Honoring artistic youth

If their winning entries are any indication, Story Moller and Clay Kershaw have bright futures in writing and photography.

Moller, a 17-year-old Cedar Creek High School student of Ruston, and Kershaw, who attends Catholic High in Baton Rouge, had two entries each judged atop respective writing and photo categories in the Youth Journalism Contest sponsored annually by the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association.

During LOWA’s awards banquet Saturday night, Moller earned a first and a third in Senior Essay, and Kershaw took the top two spots in Photography.

Kenny Odinet, 13, of Lafayette, took first place in Junior Essay with his story about catching speckled trout for the first time on a soft-plastic lure. Sisters Kyla and Janae D’Arensbourg, of Zachary, and Our Lady of Mercy student Frances Purgerson, of Baton Rouge, finished out the top four in Junior Essay.

Moller won for his piece about a youngster hunting ducks for the first time in a cypress-studded brake. His third-place entry put to paper a story he’d heard about his family’s time living in Wyoming and hunting elk.

Kershaw’s winners were images of an alligator and an egret. Several judges commented on the photos’ content and his use of light and shadow.

Kershaw’s younger brother, Parkview Baptist student Alex, placed fourth with his photo of a lizard stalking a meal.

Ava Lemoine, 8, a St. Aloysius Catholic School student from Baton Rouge, placed third for her image of a sunset over the Louisiana marsh.

Joining Moller with honors in Senior Essay were 16-year-old Averi Young, of St. Francisville, for her second-place story about her first successful squirrel hunt. Jade Spears, 18, a recent Baton Rouge High graduate, and Jacob DeRamus, 14, from Jesuit High tied for fourth place. DeRamus’ “Catch Me Something, Mister!” covered Mardi Gras Day 2013 when he and a friend were witness to a record-bass catch in New Orleans’ City Park. Spears’ entry documented her first experience sighting a bald eagle on a fishing trip with her father to Old River and her continued excitement about the return of eagles to Louisiana.

Kyla D’Arensbourg described a frustrating fishing day at Grand Isle that was saved by catching a single trout, while Janae D’Arensbourg rendered a more successful crabbing adventure on the island.

Purgerson’s story about chimney swifts showed outdoor adventures can be found as close as her backyard.

The young writers and photographers were honored with cash prizes donated by the local chapter of Safari Club International.

The banquet is the headliner for LOWA’s annual conference.

Fish of the year

Elliot Sale, of New Iberia, and Morgan City physician Chip Metz also were honored at the banquet for their respective rod-and-reel and fly-fishing catches during 2012.

LOWA’s Fish Records Committee voted Sale’s state-record, 251-pound yellowfin tuna the Fish of the Year among the catches recorded last year in the Rod-and-Reel Division.

Sale’s giant yellowfin bested the existing record by nearly 10 pounds. He caught the fish in October at West Delta Block 122 off the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Metz’s catch was a 4.09-pound flounder, a rare target for fly anglers. The fish stands in third place in the state records, which are maintained by the LOWA. He reported catching the doormat flounder Four League Bay last August.

For more information about the Louisiana State Top 10 Fish Records, email fishrecords@yahoo.com.

LOWA has been the curator for the state fish records since the late 1940s and works closely with state marine and freshwater biologists and state fishing organization.

Complete species list and records along with applications and rules can be downloaded or printed from LOWA’s website at laoutdoorwriters.com.

Youth hunt lottery

Applications for youth 15 and under are open for lottery hunts on the White Lake Area in Vermilion Parish.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is holding the hunts Nov. 2-3 with one youth hunter and his or her parent or guardian drawn from the LDWF’s seven field office areas and one at-large hunter. Applications are available at wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/ lottery-hunts.

The deadline is Sept. 12.