Major League Fishing Pro Bass Tour to return to Caney Lake in 2023

After an extremely successful event in 2022 that showcased the Northern Louisiana fisheries to a global audience, the Bass Pro Tour returns to Caney Creek Reservoir and the Bussey Brake Wildlife Management area in Monroe, Louisiana, April 24-29, for the fourth annual General Tire Heavy Hitters all-star event. Numerous Bass Pro Tour records were set at the venue in 2022, including Randy Howell weighing in the largest bass ever caught in Bass Pro Tour competition – a 12-pound, 14-ounce giant.

Major League Fishing made the announcement on Friday with the release of the 2023 MLF Bass Pro Tour schedule. The fifth season of professional bass fishing’s most prestigious circuit will showcase 80 of the top bass anglers in the world competing in seven regular-season tournaments around the country for millions of dollars, valuable points in the Bally Bet Angler of the Year race, and to qualify for REDCREST 2024, the Bass Pro Tour championship, and the annual General Tire Heavy Hitters all-star event.


Finally! JHHS beats Lincoln Prep 30-26 for first win of the season

Former Oakland Raider owner and general manager said it best when ask what was most important when he coyly replied – JUST WIN BABY! Attempting to accomplish that goal has been elusive for the Jonesboro-Hodge this season but by rallying past Lincoln Prep 30-26 this past Friday night the Tigers finally got a win after three season opening losses. The visiting Panthers fell to 2-2 with the loss. The difference in the game came when Tiger H-Back, Chase Leonard, bulled his way into the endzone from three yards out with just 47 seconds left to play. 

It could be said that the contest was the one of the more exciting ones ever played at Caldwell Peacock stadium as both teams fell behind twice before making comebacks to take the lead. Exciting yes! Well played? A resounding NO!

In what can only be termed as a “comedy of errors,” in reality, neither team deserved to win. The stats prove the point. Both teams turned the ball over four times, albeit in different fashion. For the Tigers the main culprit was an inept passing game that completed more downfield passes to their opponent and gave up one of the two fumbles lost. All led to Lincoln Prep scores.

The villian in the “dramatic tragedy” for the visiting Panther was their special teams that allowed two block punts, a blocked extra point attempt and fumbled another attempt to punt.  The offense also threw an interception for good measure. Four more times errant passes hit Tiger defenders squarely in the hands only to be dropped. SIGH!

On the positive side, out of the darkness that was result of the inept ball security demonstrated by both teams, a historic measure was acheived. That being junior linebacker Xavier Atkins etching his name into the alltime record annals for blocking two punts in one half. Alas,Atkins also became the first Tiger player in recent memory to be ejected from a game before the end of the first half as result of two unsportsmanlike conduct penalites. YIKES! 

Not only was both teams generous to the opponent to a fault, often times neither could even complete a play without making an infraction of some kind. Twenty-nine (29) times the referrees threw the penalty flag. Jonesboro-Hodge has played played football games for over 100 years and this was the most combinded penalties called – EVER!

Fortunately for the Tigers it was Lincoln Prep who committed the most fouls getting whistled 19 times compared to just (?) 10 for the Tigers. The 19 penalties sets another JHHS school record as most ever by an opponent. 

In the end not even the sweet taste of victory could take out the sour taste head coach Terrance Blankenship had in his mouth following the contest.

“I guess I should be happy we got the win, but we have got to get better quick or it’s going to be a long season,” bemoaned Blankenship. “There is nothing about this game that I am pleased with other than the guys kept plugging to finally come out on top.”

The contest looked like an easy win for the Tigers at the start. After forcing L-Prep to a “three and out” on their first possession, Atkins blasted through to block the punt, setting the Tigers up at the Panther 14 yard line. Ed’Tavious Drayton then rambled 14 yards ion the first play from scrimmage to give JHHS a 6-0 lead. 

JHHS drove to the L-Prep 9 yard line on their next possession only to throw a pick but a bad snap on the Panthers punt attempt set JHHS back up on the opponents 39 yard line. Three straight runs by Drayton and JHHS was up 12-0 and seeminly in total control. 

The score stayed that way until just a little over four minutes remained in the second quarter when the Tigers coughed up their third turnover of the first half. That set off a series of events that left Tiger faithful stunned and shaking their heads in disbelief. 

