The 2013 LASS Speckled Trout Tournament was held at Mandeville Public Launch and Wharf in Mandeville on Saturday, thanks to the efforts of the City of Mandeville and Keep Mandeville Beautiful. The event rounded out a week long spring tagging event as a part of the Lake Pontchartrain Telemetry Tagging Project successfully releasing a total of 50 speckled trout implanted with acoustic transmitters as a part of the project including the efforts on Saturday. The day started out calm, beautiful, and the LASS Team began the morning with teams blasting off towards hot spots in Lake Pontchartrain at sunrise on the hunt for the biggest catch to win the top prize. This catch and release format challenged anglers to catch a limit of two legal speckled trout using artificial lures only.
Weigh in started early at 8:00 am, but only one team made the trek back to weigh in a gorgeous trout weighing 4.36 pounds. Most teams returned during the last hour of weigh in, some stuck it out to the very last minute, in hopes of being number one. The day started with beautiful weather and calm conditions, but winds steadily rose throughout the day in Lake Pontchartrain. Despite the conditions most anglers weighed in their catch and some even returned with extra trout to earn entries for great prizes from our sponsors. Family, friends and bystanders enjoying a day outdoors hung around to watch the weigh in and learn about the Telemetry Project allowing for one of our highest turn outs from the public for an LASS event since its inception.
Scott and Baylie Comeaux, a father and daughter team from Slidell, took home top prize for this event with a total weight of 5.37 pounds, winning not only the first place payout and an awesome trout trophy but also the incentive prize of $500 cash. The team also brought in one extra fish for the day earning them a ticket in the extra fish prize winning them both LASS Shimano jerseys from our 2013 Sponsors: Shimano and Power Pro. The team of Shawn Alonso and Danny Carlos managed to bring in 10 extra fish, which was outstanding considering the conditions, allowing them 10 entries into the extra fish drawings. Those high odds paid off with the duo taking home the tagging incentive prize of $250 cash as well as many prizes including Shimano tackle bags and a Frabill net from our generous sponsors. Teams are allowed to bring in extra fish in addition to their weigh-in fish to be entered into drawings for special prizes, with the number of entries determined by the number of extra fish brought in to be tagged.
“Both my daughter and I enjoyed fishing the tournament despite the wind. It was even more enjoyable winning, as it was the first time her and I have fished any tournament together. Also it was Baylie’s first tournament ever,” Scott Comeaux added. Comeaux also participated in the season opening event of LASS earlier this year on March 2nd at The Dock/Dockside Bait and Tackle. Due to his work schedule, this was only the second LASS event he was able to participate in even though he wishes he could fish more of them.
Chase Rau, youth angler, took home a trout trophy and an extra $250 as first place youth for this event by weighing in a 1.29 pound speckled trout.
The top finishing teams, taking home over $2,600 in cash prizes, include: 1st place, Scott and Baylie Comeaux with 5.37 pounds, taking home $1,460 (which includes $500 incentive); 2nd place, Josh Hall and Ryan Schellhaas with 5.21 pounds, taking home $640. The other standings for this event are as follows: 3rd place, Shawn Alonso and Danny Carlos; 4th place, George Rau and Kevin Burns; 5th place, Jack and Vito Neal; 6th place, Stevie Nick and Sal Dasilva; 7th place, Justin Bowles and John Thomas; and 8th place, Don Barcelona and Steve Barre.
Throughout the weigh in and the afternoon everyone enjoyed chicken sandwiches provided by Chick-fil-A another one of our great sponsors for LASS.
A total of 25 speckled trout were brought in, and 1 speckled trout and 3 lagniappe flounder were tagged and released as part of the Louisiana Marine Sport Fish Tagging Program, where anglers become citizen scientists for the agency, collecting invaluable data. The highlight of this event is that 11 speckled trout were surgically implanted with acoustic tags as a part of the Department’s telemetry tagging project on Lake Pontchartrain. The tournament followed a week-long spring tagging event, where LDWF and LSU staff surgically implanted acoustic tags in speckled trout provided by volunteer anglers before releasing them back into the Lake. These fish brought in to the scales at the tournament will be used as part of this program and will be recorded on receivers (90) mounted throughout the Lake contributing valuable data towards better understanding fish movements.
Comeaux remarked, “I really like the format of the Saltwater Series tournaments. I wish there were a couple more trout tournaments throughout the year. I would like to thank the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for putting on these tournaments. Hopefully the Department can continue to host these tournaments and gain some information on speckled trout in Lake Pontchartrain.”
The next LASS event is a redfish tournament which is scheduled for Saturday, June 8th in Fourchon at Port Fourchon Marina. LASS will also be hosting a youth event at Grand Isle State Park to make the trip a family affair for the Free Fishing Weekend in Louisiana on June 8th as well. For complete information, including rules, regulations and registration go to www.lasaltwaterseries.com .
The Louisiana Saltwater Series is hosted in conjunction with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation. The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation was formed to provide a means for individuals and corporations to become partners with the Department and Commission in the challenge of conserving Louisiana's wildlife and fish resources.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov  on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb  or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.