Two Acadiana bass clubs, one of them based in New Iberia, have scheduled open bass tournament kickoffs to the 2021 season on the last weekend of February.

The 18th annual Louisiana Bass Cats Open will be held from 6:40 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 28 out of Fairfax Foster Bailey Memorial Boat Landing under the U.S. 90 bridge near Franklin. The winning two-man team will go home with $1,000.

But that event won’t be the official bass tournament season opener around here because the Sunset-based Atchafalaya Hawg Hunters’ sixth annual Legends on the Lake on Lake Fausse Pointe out of Marsh Field Boat Landing will stake that claim on the day before, Feb. 27.

For the first time in its history, the Louisiana Bass Cats Open won’t be presided over by Peter Romero of Coteau. Romero stepped aside as president and tournament director, roles that have been inherited by Mike Sinitiere of New Iberia. Most of those previous Opens were held out of Cabot Boat Landing until the site was moved a few years ago for safety reasons to the boat landing under U.S. 90.

Sinitiere is a veteran and accomplished bass club angler who has experience running big tournaments as director of the popular Wednesday Night Hawg Fights Bass Tournament Series. He’s all in on keeping the Louisiana Bass Cat Open tradition going.

“I’m looking forward to the Open. Pete’s been running it for the last 17 years. That’s some big shoes to fill and the board has a challenge,” he said.

“We’re anticipating a very good turnout. I hope all goes well. If the (Atchafalaya) Basin stays at a fishable level the fishermen will have a lot of options — the marsh (Quintana Oilfield, Bayou Sale area, etc.), the lake (Lake Fausse Pointe), the Basin, Bayou Black …”

Sinitiere said he is hopeful for a field of at least 35 boats. With its central location in Acadiana, the Open in Franklin draws from lower St. Mary Parish all the way to Lafayette.

He estimated there could be a winning weight of 18 and 20 pounds “if the Atchafalaya Basin stays fishable. They’ve already had some huge stringers.”

It took 19.41 pounds Jan. 24 to win the first Louisiana Bass Anglers tournament of the year that was held in the Atchafalaya Basin out of Myette Point Boat Landing. (See related story on this page.)

Entry fee is $100 per boat with an optional $10 big bass fee. Registration will start at 5:15 a.m. For more information on tournament rules or registration call Sinitiere at 321-1178.

Last year’s Louisiana Bass Anglers Open was won by Clint Singleton and Adam Marceaux, who topped a 34-boat field on Feb. 16 with 15.9 pounds. The Open began in a heavy rain.

Legends on the Lake is a relative newcomer to the local scene. Area bass anglers have taken to it like ducks to water.

For more information call Jarade Schexnayder at 501-3539.

Drake Menard and Chris Mouton, both of Carencro, won last year’s Legends on the Lake tournament Feb. 22 with five bass weighing 14.76 pounds. The winners also boasted the lunker bass of the tournament, a 4.37-pounder. Thirty-two boats competed in that contest, which began with temperatures hovering around 32 degrees.

The 2019 Legends on the Lake’s handsome first-place plaque, shaped like the outline of the Sportsman’s Paradise, was won by two New Iberians, Mike Sinitiere and Mike O’Brien. Their five-bass limit weighed 15.58 pounds, just ahead of a 15.44-pound catch carried to the scale by the father-and-son team of local bass anglers Troy Amy and Bo Amy. Thirty-eight boats fished that one.

Time to sharpen the hooks, get the fishing tackle in tip-top shape and go cast for cash the last weekend of February. The competitive bass fishing season is about to bust loose.

DON SHOOPMAN is outdoors editor of The Daily Iberian.

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