With the ball on the Tiger 22 yard line following the give away, L-Prep scored in three plays to narrow the margin to 12-6. Inspired by the score the Panthers took over at the Tigers 45 yard line. With just 2:01 left in the half, Lincoln Prep managed to convert a fourth and long and third and long, the latter being a 16 yard touchdown pass that tied the score. 

What happened next was almost inconceivable. With five seconds left in the half the Tigers allowed Lincoln Prep to recover a pooch kick that no one on the kick return team even attempted to retrieve. Then with just time for one play left and knowing that the ball had to be thrown into the endzone, unbelievably a Panther receiver was left wide open in the corner of the end zone sending JHHS into the half trailing by an 18-12 margin. 

To the Tiger coaching staff’s and players credit, JHHS opened the second half by the offensive line leading the way to two straight touchdowns.  Twelve straight time the Tigers ran the ball behind their behemoth line resulting in 115 yards gained and both Drayton and Dominick Strickland scoring that gave JHHS a 24-18 lead. 

The Tigers seemed to be in total control at that point, when once again they became their own worst enemy. Driving for what certainly would be the a nail in the Panthers coffin, the Tigers fumbled again. That led to L-Prep marching 72 yards in 8 plays to tie the game. The two point conversion put the Tigers behind 26-24.

Tired of seeing his offense self destruct, when the Tigers took over at their own 39 yard line, Blankenship turned to Symeon Malone at quarterback and freshman, Jason Blackburn at tailback. The move provided positive inertia as Blackburn scampered for a couple of good gains and Malone found Zion Gray for a crucial third down conversion setting up Leonard’s game winning score. 

Ed’Tavious Drayton rushed the ball 19 times for a career high 190 yards and three scores to lead the Tiger offense. Jason Blackburn added 77 yards on 8 carries. Xavier Atkins, despite missing the entire second half, led the defense with 10 tackles, two assists, one sack, two tackles for a loss and two blocked punts. 

TEAM1234TOTAL
JHHS (1-3)12012630
Lincoln Prep (2-2)0180826

Part XI: Woody to Water! The chronology of Caney Lake


NOTE: Today most people only know that Caney Creek Reservoir and Caney Lake State Park is considered one of the jewels of Sportsman’s Paradise, as the state is called. Few remember the countless trials, tribulations, pitfalls and roadblocks that had to be overcome or the role that Woody McDonald played in changing the woods into water. This week: Little causes lots of problems

The year was 1993. The dream was now a reality. Caney Lake had become the water world playground and fishing mecca that it was hoped to be. It had also turned out to be boom to the local business world as scores of fun seekers and fishermen flocked to the new jewel of the Piney Woods. Lake related businesses had opened along the highways that allowed access to the outdoor paradise.

he housing industry was in full bloom as homes and camps were continuing to be built on virtually every shoreline. The towns of Jonesboro and Chatham were also enjoying the benefits the lake brought as restaurants, convenience stores, hardware stores and “big box” locations like Walmart were all enjoying the large throng of visitors that flocked to the lake daily.

“It had become everything we had hoped and dreamed it would be,” beamed McDonald in reflection. “The lake not only proved to be a great place to live but along with the state park a wonderful place to camp, fish or just enjoy being on the water.”

There were several reasons that Caney Lake was flourishing. One was the design that McDonald, Jackson Parish Lake Commission and the state Public Works department had carved out. With the five creeks being feeders, the shape of the lake resembled a hand with five outreaching tributaries surrounding a large open area. This lent to the perfect harmony of fishing and boating activities. Another was the popularity that Jimmie Davis State Park was gaining. The park offered tremendous amenities that included meeting houses, cabins, RV and tent sites and a swimming area complete with showers.

Perhaps the biggest reason for the increasing popularity was the decision to stock the lake with the Florida Strain bass that was said to have the potential to grow upwards of twenty pounds. At first many were skeptical of the claim, but by the early 1990’s lunkers started being landed that weighed in the 7, 8 and 9 pound range. Among anglers, who had before deemed a five-pound bass a trophy, what started as tepid excitement grew into a rabid frenzy never before seen at a fishery in north Louisiana.

James Eddie and Sharon Brown, owners of Brown’s Landing located on Hwy 4, started putting pictures of anglers and their catch on the wall for all to see. This was followed by a large aquarium being built in their store/restaurant where a few of the incredibly large bass were put on display. Folks came from miles around just to stand there and gawk at the “Caney Creatures.”

