open of the season will be held in the Atchafalaya Basin.

Louisiana to host two Central Open Series events in the next month

Louisiana waters will play host to two Bassmaster Central Open Series events in the next month — potentially providing two more anglers with the opportunity to compete in the Classic next year on Lake Conroe in Texas. 

September 27, 2016 at 12:45pm
A good food source can be the key for hunter success once the rut is over.

The 2016-17 Rut Report

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?

September 01, 2016 at 7:00am
Although many of the early fish of the day came on orange-bladed spinner baits, the bite later shifted to spinners with chartreuse and gold blades.

A humdinger! Spinnerbait tips for more Venice bass

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. 

September 01, 2016 at 7:00am
Focusing on wood in the current of main bayous is the key to catching Atchafalaya Basin bass this month.

Best bets for Atchafalaya Basin bass

The long-awaited drop in the Atchafalaya River happened in late June, and that meant it was easy to catch bass in the Basin.

August 26, 2016 at 6:43am
Jerald Horst (rear) and his grandson Jake Gros spend a lot of time fishing, and they catch a lot of bream. Horst's goal for each trip is 200 fish.

6 tips to catch more bream

Louisiana Sportsman contributor Jerald Horst has a reputation as a serious bream killer. I’ve repeatedly heard stories of him returning to the landing with hundreds of bluegill and goggle-eye.

“My goal is 200,” Horst confirmed when he called and invited me to join him and his grandson on a trip yesterday to the sprawling Atchafalaya Basin. “If I don’t catch 200 it’s not a good trip.”

July 27, 2016 at 2:49pm