VERDUNVILLE — Zach Suit, one of several up-and-coming young bass anglers in the Teche Area, stepped out of his father and brother’s shadow Sept. 13 despite a razor-thin finish that didn’t go his way in a Louisiana Bass Cats tournament in the Atchafalaya Basin.
The 25-year-old New Iberia bass angler and recent University of Louisiana at Lafayette graduate took the narrow setback in stride because the second-place finish bumped him into the lead for Angler of the Year. It’s a safe bet Suit or his older brother will wear the crown after the eighth and last tournament of 2020.
“I wasn’t worried about it (AOY race) all year. I was just trying to go out and have a good time,” Suit said. “To be honest with you, I didn’t even know I took the lead. I wasn’t too worried about it.”
Now that he’s atop the point standings, Zach Suit likes the view.
“It feels pretty good now. Now that I realize I’m in the lead, it feels good. My goal is to win it all,” he said.
Suit and Michael Sinitiere of New Iberia finished a fraction of an ounce behind the winning team in the bass club’s seventh tournament, one held out of Verdunville Boat Landing. Junius “Nonkie” Dore of Coteau and Randal “Rooster” Savoy of Catahoula checked in with five bass at 12.96 pounds while Suit and Sinitiere had 12.94.
“That was a couple of drops of water, that’s for sure,” Dore said about the margin of victory. “I figured it’d be close, one way or another. It was almost too close.”
The 63-year-old construction worker said Sinitiere’s boat weighed in first.
“They had one almost 4 pounds (Sinitiere’s 3.46-pounder). I knew we had four fish close to 3 pounds and one smaller,” Dore said.
The winners caught most of their bass on 1/4-ounce chartreuse/blue/white Humdinger spinnerbaits around deadfalls and shady areas near Bayou Boutte.
“We had a pretty good day. It was hot but we had quite a few bites. We ended up catching probably 20 fish, a lot of small fish, but we ended up catching good ones in between,” he said.
Suit’s older brother and best man, Ben Suit, who is trying to win his third straight AOY in the Louisiana Bass Cats, moved into second place with 1,388 points, just four points behind his younger brother’s 1,392. Their father, Kevin Suit, slipped into third place with 1,349.
Ben Suit was third in the recent tournament after fishing with Dennis Worsham. Their limit weighed 12.43 pounds. Kevin Suit, who fished with Max Stevens, was fifth with 9.78 pounds.
The ultimate showdown for bass club and family bragging rights comes Oct. 11-12 when the Louisiana Bass Cats fish at Lake Sam Rayburn.
Zach Suit will fish again with Sinitiere at Lake Sam Rayburn. Meanwhile, Kevin Suit and Ben Suit will fish together. That’s the way it’s been planned for many months.
“A 4-point lead is practically nothing, especially at Rayburn, and especially fishing against both of them (Kevin Suit and Ben Suit) together. It’s pretty exciting. It’s always fun to fish to fish. I get a buzz going against my brother, a little extra motivation. If I don’t win (AOY title) I’ll hear from him,” he said with a chuckle.
He believes he can rise to the challenge and take home AOY, but …
“Oh, yeah, I’m always confident I can win. It’s not going to be easy. Dad’s got a lot more experience and my brother’s a good fisherman. It ain’t going to be easy,” he said.
Kevin Suit said early this past week he wasn’t going to change tournament partners in an attempt to win an AOY title for the first time since the 1980s when he consistently was one of the best anglers in the old Basin Boys Bass Club. He is hopeful the hard-fishing Suits can finish 1-2-3. Earlier this year while he was in first place, he said his goal was for all three family members to qualify for the Top Six.