MANY — With one of the “majors” in bass tournaments coming up the next day, St. Martinville duck huntin’ and bass fishin’ buddies Paul Resweber and Jim Brown were anxious to prefish April 25 at Toledo Bend.

After severe weather roared through their campground overnight at Cypress Bend Resort, they had a change of plans the day before the Toledo Bend Oilman’s Classic. They launched their boat and rode to one of Resweber’s favorite bass fishing spots at daybreak but fishing wasn’t in their heart because of the damage rendered at the campground.

“What’s ironic about it is we got up there Wednesday afternoon, Thursday morning a tornado hit. Woke everybody up,” Brown said. “Fishing wasn’t on our mind because of the situation we just left. We wanted to volunteer and help clean the campground. We ended up picking up and going back to the campground.”

“I said, ‘Let’s go back and help,’ ” Resweber said.

They spent the rest of the day assisting in cleanup around the campground. Later, they finalized plans for the first day of the two-day Toledo Bend Oilman’s Classic out of Cypress Bend Resort.

“That night, Paul says, ‘I don’t feel comfortable about the spot we went prefish this morning,’ ” Brown said, noting his bass tournament partner changed his mind on where to start.

“He said he knew another spot that we went to and basically we stayed there all day,” he said.

That was a sweet spot for Resweber, who boated a 6.27-pound bass that was the biggest the first day, and Brown. They culled to a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds and followed up the second day with another limit weighing 17.59 pounds.

Their two-day total was 37.59 pounds, more than 6 ½ pounds ahead of the runner-up team of Emeric Watson and Mark Rosteet, whose two-day total of 10 bass weighed 31.05 pounds.

Resweber and Brown topped a 108-boat field that competed April 26-27 in the tournament, a fundraiser for military veterans and organized by Chester and Gale Huval of New Iberia, TBOC president and secretary, respectively. Oilfield workers and military veterans, active or retired, are eligible to fish the annual event.

The St. Martin Parish bassers savored the winning moment in the limelight on stage that Saturday afternoon.

“We enjoyed it. They piled us up with a bunch of stuff. The rings are very nice,” Resweber said, adding they each received a Denali Custom Fishing Rod.

“It was awesome. We had a blast. I’m looking forward to fishing again this weekend,” said Brown, who will fish the Louisiana Best 6 on Saturday and Sunday with the Atchafalaya Stump Jumpers Bass Club.

Resweber and Brown were in the second flight the first day when they took the lead in the TBOC. After Resweber took his weigh-in bag full of sizeable bass, including the day’s biggest bass, to the scale, he returned to the crowd and got a pleasant surprise.

“A little guy on my side said, ‘That’s the big bass.’ I said, ‘Really?’ And he said, ‘You’re leading.’ I said, ‘Really?’ ” Resweber said as he recalled those thrilling moments.

And Resweber and Brown were ahead of the pack at the halfway point of the two-day TBOC. Their 20 pounds even was nearly 1 ½ pounds ahead of the next heaviest limit, an 18.76-pound catch by Kim Trahan and Steve Broussard.

Could they repeat with another solid limit the second day?

“That night, we didn’t talk too much about it. I felt if we could get close to what we had, put a decent weight up, we’d have a chance,” Brown said.

Their spot was a lot more crowded the second day, the start of the Texas Team State Tournament. Both said there were green/red running lights all over before sunrise at their fishin’ hole.

Within three minutes after switching artificial lures, Resweber had two bass for about 6 pounds, a 3-8 and a 2-4. Then the fish quit biting until 9 a.m., when they caught 8-10 keepers.

“We didn’t leave this time,” Resweber said, noting St. Martin Parish bassers Gordy Bourque and Lance Poche displayed sportsmanship by moving away from the area, citing the fact they the eventual winners in contention for the title.

“It was a good move for them because they caught a 5-pounder. After they left, I caught a 4 ½ and a 4-2,” he said.

Bourque and Poche also collected a paycheck after finishing 23rd with 10 bass weighing 23.63 pounds.

It also helped, Brown said, that one by one in the mid- and late-morning hours, the Texas boats vacated the premises, too. He caught their last cull fish, a 2-pound, 11-ounce, bass.

The winning pattern was in 2- to 10-foot depths targeting humps and ditches with Senkos and wacky worms, Resweber said. Grass didn’t have to be present.

The victory was special in a special tournament, he said. There was a low-key approach to the event that he appreciated, he said.

“It’s not as rowdy, not as many people” as the Louisiana Oilman’s Bass Invitational, also known as the LOBI, which Resweber and his son, Braxton, finished 27th in a 455-boat field with 10 bass for 32.28 pounds on April 5-6, or the Texas Oilman’s Bass Invitational in mid-March, better known as the TOBI. The LOBI raised $80,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The winners took it all in on the final day of the Toledo Bend Oilman’s Classic.

“It was fun. We love it at Toledo Bend,” Resweber said.

Where’d they fish?

“Some people said they saw us north. Some people said they saw us south. Let them figure it out,” he said, adding for the record they fished south of Pendleton Bridge.

“We’ve been on those fish since the Bass Cats tournament and LOBI,” he said.

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