As the fish started to grow even larger, so did the popularity of the lake. Using the terminology of today, Caney Lake went “viral” in March of 1992 when Brian Davis caught a 14.31 pounder that set a new state record. The mark lasted only until June of that year when another Florida Strain bass was caught out of University Like in Baton Rouge that topped the scales at 15.38 pounds but Caney Lake was just beginning to make it’s mark on the state record chart.

In February of 1993, Caney Lake reclaimed the top spot on the state record bass chart when Tommy Foster hauled in a 15.54 pounder. By year’s end, six more “monsters” in the 14 and 15 pound range had been caught giving Caney Lake the distinction of being home to seven of eight of the biggest bass ever caught in Louisiana.

Almost exactly one year later to when Caney’s first state record was registered, Greg Wiggins of Winnfield landed his iconic 15.97 pound catch that still today ranks as the largest bass ever caught in Louisiana.

For the angling community It was the best of times. For those who owned homes on the lake or enjoyed swimming and other water play in the lake, it was the worst. This was because of the unplanned introduction by boaters from other areas of the United States of Hydrilla, or water thyme as it is commonly called, into the waterway.

At first for the fishermen, Hydrilla, was like a Godsend. It provided the perfect cover and breeding grounds for not only the “Florida bred’s, but other species as well. As one lake guide said at the time “it put the whole food chain on steroids.” Once the submersed perennial herb took root in the shallows of the lake bed the size and numbers of the bass strain grew exponentially.

Lending credence to the old saying that “too much of good thing is a bad thing,” the unabated perineal submersed herb soon started to act like the fictional creature Godzilla as it was destroying all the amenities the lake had to offer. Boat channels became clogged to the point that you couldn’t run through it. All over the lake docks, piers, boat launches and swimming areas started to get choked off due to the thick grass.

This led to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries being asked to help control the growth. It was decided by LDWF Marine Biologist, Janice Little, to not chemically attack the species of grass but to control the growth through the use of grass eating carp.

Little decided to make an initial deposit of three-inch fingerlings in the lake. After several months and no indication that things were getting better, the thought circulated that maybe the “three inchers” were getting eaten by the bass and larger carp needed to be injected. This resulted in Little and the LDWF coming back and putting six- inch carp in the waterway.

What wasn’t realized at the time was that the smaller carp were doing their job, they were just so little that it took time for them to make a dent in the Hydrilla. Once the “double dose” of grass eaters went to work the results were much more than what was hoped for. Not only did the Hydrilla start to disappear, so did other forms of grass. As the carp, which have no natural enemies and grow to unbelievable sizes, continued to feast on the grass, in short order the bottom of the lake looked like a dessert.

Once the calender rolled into the “new Millenium,”, by all accounts Caney Lake was dead. The once thriving businesses connected to the great fishing were now being shuttered as the number of visitors started dwindling to virtually nothing.

Geoffrey Chaucer, a 14th century English poet, coined the phrase “all good things must come to an end.” It seemed to be a fitting description of the birth, growth and decline of Caney Lake. Many simply accepted the fact and chose to revel in the lake’s past glory.

Fortunately, there were others who refused to let the shine of the “jewel of the Piney Woods” fade into oblivion.

Next week: FINAL EDITION! The Recovery of Caney Lake!

Tent Revival to be held at Jackson Parish Rec Complex Sunday thru Wednesday

Sponsored by the Jackson Parish Baptist Association and through the collaboration of 11 local churches, aA good old fashioned Tent Revival will be held at the Jackson Parish Recreation Department Sports Complex this coming Sunday thru Wednesday, September 25th – 28th.

Bill Britt, former President of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists and Founder/Director of Compel Outreach International in Haughton, LA, will be the guest evangelist. 


Derickal Saulsberry: The twin made the Chatham glory years twice as nice

Note: On Saturday, October 1st, the Jackson Parish Sports Hall of Fame (JPSHOF) will hold induction ceremonies for the “Class of 2022” at the Family Life Center of the Jonesboro First Baptist Church. Over the past several weeks the Jackson Parish Journal has provided features on each of the electees into “hallowed hall.”  Today: Derickal Saulsberry.

According to the records on hand, the earliest good fortunes of the boys basketball teams outside of local and district play at the now defunct Chatham High School boys basketball date back to 1931. That was when the Eagles finished in third place of the North Louisiana Championship Invitational, the annual tourney that determined who would qualify for the state championship tournament. In 1938 the Eagles made it to the finals of the Northeast Center of LSU tourney which was essentially the same things as the North LA Championships, just under another name. Fourteen years later, Chatham reached the Class B quarterfinals.

