Get Out and Fish! — and take the fish home

4 weeks ago The Advocate 0

Saturday’s Get Out and Fish at Joe Brown Park in New Orleans and the Nov. 2 event at I-10 Park in Jennings have a special offering for families.

It’s chance to catch the 1,000 pounds of adult-sized catfish stocked in each parks’ ponds, and take the fish home for a family fish fry.

It’s part of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries program to get families into the lifelong sport.

Both events run 7 a.m.-noon and feature, naturally, a fishing tournament — you must return any bass caught to the ponds — along with other fishing-related activities and raffles.

The first 100 youngsters to register will take home a goody bag, and news from the LDWF is the Joe Brown Park event is near that number.

To register, go the LDWF’s website: wlf.la.gov/get-out-and-fish-1.

Young anglers 15 and younger do not need a fishing license. If you’re 16 or older, you must have a valid state fishing license, and you’ll need to have one before entering the parks.

Law’s long arms

Haven’t yet figured out why illegally taking game in the dark is called “night hunting” — how about “stealing with a firearm” — but that’s the report coming from Wildlife and Fisheries’s Enforcement Division after an agent caught Zachary Duncan, 26, of Jonesville, and Hunter Frey, 24, of Monterey, after taking a deer at night in Concordia Parish earlier this month.

Citations were written for “hunting” deer during illegal hours and “hunting” from a moving vehicle. The report stated Duncan was cited for firing a weapon from a public road, failure to have basic and big game licenses, and failure to comply with deer tagging requirements.

The report further stated, “The agent was on patrol at night in Concordia Parish when he heard a gunshot from a high-powered rifle near the location of Bodark Road. The agent found a truck parked in the woods off Bodark Road containing fresh blood in the bed of the truck.

“The agent made contact with Duncan and he admitted to killing a 10-point buck at approximately 3:20 a.m. and hiding it in the woods nearby. The agent also found Frey in the field adjacent to where the deer had been shot.”

And, these two “alleged” game violators had their deer seized along with what was described as a “thermal scoped AR-15.”

These two face fines up to $1,450 and up to 210 days in jail, and Duncan could have another $400 and 45 days in jail added. Both, if convicted, will have to pay for the replacement value of a trophy buck.

In another incident, agents acted on a tip about four men who were seen taking over the limit of black drum on Lake Hermitage earlier this month.

What agents found in the back of a pickup were two ice chests with 30 black drum and three redfish along with female crabs taken during a closed season.

The four Gretna men, Roberto Escobar, 47; Leonel Escobar, 49; Oliver Banegas, 47; and Franklin Escobar, 18, were cited for having fish without basic and saltwater licenses, possessing undersized black drum and redfish, over the limit of black drum and those crabs during a closed season. Leonel Escobar also was cited for driving without a driver’s license, and he and Roberto Escobar were arrested and booked into the Belle Chasse Lockup for multiple prior recreational fishing citations.

Fines range from $150 to $400 and up to 75 days in jail, plus civil restitution penalties for the replacement value of the fish and crabs.

How about this

The International Game Fish Association honored Lainey Jones, who caught and tagged a blue marlin Aug. 8, 2018, in the Bermuda Triple Crown tournament, with the title in this year’s Great Marlin Race.

Here’s how the race works: the tags track the billfish making the longest trek during IGFA’s fiscal year and partners with Costa Sunglasses and Stanford University for the tagging equipment.

This year, the 19 tagged blue marlin traveled 17,926 miles and logged 3,234 days of what the IGFA called “billfish migration and diving behavior.”

Jones estimated his blue marlin weighed 300 pounds when he tagged it and 242 days later the fish with tag still affixed surfaced and began reporting data off Africa’s west coast — 4,166 nautical miles with a total estimated track of 6,847 nautical miles.

Since the program began in 2011, IGFA reported more than 400 tagged billfish have logged 218,000 miles.

Now, for lionfish

Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is far and away leading the battle to remove nonnative lionfish from state and federal waters, and announced the results of its 2019 (fourth annual) Lionfish Challenge.

Ken Ayers of Bay County was crowned Lionfish King after he took 1,194 lionfish to win the Recreational Division. John McCain was second at 983, and Shea Lowe was third with 942.

Joshua Livingston won the Commercial Division with 3,192.8 pounds of lionfish removed from the water, and Ron Surrency from Duval County had the largest Lionfish at 433 millimeters — that’s more than 16 inches long — and the smallest lionfish removed measured came from Nikkie Cox at 37 millimeters, just less than two inches long.

The totals: 23,451 lionfish removed by 349 registered fishermen with 148 — 134 recreationals and 14 commercials — submitting catches.

And, yes, there are lionfish living on the reefs off Louisiana’s coast.