LOREAUVILLE — When Colby Hebert wanted to get momentum going his way at crunch time, he went to his go-to bait and it delivered on a hot, muggy Wednesday evening in Sandy Cove.
A 5.03-pound bass inhaled the June bug Senko, a sure sign the 23-year-old bass angler chose the right artificial lure around 6:30 p.m.. Then it was a challenge to get it from the underwater vegetation into the boat and eventually into the livewell.
“I couldn’t get a bite on anything else. I picked up the Senko, my go-to bait when things are tough, and I finally caught a keeper. On my next cast, I ended up catching our smallest keeper (of the three-bass limit taken to the scale). I said, ‘They must have a couple fish right there. That fish took off like it was trying to get away from another fish,’” Hebert said, remembering the conversation with his Wednesday Night Hawg Fights Bass Tournament partner and father, Marlin Hebert of New Iberia.
Apparently, there was another bass there, a true “hawg” that made the difference at the 8:15 p.m. weigh-in back at Marsh Field Boat Landing.
“I never seen him hit it. She swam off real fast. As soon as I set the hook, that fish boiled the water. We said, ‘Ooh, that’s a good one. That’s him!’ I couldn’t tell how good he was. I just saw the boil. I picked the poles (Power Poles) up as soon as fast as I could,” Colby Hebert said.
The battle was on, big bass against a spinning rod loaded with 20-pound Power Pro braid and 17-pound Stren fluorocarbon leader held by the 2014 graduate of New Iberia Senior High. He stepped on the trolling motor right away, too, and headed to the hydrilla and lily pads the bass sought refuge in.
But, he said, the bass turned and ran.
“When it saw the boat, it started peeling line out, 5 feet of line. I had 9, 10 pounds of grass on the leader and line (and the bass),” he said. “He was about to take off again but made a beeline headfirst into the net.”
“When he set the hook, I heard the drag rip. When I turned to look to the front, I saw a big ol’ swirl. I got the net and ran to the front. She got caught in the grass. When I trolling motor to her, she came out and in the net,” Marlin Hebert said.
“After dad put him in the net, I said, ‘That’s it now. We are fun fishing now,’ ” Colby Hebert said. “Right then and there, we had it won. If somebody (else) was going to win it, they deserved it.”
His father recalled the ensuing series of events, one witnessed by a nearby boat and competitors, he said, Tony and Hunter Neuville of Loreauville.
“I started dancing in the boat and high-fiving,” Marlin Hebert said.
Later, he said with a chuckle, noting a conversation at the weigh-in, “The guy on the side of us, about 10 yards away, he says, ‘Man, the only thing about that (big bass being caught and subsequent victory dance by the 51-year-old installation manager for Butcher Air Conditioning) was we had to sit and watch.’ ”
That was a heckuva kicker on another tough late afternoon of bassin’ on Lake Fausse Pointe. Their three bass weighed 10 pounds, easily enough to top the 18-boat field in the 10th WN Hawg Fights BTS tournament of 2019 and win $360.
The big bass of the tournament earned another $180. Without it, both bass anglers said, the win wasn’t possible.
Jacob Shoopman and his father, Don Shoopman, both of New Iberia, who won the previous WN Hawg Fights BTS outing out of Marsh Field Boat Landing on July 24, finished second with three bass weighing 8.31 pounds to win $216. For the second straight tournament the younger Shoopman had a 3-pound plus bass on a Superbait buzz bait.
Mike Sinitiere of New Iberia and Brooke Morrison of Broussard, who won the 2018 WN Hawg Fights BTS Classic out of Myette Point Landing in the Atchafalaya Basin, cashed in for the first time this year with a three-bass limit weighing 6.14 pounds worth $144.
The Heberts enjoyed the post-weigh-in moments immensely. They basked in the victory and the response from the other anglers.
“Yeah, that was a big win. We’re excited, for sure. I mean, 18 boats. That’s a lot of good fishermen out there. It’s always great when you come out on top, especially when you’re competing against the best of the best,” Marlin Hebert said. “What I like, strangers we’ve seen but never met before, coming up and congratulating us. It means there’s a lot of good sportsmanship amongst everybody. Everybody was excited about the fish that came through the scales. Everybody was pumped up and watching.”
Colby Hebert, an HVAC technician for Living Quarters Technology, said, “I know that means a lot to him. I’ve been fishing since I was 2 years old with a little Zebco 33 in the back of the boat and trying not to fall out. Now we’re fishing against all these great fishermen. It makes it exciting.”