Fast forward to the period from 1975 – 1992 when, under the tutelage of JPSHOF member, Talton Barron, Chatham won the district championship virtually every year. Through the annual contribution of gaudy win-loss records and 13 district championship trophies, “Talton Time” was considered the best period on Chatham boys basketball history, but even then, success at state was elusive at best.

All that changed with the arrival of Derickal Saulsberry in 1993.

As soon as Saulsberry, who had a twin sister named Erickal (also a very talented ball player) stepped into the starting lineup as a freshman it was obvious that the young man was special. Saulsberry could shoot with anyone from downtown and was tremendously adept at taking the ball to the hoop. Even though being listed at a generous 5’11” the fearless guard loved to head into the land of the giants, where by virtue of his tremendous leaping ability would often times soar over and above bigger defenders.

Saulsberry first gave a glance of his abilities in a contest against Marion where he orchestrated an offensive attack that ended with the Eagles setting a new school record for points in a 129-87 victory. It wasn’t long that he became well known in north Louisiana.

The next season Saulsberry became known state-wide.

It is rare that a sophomore rises to such prominence, but after scoring 25.8 points per game and averaging 12.8 rebounds, Saulsberry wasn’t just known, he was recognized by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association as the Class B Most Valuable Player in the state. To Saulsberry though, his greatest accomplishment was leading Chatham to the state semi-finals and their first ever “Top 28” tournament appearance.

After already proving that he could score and rebound as good as anybody in the state, Saulsberry left no doubt what was most important to him as a player his junior year. That was the season that Chatham won 41 of 47 games and their first ever state title. The unstoppable guard led the way with a 20.7 ppg average, including scoring a game high 27 points in the 71-52 Class B finals victory over Epps.

f it had been his main objective to be among the state leaders in points scored and rebounds he could have easily accomplished that but what was important to him was his unique desire to make those around him better. Call it mission accomplished. This is verified by the Eagles finishing the season with all five starters averaging in double figures in points.

If you think Saulsberry showed rare character as a junior to put the teams success over his own personal gain and accolades, it was nothing compared to what he did his senior season. Once again, Chatham waltzed their way to the Class B state championship. This year though it was in even more convincing fashion as with Saulsberry directing traffic, Chatham set a Class B record for most points scored in a quarterfinal contest (102 vs Castor), most points scored in a semi-final contest (104 vs Lacassine) and a Top 28 record for most points scored in the two state tournament games (104 vs Lacassine and 90 vs Mt. Hermon).

For the third straight season Saulsberry was named MVP of the district and for the second time to the Class B All State team after averaging another double / double, that included a team leading 10.8 boards per game.The true testament to what made Saulsberry special was that when most seniors would focus on being the leading scorer their final season, he only was third on the team in points per game.

Ask any coach and they would tell you that it would be a dream to have a player like that. Ask any teammate what it would be like to play with someone who thought more about you getting better than his gaining own accolades and they will tell you the same.

That is why for those few years at Chatham High School, having the twin on the team was twice as nice. That is also why Derickal Saulsberry is a worthy selection to be included in the Jackson Parish Sports Hall of Fame. 


Jackson Parish Library joins Safe Place Movement

In the ever continuing effort to provide the youth of Jackson Parish with the best services available the Jackson Parish Library Board agreed to become a participating member of Safe Place. The decision was made during the regular scheduled meeting of the board that was held this past Tuesday, September 20th. 

“I feel this is a no brainer,” said Jackson Parish Library Director Floyd Knox. “We already always try to be aware of youth that might need help and by becoming involved with thsi program it allows us to provide a great resource to help.”rovide help to youth that would be involved with this program.”

Based out of the Christopher Youth Center in Monroe, Safe Place offers services for runaways, homelss and victimized youth by providing emergency housing, food, clothing, counseling, tutoring and transportation. 

In additional action the board decided to re advertise for bids in regard to the construction of the outdoor interactive childrens park that will be constructed on the grounds of the Jonesboro Branch location. The decision to choose which brick company and bench company that would be used was also made. 

