“Had we felt just a little bit better about our chances, we could have made a lot more money,” stated Adam Jaynes after he and Aaron Hommel teamed up to win the first of five Gulf Coast Trout Series tournaments last Saturday. “We had only one promising spot that had to pay off for us to do well and the right trout showed up.”

The Pro Cure/GTI sponsored team used TTF Trout Killers and Maniac Mullets to post a three fish limit that weighed 18.41-pounds. Had they bought into the big trout pot they would have earned that second place money and the Calcutta pool as well.“When we left the dock we were afraid that we were just donating our entry fee, but that all changed when Aaron stuck our first big fish right off the bat,” stated Jaynes.

He was also quick to point out how unbelievably healthy all of their trout were. When you weigh in three trout that average six pounds each and only two of them can be over 25-inches in length….they are indeed healthy fish. Their largest speck was just over the seven pound mark.

Hommel and Jaynes earned a $3500 check for winning the initial Series event of the year. There are three more qualifying events plus a championship yet to be fished with the next tournament set for Feb. 18.

Shangri La will host their 17th annual Community Trash Off Feb. 4 and this is an excellent opportunity for area fishermen to join in with other volunteers in cleaning up not only the city, but Adams Bayou as well. Local fishermen with smaller boats are badly needed as they can concentrate their clean-up efforts on stretches of the bayou that a lot of folks have never even seen.

While far too many recreational boaters and fishermen inexplicably throw everything from soda cans to empty tubes of sunscreen in the water every weekend, the larger aquatic trash issue is the result of big tide changes and occasional flooding. A year’s worth of incoming tides alone ushers in tons of debris all the way from the open Gulf to the smallest of marsh drains.

Over the course of an average year even minor flooding purges waterfront property of litter and decaying trash hidden in over hanging grass and small bushes. The bottom line is that even if we did not add to the problem on an individual basis each year, there would still be a desperate need for these yearly “Trash- Offs!”

We are blessed with a phenomenal resource that visiting fishermen simply cannot believe and it isn’t just about the diversity of fish and wildlife. Within the span of a ten minute boat ride you can transition from bass fishermen plugging away at the weathered knees of stately cypress trees lining the tea colored water of a tranquil bayou to gulls working over schools of trout and redfish in a 90,000 acre bay.

The brackish water is the lifeblood of this incredible, but fragile ecosystem, and Mother Nature has proven very adept at taking care of that critical factor for hundreds of years with little or no help on our part. It is up to us as caretakers and users of the resource to, at the very least, not make the task any more daunting.

Having personally benefitted from this resource for over five decades, I have admittedly done far more taking than paying back, but I am getting better. Our awareness level gets a temporary boost following any type of flooding event, but simply taking a minute to pick up even one soda can or a single piece of floating trash each trip is the ultimate solution. I look forward to the day when I can’t find any trash to pick up!

All volunteers are needed and appreciated for the Trash-Off, but this is an excellent opportunity for fishermen to spend the morning combing the bayou for trash, join other volunteers at noon at the Lion’s Park for pizza, and still get in an afternoon of fishing. Gloves, trash bags and trash grabbers will be provided. All the Trash-Off coordinators need is us.

The event kicks off at 8 a.m. with lunch and the awarding of prizes set for 1:00 p.m. For more information call 409-670-0803 or visit www.shangrilasgardens.org to download a participation form.