The First Annual Ultimate Bass Club Shoot Out was a success in all aspects of the word! We had members of bass clubs from Mississippi and Louisiana who joined us to compete for the Annual Championship Trophy and their rights to claim “Best Bass Fishing Club” on the Ultimate Bass Forum. This two-day event was held at Sam Houston Jones State Park located in Moss Bluff Louisiana, just minutes north of Lake Charles, La.
The Lock Jaw Bass Club of Southern Louisiana hosted this first annual tournament and after long and careful considerations they chose the Calcasieu River, Saturday September 25th – 7am to 4pm, and Sunday the 26th 7am – noon. The goal was to put everyone on a body of water that the fishing would be fun and the catching would be plentiful; but, like most tournaments go, there were factors beyond our control. Who would have thought that Ivan (the hurricane) would slam the gulf head inland, turn east back into the ocean, circle threw Florida, just to land on top of us on the Calcasieu River. Thursday and Thursday night we got what I could only guess to be several inches of rain. The extra flow and muddier conditions wrecked havoc on the bass bite.
Saturday was some of the toughest fishing I have seen, since the post cold front days of last January. With Ivan still hovering above our heads we left our rain gear on most of the day and continued to cast and try to pattern this finicky fish. Through out the day team members would check in with their fishing reports to see how we were doing in hopes that we had unlocked the key but little did they know every time, we were hoping they had come to find us because they were on em’.
We had only caught 3 weigh fish when it was time to race back to the launch site. While idling threw the quarter mile no wake zone at the park, and knowing that we had the most keepers of anyone on our team, I was thinking that we (the Twin Cities Team Club) would be in for a lesson on river fishing at the scales. But to my surprise it was tough for everyone. Sean Richardson from the Lock Jaw Bass Club was kind enough to be our weigh master, as he was unable to fish do to his coaching obligations, giant kudos to Sean he did a great job. After some anxious whispering and a few jokes the Day One standings were announced Twin Cities Team Club 11 pounds 11 ounces and the Lock Jaw Bass Club 7 pounds 10 ounces. Papa (Earnie) and Trey Cella, of the Twin Cities Team Club, took Day One big fish honors with a very nice bass tipping the scales at 3 pounds 13 ounces.
During weigh-in Saturday there was an aroma of fresh fried fish that would occasionally breeze our way. While we were fishing Jacques was a cookin’, by the time weigh in was over and everyone put their boats to rest it was dinnertime. The Lock Jaw Bass Club set up one of the finest catfish dinners I think I have ever eaten. Jacques did a fabulous job with the catfish and when asked what his secret was he just smiled and twirled his unlit cigar in his mouth and mumbled something in Cajun like “mustard”? Trade secret I guess but never the less it was fabulous. Laurie asked Jacques why he didn’t light his cigar, Jacque replied, “Es jaa lit et, it goes away” hmmm, makes sense to me. All through dinner and beer drinking afterwards the members of the Lock Jaw Bass Club made all of us newcomers to south Louisiana feel at home. Camaraderie was high and fishing stories were plentiful. We all had an exceptionally good time learning and sharing with all of our new friends, so much so that everyone got to bed just a little late. But with full bellies and just enough spirits, falling asleep came easy.
Sunday everyone hit the water with a renewed sense of excitement. Fishing couldn’t be that tough two days in a row. And it wasn’t, it was worse. The rain and clouds moved out and left us with blue bird skies and a north wind. Now it was only a half-day of fishing so that the folks that had to travel could get home at a respectable hour, but the scales tell a story of very tough fishing. Twin Cities Team Club was able to put up 5 pounds 13 ounces, while the Lock Jaw Bass Club bettered that with 6 pounds 13 ounces. Bo Crawford, from Mississippi (honorary member of Twin Cities Team Club), took big bass on Day Two with a nice 2 pound 13 ounce bass. As you can tell it was very close and no one really knew which team had won until the awards ceremony.
There were awards given to individual teams for the top three finishers. Third Place went to Mike and Laurie Cork with a two-day total of 4 bass weighing 4 pound 4 ounces. Second Place’s two-day total was 4 pounds 15 ounces and went to Bo Crawford and Mitch Door. Top honors for the two-day total went to Earnie and Trey Cella with 3 fish that went 5 pounds 13 ounces.
When the weights were totaled the Twin Cities Team Club became the Champions of the First Annual Ultimate Bass Club Shoot Out. Their combined Two-day total of 17 pounds 8 ounces bested the Lock Jaw Bass Club’s weight of 14 pounds 7 ounces.
Unfortunately we didn’t have a category for odd fish. It sure would have made things interesting though. Up in north Louisiana when we have and odd fish pot we expect to see a pickerel or maybe a bowfin or even a gar but not in south Louisiana. During day one, the morning bite was over and Laurie had switched to a baby brush hog and on about her 3rd pitch to a stretch of lilly pads she gets bit, winds up the slack and sets the hook. Now you have to realize we have caught several short fish by now and this one actually had some gumption to it. She fights for a bit and then it gives up as she gets it to the surface she haulers “what in the?” Not that I had ever caught one before, but I knew what it was but just couldn’t believe that she had caught it. This is a salt-water fish and yes we are close to the gulf but this is fresh water, bass live here it has to be fresh water. Anyway as she lifts it into the boat she asks, “Do flounder have teeth?” I don’t know you caught it you find out… Well my joking around would pay me back as on day two I would do the same thing on the same bait in generally the same area, so if you want to know where to catch flounder let me know. There were several odd fish caught in the two days of fishing. Day One Jared Leblue of the Lock Jaw Bass Club tried to sneak a gasper gue (drum) into the weigh bucket but no go he didn’t get enough green dye on it to hide the silver sides. There were also red fish caught and a cypress trout (grinnell or bowfin) Ricky even caught a crab on a spinnerbait. We could have had quite the seafood dinner with all that. Charles from the Lock Jaw Bass Club said that with the lack of rain they have had all summer (until we got there) has let a significant amount of salty water to move up river bringing these gulf species with them. Never the less it was a lot of fun.
The goodbyes were short as many of us had a long drive home, and even though that day is gone I expect that many of us will carry the memories of a fun and exciting weekend among friends for a lifetime.
Get the net it’s a Hawg.
Mike and Laurie Cork