In final action, Rebecca Shields, who has been the Circulation/Reference Specialist at the Chatham Branch has been shifted to the position of Business Specialist at the Jonesboro Branch. In a corresponding move, Pamela Stevens was approved to become the new  Circulation/Reference Specialist at the Chatham Branch contingent on pre-employment screening and successful completion of the probationary period. 


Ponderings……

Did any of you get up on the “wrong side of the bed” this morning?

There is something even worse than “getting up on the wrong side of the bed.” It’s eating breakfast across from someone who “got up on the wrong side of the bed.” Nothing starts the day off on a more sour note than a crabby crash encounter with a wrong-side-of-bed person while you are both still in your pajamas.

These days the overwhelming scapegoat for our a.m. bad behavior is “sleep deprivation.” All the talk shows and social media influencer docs decry the blood-shot, bleary-eyed, sleep-deprived state of our Union.

But are we really sleep deprived? Or are we just waking badly?

Before the comforts of electricity, central heat and/or air conditioning, sleeping “through the night” was unheard of. Especially in the wintertime when someone had to keep the fire going so the family would not freeze to death.

Let’s think back a century or more. . . when houses were smaller, the number of young children typically large, and the continual needs of livestock on a farm more demanding than anything we can comprehend. Live like our ancestors and the myth of a good night’s sleep seems even more distant. Half of Indiana still refuses to go on the government-standard “daylight savings time” because milk cows just “don’t get it.” Farmers know that Washington D.C. can say “spring forward” all they want. But Bossy still needs to be milked at 5 a.m. — HER 5 a.m., or everyone will “fall backward.”

Ask farmers. Ask big families with small children. Ask central heating challenged households. All have never known about some magic “eight hours” of sleep.
In fact, earlier cultures embraced the night, accepting that while it might be a time of different activities, or even of “rest,” it was not necessarily a time for sustained sleep. In fact, our ancestors most often lived out of a tradition of “two sleeps.”

Every 24 hours used to be divided into a day of “work” and a night of “two sleeps.” When the sun set and the warmth left the air, it was time for the “early sleep.” But the demands of keeping a warm house, tending to children, or just keeping an attentive ear out for intruders, necessarily meant this “early sleep” might be brief. After waking from a couple hours of “first sleep,” this gap of time in the midst of the night was a traditional moment for personal prayer and meditation, tending the fire, reading by candlelight (for those wealthy enough to afford candles) and quiet contemplation. This “personal time” in the middle of the night brought meaning and purpose to a life crowded with noise, people, and duties.

But then it was time for “second sleep,” the second shift of sleep that hopefully took the sleeper to just before dawn.

The question upon rising for our ancestors, then, was not “How did you sleep?” but “Did you wake well?” And which “waking” was better, your first waking or your second waking?

Perhaps “waking well” is an endangered species. But it seems scripture is filled with the admonition to “wake up.” Perhaps there was something to the gap between the sleeps.


Cammie Netherland joins Jackson Parish Hospital Chatham Medical Clinic staff

The Jackson Parish Hospital (JPH) is pleased to announce that Cammie Netherland has joined the staff of the Chatham Medical Clinic as the Family Nurse Practitioner. Netherland, who was raised in Quitman and now resides in Weston, holds a Master of Science in Nursing and was employed at St. Francis Medical in Monroe before joining the JPH team of dedicated professionals. 

Eager to assist you with your health care needs, Cammie and the staff at Chatham Medical Clinic invites you to visit their location at 804 Chatham Avenue in Chatham. To make an appoinment call 318-249-3200. 


Tiger defensive end Peyton Smith takes official visit to NSU

Jonesboro-Hodge High School defensive end, Peyton Smith, was invited to be the guest of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches this Saturday. One of the best kept secrets in the LHSAA, Smith, who led the state in tackles by defensive linemen as a junior  was introduced to the NSU coaching staff, toured the athletic facilities and had the opportunity to be on the field for the Demons contest agasint Lamar University. 

“I would like to thank everyone who made this possible,” said Smith. “The game day atmosphere was great and I really enjoyed talking with the coaches.”

 


Dugdemona Farm and Feed hosting Pet Costume Contest and Parade

Dugdemona Farm and Feed injvites all to come and celebrate the Dugdemona Fall Trade Days by bringing your pet to their location at 132 Lowery Road in Quitman, LA on Saturday, October 1st and take part in the Pet Costume Contest and Parade.  The event will begin with the parade at 10:00am followed by the costume contest at 10:30am. Awards will be given for funniest costuem most creative costume and best overall costume. 


