Khamphilavong, crew look to wrap up AOY in season finale

SFA president Gerrit ‘T-Blu’ Landry, right, shown measuring a redfish caught by Eddie Toups in the second tournament, and other SFA members will compete in the fourth and final SFA contest on Saturday at Cypremort Point. The Angler(s) of the Year race will be decided in the tale at the scale.

CYPREMORT POINT — Improved water conditions, at least for a while, could greet Southcentral Fishing Association members when they fish the fourth and final SFA regular-season tournament Saturday out of Quintana Canal Boat Landing.

Keo Khamphilavong, Randy Migues and Craig Landry, all of New Iberia, are rarin’ to go and, hopefully, catch two good ”slot” redfish to put an exclamation point on a red-hot season. Back-to-back tournament wins have put the 22-foot Blazer’s crew in position to clinch the coveted Angler(s) of the Year title for 2019.

“Well, yeah, we’ve got a good shot at it,” Khamphilavong said Friday morning.

The veteran saltwater fisherman is enjoying the ride so far.

“Oh, it feels good. Let me tell you, this tournament’s tough. You would think with local fishermen … well, they ain’t no pushover,” he said.

Minutes after winning the third tournament with two beautiful “slot” redfish weighing 16.05 pounds on May 25, Khamphilavong said, “We had a good trip overall. Hopefully, we can do it again this one coming up. Hopefully, we place in the next one and we’ll be in good shape.”

Some of the Teche Area’s best redfish fishermen will have something to say about that when the fourth and final regular-season tournament gets underway at 6 a.m. Saturday and brings everybody together for a 3 p.m. weigh-in under the pavilion along Quintana Canal.

The nearest challengers are Erron Derouen of Rynella and Mark Comeaux of New Iberia, who won the first tournament of the year and go into the finale with 560 points, just 20 points behind Khamphilavong, Landry and Migues. Comeaux, however, has a previous commitment and will miss the next tournament.

“He’s the closest one to us. He can catch us. I think he has to come out first to catch us,” Khamphilavong said about Derouen.

Just 30 points behind the frontrunners are SFA president Gerrit “T-Blu” Landry of Patouville and Tooky Lasseigne and Brad Derise, both of Lydia. Their boat has amassed 550 points through the first three tournaments and finished second in the third contest with two redfish weighing 15.35 pounds.

Nearly a week of northerly and west winds helped water clarity around Marsh Island from the east end to Tee Butte, Khamphilavong said. It also encouraged “a lot of bait — mullets and shad — to show up like they’re supposed to this time of year,” he said.

“As long as the bait stays, fish are going to stay no matter what the water does,” he said.

He believes the Atchafalaya River is leveling off and will start to fall, which means water conditions would improve with each drop. The Atchafalaya River stage at Butte La Rose has hovered around minor flood stage for weeks. The freshwater discharge at the mouth of the Atchafalaya River and Wax Lake Outlet, also known as the Calumet Cut, has kept Vermilion Bay fresh and turbid.

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