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Lake life

Bass, ducks and big bucks

Brett Preuett with an Okeechobee lunker

A few important news briefs today: Just making the cut to fish pro bass tournaments is an amazing feat, but Monroe’s Brett Preuett got off to a fast start with his first ever top ten FLW tour finish last weekend. Congratulations, Brett! Here’s the story:

Shallow, muddy water isn’t exactly picture-perfect water on Okeechobee, but it didn’t deter Monroe, La., pro Brett Preuett. The former YETI FLW College Fishing National Champion went off a bit of experience and few bites he found in practice to net his first FLW Series top 10.

Unlike the rest of the top pros, Preuett had a large area near the East Wall all to himself. He didn’t fish it until later in the day on day one and scrounged up 8-8 with just four bass. On day two, he camped in there all day and sacked up 18-14 to make one of the biggest leaps of the event.

“On day three of the [FLW] Tour event last year I culled twice in that area and lost a 5-pounder,” Preuett says. “It’s an area I’ve been to in the past, and I got three bites in practice from there. Other than the first day, I’d never crank my big motor once. I shut down until it was time to head to weigh-in.”

Preuett’s fish were moving shallow looking to spawn. If not for some lost fish throughout the event, he could have threatened Thliveros for the title.

“I was fishing shallow in the mud,” Preuett adds. “Shallow enough that with my trolling motor all the way up I was still kicking up mud. I was catching females moving in next to single bushes, but I also lost some, too. I wish I had one more hour to fish [on the final day] because it was getting good.”

Preuett used three different weapons to cover the vast expanse of shallow reeds, pads and bushes: A 3/8-ounce Treeshaker Shaker Blade matched with a 3 1/2-inch Creme Reel Scremer swimbait or a 5-inch Reel Scremer covered water, while a homemade prop bait came in to make precise casts next to likely areas fish would spawn.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

And now for ducks. I’m a huge believer in property rights. If you own property, you should be able to protect it and use it as you like. But often it is a complex situation. At some point, history has to have some bearing. If land has been used one way for decades, public dollars poured into it and a precedent set, it’s hard to reverse that because somebody realized how much money they could make off it. Public access at Catahoula Lake is a huge deal in Louisiana. Frankly, I don’t know how this will turn out. It’s a complex issue, and very similar to other public/private issues going on in the state.

Catahoula Lake, a nationally recognized duck hunting area called “the state’s most legendary hunting spot” is close to being closed to public hunting following a Dec. 28 ruling from Louisiana’s Third Circuit Court. That ruling upholds a similar decision by the Judicial District Court in Rapides Parish in 2017. However, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry just made an important decision that could reverse that. Here’s that story in a news release from the AG’s office:

BATON ROUGE, LA – With the rights of thousands of Louisiana sportsman on the line, Attorney General Jeff Landry is asking the Louisiana Supreme Court to reverse a lower court’s decision in Cooks & Crooks v. Louisiana Department of Natural Resources.

“The Crooks case is one of the greatest threats to Louisiana’s hunters and fishermen,” said General Landry. “In addition to jeopardizing the public’s right to access and use many Louisiana waterways for hunting, fishing, and habitat conservation – the suit also potentially could cost the State’s taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.”

“While we were successful in having $18 million in attorney’s fees struck down by the appellate court, it is crucial that the Louisiana Supreme Court completely overturn the district court’s decision,” explained General Landry. “If that does not happen, decades of well-reasoned precedent will be disrupted and our State will be exposed to over  $40 million in damages. What’s more: it would endanger the rights of Louisiana sportsmen to access large swaths of water in Catahoula Lake and other lakes like it.”

“The lower courts’ decisions would penalize important habitat management efforts that benefit sportsman and would unfairly restrict public access to these waters by literally changing the definition of a ‘lake,’” added General Landry. “I am dedicated to protecting the rights of sportsmen to both access and harvest from our State’s bountiful waters. My office and I will continue to do all we legally can to do just that.”  

And now, big bucks. Here’s something to mark on your calendar. It’s a big event in northeast Louisiana and one thing you can be assured will be said after it is over: “A good time was had by all.”


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