Tourism Board prepares for unveiling of Jimmie Davis marker on NELA Music Trail


If you haven’t heard, Jackson Parish’s iconic “singing Governor”, Jimmie Davis, will be honored by having a marker unveiled designating his homeplace, the Tabernacle and Peckerwood Hill Store as being on the Northeast LA Music Trail.

In preperation of the event that will take place on Saturday, October 22nd, during their regularly scheduled meeting, the Jackson Parish Toursim Board made plans to help commemorate the event.

Action being taken is signs for the Tabernacle is being completed, guest speakers, music and sound are being arranged as well as putting insurance in place and additional final arrangements were done. It was also agreed to provide a meal for the grounds workers not to exceed $500.00 in cost.

In additonal action it was learned that copies of photos are being prepared for the Civil Right Trail and that fall/winter advertising was approved up to $500.00. Addtional considertation for LA fishing and outdoor Adventures program ads was discussed as well as purchasing coffee pots and tables for hopitality uses.

Police Jury learns fate of 2022 tax values and grant applications


The good news was that the meeting of the Jackson Parish Police Jury that was held this past Tuesday, September 20th, at the Charles H Garrett Community Center in Jonesboro was that the meeting didn’t last that long. The bad news was that the information provided by the two special guests wasn’t exactly good news.

The session began with Jackson Parish Tax Assessor, Glen Kirkland, informing Todd Culpepper (|District 1), Amy Magee (District 3), John McCarty (District 4), Tarneshala Cowans (District 5), Regina Rowe (District 6 and President Lynn Treadway (District 7) that the tax values for 2002 were down by 4.6 percent.

First providing the positives of his report, Kirkland indicated that Real Estate and Personal Property tax values actually increased by 1.86% and 1.7% and that the tax roles had shown a 125 improvement from last year. The culprits causing the overall dip was the Oil and Gas and Public Service sectors that showed 7.71% and 11.89% declines respectively. Kirkland further stated that records show that 68 mobile homes, 25 site built homes, 31 miscellaneous structure and one gas well was added for the 2022 parish assesment. Following the report the Police Jury agreed to adopt the and uphold the assessment as presented.

Next up was Thomas Magee of Frye Magee Consultants and Developers LLC out of Ball, LA, who provided juror members views on the housing and community development needsin j in Jackson Parish. Magee also updated the position of the parishes application for funding under the State of Louisiana Community Development Block Grant (LCDBG) program.

To the dismay of the Jurors, Magee stated that the application for funds in 2022 never even reached a decision stage due to the many other projects across the state deemed more important. This was followed by the recommendation to reapply for 2023 funding. The Police Jury had hoped to gain funding from the state for help with repair of Tolar Street, Julius Erving Street and Gayla Drive.

In additional action Jurors heard reports from the various department heads and c onsidered allowing the Community Center for the LSU Ag Center and the Jackson Parish Clerk of Court office.

In c;losing, President Treadway announced that a meeting will be held on October 18th where Jurors will consider adopting a Resolution ordering and calling for an election to auithorize the renewal of an ad valoreum tax.

GRAHAM BELIEVES JIG TYING BUSINESS A “GOD THING”

Tying crappie jigs is something Ronny Graham never ever thought he’d be doing. Since
February 2022, however, he spends his spare time doing just that, tying colorful crappie jigs. To get a handle on Graham’s new enterprise, we need to go back to learn how it all
started and what triggered it.

“It was during the COVID pandemic when my wife, Judy, started thinking about what we
might be able to do since we were basically home-bound,” Graham began. “She and I have
fished for crappie together for years and I had been buying my jigs from Jim Hall, a Ruston
fisherman who tied his own jigs. Judy suggested that maybe I could learn how to tie them and it would give me something to do since we were pretty well sequestered at home.”

Graham had spent years working with Lincoln Builders, the company his dad started in 1962. After his dad retired, Graham was named CEO of the business, retiring in 2010. During his tenure in working with Lincoln Builders, Graham has held several positions related to the outdoors. He served on the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, was on the Habitat Committee for Ducks Unlimited and served a term on the D’Arbonne Lake Commission.

One day while visiting Clyde Barham who is married to his dad’s sister and an expert crappie fisherman himself, the subject of jig fishing came up. I asked him what type of jigs he used, rubber or hair jigs. He told me he used nothing but hair jigs that he tied himself.

