You won’t have to rush during the next few weeks to get ready to fish the Big Bass Classic, one of the oldest and most unique tournaments here in the heart of Cajun Country.
Tee Roy Savoy of Coteau Holmes — who was involved with the BBC long before becoming the director in January 2015 after the sudden death of the BBC’s founder, the late Elvis “Top Rod” Jeanminette, on Jan. 12, 2015 — has decided against a February or March date for 2021. He has settled on putting it on in April.
Savoy said he was hopeful of getting it in early but also wanted to avoid a conflict with two scheduled bass club tournaments in February, particularly on Feb. 28, which is the day the New Iberia-based Louisiana Bass Cats set last fall for the Louisiana Bass Cats Open. A Centerville-based Louisiana Bass Anglers event is scheduled for Feb. 21, according to Savoy.
He has yet to decide on a date in April for the Big Bass Classic, which pays $500 per hour ($250, $150 and $100) for the heaviest three bass each hour of the eight-hour long contest held each spring at Lake Fausse Pointe out of Marsh Field Boat Landing. He’s going to check other bass club dates and that of Oilman’s tournaments at Toledo Bend.
“I’ll try to find a crack (in the schedule) and see if I can make it,” Savoy said early Thursday afternoon, the day after he and his wife, Jackie Chatagnier Savoy, returned from her appointment at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
Also, he said, “It’ll let us see what the COVID(-19) thing will do, too. I sure as hell don’t want to get it again.”
Savoy was hospitalized seven days after he tested positive Oct. 7. He thinks he might have had it over a five-day period following the 2020 Big Bass Classic held Feb. 29.
Apparently there are more pluses than minuses in a later date for this year’s BBC, a popular fundraising tournament that attracts bass anglers in and around the Teche Area. First and foremost, the personable outdoorsman said, is the hope that more entry forms can be completed and returned before that magical date in April. Also, Savoy believes there will be less pressure on bedding bass trying to spawn in February or March.
“I mean, it’s just, like, it’d be nice once if we get forms in early,” he said.
Savoy also has yet to decide if it will be held on a Saturday or Sunday. He may be leaning more to a Saturday because, he said, typically more volunteer help is available for registration and other duties around the weigh-in station under the pavilion and tents set up at Marsh Field Boat Landing.
“I get more help on Saturdays,” he said from experience.
He also has yet to determine what format he will choose for the BBC in April. It might be the old tried and proven (and very likably) format put in place a few decades ago by Jeanminette. Or it might be the Revamped Big Bass Classic format he tried out on the area’s bass anglers for May 27. In addition to the top three big bass each hour payout, he included a unique five-bass stringer concept that went over well.
Entry fee for the BBC has been $100 per boat. Entry fee last year for the inaugural Revamped BBC was $150 per boat.
“We might do that,” Savoy said about the second option, noting he really welcomes input on the two choices.
He noted the second tournament last year “didn’t take away from that part of it (three big bass per hour).”
That Savoy is even considering another run as director of the fundraiser, which has had the Lydia Cancer Association as its main benefactor since its inception (there have been many other recipients, is heart-warming and inspiring. His wife was diagnosed with cancer in December 2016 and has undergone numerous surgeries and chemotherapy/radiation treatments since.
Last week the Savoys made another return trip to Houston. As he wrote in a Facebook post at 12:52 p.m. Wednesday: “Thanks to everyone for your continued prayers. Not quite the results we wanted but all in all a decent trip. Some growth on the kidney and liver but will immediately add immunotherapy to her chemo therapy to try and stabilize the growth.”
Savoy hasn’t abandoned the BBC. Hopefully, area bass anglers won’t either. Get ready to fish it in April.
DON SHOOPMAN is outdoors editor of The Daily Iberian.