Talkiin' Outdoors

Deer hunters usually have no qualms about shelling out the cash to join a hunting club. In so doing, they have access to pressure-free hunting. However, you don’t just pay your annual fee and start hunting; there are food plots to build, plant and maintain, shooting lanes and trails to trim and stands to erect.

If your interest lies more in fishing, do you want a private spot, as you have in your deer lease, to offer top quality fishing? You can do that, if you have a large enough bank account. Instead of building your own fishing spot, what about considering paying for a lease in a private fishing club? In the long run, it’s a whole lot cheaper, says Chris Broussard, owner of just such a facility.

While in Lafayette last week attending the annual conference of the Louisiana Outdoor Writer’s Association, one of the field trips was to Broussard’s Shepherd Sportfish, a private fishing club featuring a group of a dozen ponds or lakes designed for bank fishing. In addition, a world class 16 acre lake is also on the property, offering boat anglers the opportunity to sample some of the finest bass, bream and crappie fishing available in the state.

“Some may wonder why anyone would pay to belong to a private fishing club rather than construct their own fish pond,” said Broussard. “For starters, you may pay upwards of $30,000 for the type of property needed to construct a pond. Then you’ll spend that much again to have the pond actually constructed.

“Once you have your pond flooded and stocked, your work has just begun. You have to keep your water at the correct level, you have to feed your fish, control aquatic vegetation and a myriad other things. Another consideration is after a few hours of fishing, you have to work on the upkeep your pond; you can’t just walk away,” he added.

For the past 25 years, Broussard has offered a top-notch fishing club near Maurice just out from Lafayette where club members can come out, bring their youngsters and just about be assured of catching lots of quality bass, bream and crappie.

“We generally stock native largemouth bass rather than the Florida strain which can become ‘hook-shy’ fairly easily; we want our members to be able to catch fish. Our bass are up to 10 pounds each and we have some of the giant Florida hybrid bream with some going over 3 pounds each.

“Some of our ponds are designed for kids where catchability is real high. We’re competing with the computer games and such where kids are interested in activities that are fast-paced. If our fishing wasn’t on that same level, youngsters would lose interest but if they’re catching big fish one after another, they love it,” Broussard added.

“One of our catch and release ponds is for the average bass angler who just wants to catch bass. He’s watched fishing shows on TV where professional anglers are catching bass hand over fist and he wants to experience some of that. On this pond, they can catch bass until they get tired.”

In addition to hosting a private fishing club, Broussard is also in the business of selling fish to pond owners around the state.

“We only sell fish from our hatchery to pond owners within the state. This insures that the fish they purchase to introduce to their ponds will be fresh and lively because we can get them there quickly,” he added.

For more information on the advantages of becoming a private fishing club member or considering the purchase of Louisiana-grown fish for restocking, and check out what Shepherd Sportfish has to offer.