“When I told him of mine and Judy’s interest in making jigs, Barham gave me a 50 year
old jig-tying apparatus so I decided to give I a try,” Graham said.

“I bought the materials needed for jig tying and I learned as I went along. Today I have
all the equipment I need to tie jigs and I have gotten pretty good at it,” he said.

Visiting Graham at his home, we sat in his jig tying room and I was impressed with all the materials he had, skirt materials in a variety of colors and jig heads he purchases, paints and places in Judy’s oven for a few minutes to let the paint set. He tied a simple jig for me and it took barely a minute before he handed me the completed jig.

“I don’t want to go into the ‘quantity’ business of tying jigs; I’m more interested in ‘quality’. I will make some special order jigs for folks who want them and I plan to have a display of jigs available at only two businesses right now, Cranford’s Grocery and Sporting Goods in Ruston and the Honey Hole Tackle Shop in W. Monroe,” Graham added.

Graham has had to overcome some health issues since his retirement; a bout with cancer
and two strokes. Fortunately he has recovered from these issues.

“When I started and got going on tying jigs, Judy made a statement that as a Christian, I
firmly believe is true. She mentioned this transition into something I can do at home, an activity that began during the pandemic,” he said. “She called it a ‘God thing’ and I totally agree. After my bouts with health problems, I don’t believe the Good Lord is through with me yet and I’m 

thankful I have been provided with something I not only have the ability to do but it’s
something I thoroughly enjoy.”

”Ronny Graham ties crappie jigs in his home and is shown with a jig he recently tied.” Glynn Harris photo

FISHING REPORT

BLACK BAYOU – A few bream have been caught around the grass on worms and crickets.
Bass have been best fishing plastic frogs around grass. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.
OUACHITA RIVER – The water is in good condition. Bass are in the cuts and hitting topwater lures early while Carolina rigs and Shaky Heads are picking up some later in the day. Crappie are around the deep tops in the river and hitting shiner or jigs. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE D’ARBONNE – Crappie are on the flats off the deeper sloughs and have been fair on
shiners or jigs. Bass have been schooling some and hitting shad imitation lures. Also some are being caught around the grass on Rat-L-Traps and topwater lures. Bream are scattered and fair while catfish are biting cold worms fished off the banks. For latest information, call Anderson Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE CLAIBORNE – Crappie continue be in their summer pattern and are hanging around
submerged brush with most caught in 8-10 foot water on shiners and jigs. The Bobby Garland Blue Thunder jigs along with chartreuse patterns are working best. Bass fishing has been best fishing around the boat docks and piers using soft plastics and crank baits. A few stripers have been caught along with the bass. Catfishing has been fair to good on set hooks using small bream for bait. Some are also being caught on yo-yos. For latest information, call Kel’s Cove at 927- 2264 or Terzia Tackle at 278-4498.
CANEY LAKE – Some catches of bream are being reported on crickets or night crawlers. Bass continue to school around the lake with shad imitation topwater lures picking up some. Bigger fish to around 7 pounds have been caught on soft plastics and deep diving crank baits around brush and underwater humps around the channels. Crappie are fair fishing jigs and shiners around submerged tops in deeper water. No report on catfish this week. For information contact Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323- 8707.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – Catfish continue to be about the only thing biting with an occasional crappie being reported. No report on bass or bream. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318/878-0101.
LAKE YUCATAN – The water is on a slow fall and fishing should improve. Bass have been fair on a variety of baits, a good many catfish are being reported and although crappie are rather slow, some real slabs are being caught on shiners or jigs. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.


Jackson Parish Hospital announces Student Athlete of the Week

The Jackson Parish Hospital (JPH) is pleased to announce that the winners of the Student Athlete of the Week for September 4th – 10th. The ongoing program that the JPH has sponsored for the past several years, recognizes a student athlete from Jonesboro-Hodge, Quitman and Weston High Schools as chosen by select faculty and staff from each school. The honorees are selected by best exemplifing what it means to be a true student athlete through academic acheivement and athletic accomplishment. 

Student Athlete of the Week (Sept. 4th -10th)

Ed’Tavious Drayton (12th Grade) – Football player at Jonesboro-Hodge High School
Taden Thomas (8th Grade) – Boys basketball player at Quitman High School
Carly Jo Griffin (7th Grade) – Girls basketball player at Weston High School