FRANKLIN — Surpassing the 1,000-point plateau usually means an Angler of the Year title in the Coteau Bass Hustlers.
Until 2019. The AOY finished with 1,054 points but needed every one to finish ahead of the runner-up, who checked in with 1,015 after both bass club members fished the 12th and last tournament of the year here on Nov. 2 out of Fairfax Foster Bailey Memorial Boat Launch.
Marlin Hebert of New Iberia, winning his third AOY since 2015 and 2017, had enough of a cushion going into the regular-season finale to hold off Jason Jones of New Iberia, 1,054 to 1,015. However, it was more nerve-wracking than the champion wanted it to be.
“This year it was pretty tight between first and second. I can’t remember the last time first place and second place were both over 1,000 points. Usually, only first place has over 1,000,” Hebert said.
All he had to do to claim AOY was avoid finishing last in the seven-boat field that fished on a cold morning. Until lunch time, the scenario he wanted to avoid was staring him in the face … nary a keeper bass in the livewell.
“Oh, yeah, I was nervous, like, oh, man, this can’t happen again,” he said.
The 51-year-old bass angler finally clinched the title midway through the tournament he fished with a guest, long-time friend Mike Bourque of New Iberia. They had fished together in the last one last year.
Hebert and Bourque regrouped and came in with four keeper bass, one short of the limit, to finish third with 6.60 pounds. Jones, meanwhile, who fished with 2018 AOY champion Blaine Miller, had three bass for 4.12 pounds and a fourth-place finish.
“We said a few prayers and the Lord blessed us with four fish,” Hebert said.
The cold morning started bad as far as putting bass in the boat. They went to a favorite drain in the Quintana Canal area, didn’t get a bite for 30 minutes, so ran to the Bayou Sale area, where they also were biteless through midday. It was getting real, real serious.
“Then we ran back to Quintana and managed to scrounge up four keepers, which put me in third place. The only thing … I couldn’t come out last. I come out last place and Jason Jones passes me up,” he said.
They returned to the same drain they targeted first thing that morning and Bourque caught a 2-pound, 6-ounce bass. Then, again, no more bites. So they ran to another drain in the area and boated two keeper bass, then went back to the original drain and added another keeper to the livewell with 30 minutes to spare before weigh-in.
Their four bass were caught on Senkos and Speed Craws.
Hebert passed up Jones in the bass club’s previous two tournaments held on back-to-back days Oct. 18-19 at Toledo Bend/Lake Sam Rayburn. Going into those tournaments, he was in second place behind Jones.
Hebert and his son, Colby Hebert of Loreauville, won the first day and finished third the second day to give him 969 points, just ahead of Jones’ 935.
“We leapfrogged him there,” Hebert said, using the editorial “we.”
“We had a choice, stay (fish) at Toledo Bend or go to Rayburn. It’s all about decisions. We decided to focus all of our time at Rayburn because the water was low at Toledo. We made a good decision. It paid off,” he said. “It’s all about decisions. Normally, if you go with you heard and gut instinct you’ll be right the first time.”
And, he said, “It’s all about the new boat, baby! The new boat gave me a lot of luck. It must be the new boat.”
Hebert, his son and other tournament partners rode in his 2019 Nitro 219 with a 200 Mercury ProXS, he said.
He enjoyed the season immensely.
“I want to thank all the guys in our club who fished hard all year and I want to thank them for their donations haha,” Hebert said with a belly laugh.
A minute or so later, he said, still laughing, “OK, I’m stirring up the pot, maybe.”
He also tendered a thank you to Miller, the AOY from 2018.
“It’s a really good feeling. I want to thank him for passing on the No. 1 plaque to me. I accepted it with a lot of honor,” Hebert said.
Doyle Louviere and his guest won the 12th tournament out of Fairfax Foster Bailey Memorial Boat Landing. He had a five-fish limit for 8.60 pounds, including the day’s biggest bass, a 3.10-ounce bass.
Keith Altazin and his guest finished second with a limit that tipped the scale to 7.91 pounds.
COTEAU BASS HUSTLERS
Nov. 2 at Franklin Canal
1, (*) Doyle Louviere-Guest (5), 8.60. 2, Keith Altazin-Guest (5), 7.91. 3, Marlin Hebert-Guest (4), 6.60. 4, Jason Jones-Blaine Miller (3), 4.12. 5, Todd Trahan (1), 1.95. 6, Steve Doumit-Guest (1), 1.06.
(*) Tournament’s lunker bass, 3.10.
COTEAU BASS HUSTLERS
2019 FINAL POINT STANDINGS
1, Marlin Hebert, 1,054. 2, Jason Jones, 1,015. 3, Brandon Sellers, 993. 4, Joey Trahan, 914. 5, Keith Altazin, 902. 6, Steve Doumit, 888. 7, Doyle Louviere, 800, 722. 8, Dustin Dore, 727. 9, Tim Sturm, 721. 10, Blaine Miller, 665. 11, Todd Trahan, 634. 12, Robbie Mayer, 573. 13, Jacob Chatagnier, 480. 14, Ralph Leleux, 464. 15, Johnny Schexnayder, 436. 16, Colby Hebert, 380. 17, Gerald Frederick, 350. 18, Paul Trahan, 346. 19, Ramon Ladner, 291. 20, Irvinn Guillote, 280. 21, Bryce Louviere, 233. 22, Damon Bowers, 142. 23, Charles Jefferson, 80. 23, B.J. Maturin, 67.