Chalmette, that’s right Chalmette right there in St. Bernard Parish, will be the center of the world of competitive redfish action for the next two weeks.
First up is the IFA Redfish Tour Championship presented by Cabela’s. It’s a no-entry-fee event open to the teams that qualified through this year’s regular-season and regional tournaments.
Anglers’ registration is 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Thursday at the Sigur Civic Center in Chalmette with the two-day championship running out at safe daylight Friday and Saturday from Gulf Outlet Marina on Marina Road. Afternoon weigh-ins will be at the marina.
The Tour Championship is more tournaments inside a tournament in that it’s designed to match teams from the same division to determine a number of what the IFA folks call “Divisional Teams of the Year.” The division winners will compete for the $5,000 that goes to IFA’s “Overall Team of the Year.”
The Tour Championship winners are guaranteed a new Ranger Banshee Extreme, and with contingency awards mostly from Ranger, Cabela’s, Yamaha and Berkley, first-place money swells to $65,000 in prizes and cash.
As usual, the teams will be limited to weighing two redfish per day. Each redfish must measure at least 16 inches long, but less that 27 inches long for the catch to hit the scales.
Competitors have been known to run as far as the Venice area to take less-than-27-inch-long reds weighing up to nine pounds — sometimes heavier — a weight seen only in IFA tournaments in Louisiana’s marshes.
The following week, Nov. 2-3, the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Championship presented by Hobie Fishing will be at the same site with anglers’ registration Nov. 1 at the Sigur Center.
This time, competitive fishermen can pick their launch area as long as they return to Gulf Outlet Marina each afternoon for daily check-ins.
There are divisional and overall championships at stake with the Overall Angler of the Year earning $1,000, and the Kayak Tour’s champ winning a Hobie Pro Angler Kayak. Second- and third-place finishers win $1,500 and $750 respecitvely.
The kayakers don’t weigh their catch. Places are determined by lengths of their catches.
The respective info for these two championships can be found on websites: http://www.redfishtour.com and http://www.ifakayakfishingtour.com.
Early S.T.A.R. winners
Isabelle Schmitt, of Baton Rouge; Bryce Clark, of Kenner; Brayton Broussard, of Maurice; and Jeremy Harvey, of Lake Charles, are the first confirmed winners from the Statewide Tournament and Anglers’ Rodeo, Coastal Conservation Association-Louisiana’s summer-long fishing contest.
The four are the Youth Division winners from S.T.A.R.’s four coastal geographic regions. Youngsters have no entry fee other than CCA membership and had to register a speckled trout or a flounder measuring 14 inches or longer to be eligible for a drawing for a 14-foot Weldbilt bateau ripped with a 15-horse Mercury four-stroke outboard atop a Mike Gerald’s Trailer Depot trailer. The division is sponsored by Academy Sports/Outdoors and is open to anglers 18 and younger.
The youngsters will get their boats Thursday at the annual S.T.A.R. Awards Banquet at 5:30 p.m. at Live Oak Arabians on Jefferson Highway in Baton Rouge. Tickets are available from CCA’s state office (225) 952-9200 on Industriplex Boulevard.
Abe Doxey won Mississippi Youth Division drawing sponsored by Carolina Skiff.
Four more winners of the special Temple Fork Outfitters’ Fly Fishing or Kayak divisions bonus were announced prior to the banquet. Registered fishermen needed to weigh an eligible speckled trout at an official weighstation to enter the drawing for a $250 TFO fly rod and four TFO/Gary Loomis’s Saltwater Signature Series baitcasters. Winners are Sonya Hebert, of Baton Rouge; John Holder, of Youngsville; Luke Beslin, of Rayne; Perry Watts, of Terrytown; and in Fly Fishing, Ben Roussel, of Baton Rouge.
Bonnet Carré hunting
After conferring with the Corps of Engineers, state game managers announced changes in the 2012-2013 Bonnet Carré Spillway hunting seasons last week.
Two weeks after altering the deer-hunting dates throughout the Lake Maurepas Basin and St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes after extraordinarily high and lingering water levels caused by Hurricane Isaac, the Bonnet Carre was the only area left to evaluate. The spillway is in St. Charles Parish, which like other areas in the Maurepas Basin, sustained what state biologists termed “storm-related deer mortality including high fawn mortality.”
Revised Bonnet Carre deer-hunting seasons include a youth-only Oct. 27-28 weekend; Nov. 23-25 and Dec. 15-30 shotgun-only hunting; and an either-sex archery season that will run through Feb. 15.
All other seasons are bucks-only, still-hunt-only opportunities, and the buckshot is the only ammo allowed for the shotgun season.
Details are available online at http://www.mvn.usace.army.mil/recreation, then click the Bonnet Carré Spillway option.
Earlier this month, the state Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved a cut in the deer seasons of as many as 40 days in the portions of seven parishes bordering Lake Maurepas.