Something smells fishy here

Father and son fishing in the 2016 Felsenthal Breamfest tournament

The father flicks a fresh cricket toward an unsuspecting bream as his son watches his bobber looking for the telltale signs of ‘bite’ as they fish in the 2016 Felsenthal Breamfest fishing tournament.

One of the rites of spring in LA is bream fishing, aka perch in some parts of the county, but down here it’s mostly bream. You’ll also hear “bluegill,” “red-ear,” and from some Alabama transplants, “shell-crackers.” Whatever the moniker, the scrappy little critter thwacks out one of the best fight-per-ounce ratios in all of fishing. If one gets up close to a pound, it’s close to a record. They also come out of the frying pan with a fine taste.

Angler fishing in the 20167 Felsenthal Bream Tournament

An angler and competitor in the 2016 Felsenthal Breamfest tournament is looking for just the right place to ‘put it on the plate’ for a his next, or perhaps first catch.

Link to corndancer dot com

Click the picture to see more breamfest pix at Corndancer dot com

The tiny town of Felsenthal, Arkansas, waaaay down in LA, not far from the Lousiana line is the site of the Felsenthal Breamfest, perhaps the only fishing tournament which targets the feisty little fish. See more of this tournament on the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot-com, our sister web publication.

They love the protection of underwater “structure” so it is necessary to place one’s boat in and among the trees, stumps and weeds that make up the aquatic boondocks of a given body or water when seeking bream. As a result the catches of limbs, twigs, leaves and other peoples lines comes close to equaling the catch of fish. #%*!*#!

Angler fishing in brush in the Felsenthal Breamfest fishing tournament

The high water following a string of spring storms put boats in the upper level of shrubs which would under normal circumstances be high and dry.

Festivities unofficially start on a Friday afternoon and by launch time the next morning, the population of Felsenthal will have tripled. There’s a government campground nearby which accounts for most of the overflow. Launch time is at daylight or so and by noon, it’s all over but the weigh-in. By 1:00 p.m., the catch is headed for grease and happy eaters — because in addition to their scrappiness, they have a great taste. As the good ol’ boys say,  “Thim li’l boogers eat good!”

Woman landing a fish

This woman appears to be landing more fish than her husband, but the Alabama couple seems to be happy with fish in the boat with no concerns about score-keeping.

Anglers fishing in bream tournament

If there is ever an Olympic event for synchronized bream fishing, these guys would be a shoo-in.

Anglers at the 2016 Felsenthal Breamfest fishing tournament.

This couple is ‘sho-nuff’ fishing in the sticks. Notice the direction of the boat, they’re leaving the sticks.

Angler weighing in at the 2016 Felsenthal Breamfest.

A tournament competitor prepares to have his catch weighed. Though he was out of the money, he is happy because supper is going to be a ‘nice mess of bream’ with onions, slaw, hushpuppies, sweet tea — and if fortune smiles, peach cobbler for dessert.

There you have it. You’ve made a swing through a bream fishing tournament without burning a drop of gas. Of course, my pickup burned about a tank-an-a-half to get the shots. Such is the price of a higher calling to serve my fellow citizens of Mother Earth.

Thanks for looking,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind


Just in case you want to take closer look at Felsenthal, here it is:



%d bloggers like this: