BERWICK — On his seventh year competing in Louisiana B.A.S.S. Nation, with three minutes to go in the fourth and last tournament of 2019, Damein Clements of Abbeville made the last of his culls, strapped down the fishing rods and trusted his Allison Ultra-High Performance Bass Boat to whisk him 60 miles to Berwick Boat Landing.
At 83 mph, with a hint of concern that he’d be able to make the round trip on 27 gallons, the Allison with a 250-h.p. Mercury Pro XS got him to the weigh-in where he topped the 49-boat field with 13.76 pounds on Sept. 28. It was redemption after the previous day’s forgettable 14th-place finish with a limit going 9.45 pounds.
Clements’ two-day total of 23.21 pounds gave him a sixth-place finish worth $381. More importantly, his showing in the season-ending tournaments left him in 11th place in the final standings but, unfortunately, out of the Top 10 as the first alternate on the Louisiana B.A.S.S. Nation State Team that will fish a regional tournament in 2020 with a chance to qualify for the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship.
B.A.S.S. Nation scores points for the best three of four tournaments. The first two tournaments were in the spring at Toledo Bend.
The 32-year-old materials handler for Drilco in Broussard was proud of his comeback a week ago Saturday.
“I feel pretty good. I wish it wasn’t a coin toss on if I was fishing (regionals) or not but everything happens for a reason,” he said at midday Friday, the day before he married Mallory Kapp.
The Franklin native said he is fortunate to be to be next man up to fish regionals in 2020, noting there “are some excellent fishermen” in Louisiana B.A.S.S. Nation. He believes there is a strong possibility one of the state team members will drop, maybe after the regional site is announced.
His performance in tournament No. 4 was prophetic. After tournament No. 3 on Friday, he wrote on his Facebook page, “Didn’t turn out the way i dreamed… but I like to dream big. 14th today. Looking for #1 tomorrow. Gonna give em hell!”
And Clements, a member of the River Rats Bass Club, did just that. He took off the next morning with co-angler Michael Guillory of Ethel and the Lake Verret Bass Club.
He had his five-bass limit before 9 a.m. on Cajun Tackle House bladed jigs and Zoom Mag Lizards, he said. Those keepers have him 11 pounds and he culled methodically down the stretch.
Clements pulled up to a point and his co-angler caught a 3.52-pounder, which was the biggest bass among the co-anglers that day.
Around noon they roared to a drain where he had done well in practice and culled until it was time to head back to Berwick.
His post-tournament Facebook post was upbeat: “Wow what a day! Went swinging this morning and it worked out. 1st place today with 13.76. 6th place overall. And made the state team as an alternate! Had no clue that I could have even been in contention after a day like I had yesterday! Dreaming big sometimes pays off!!! Thanks for all the good luck wishes and all the support from family and friends!”
Clements also thanked Ark Fishing International LLC Crank Bait Rods and Ark Lance Pro Series Rods.