CYPREMORT POINT — There was one way for Rynella redfish fisherman Erron Derouen to rally and win Angler of the Year in the Southcentral Fishing Association’s fourth and final tournament of 2019. In the immortal words of the late Al Davis, Oakland Raiders coach and owner and NFL legend, “Just win, baby!”
Without a first-place finish on June 22, Derouen had no chance to overtake Keo Khamphilavong, Craig Landry and Randy Migues. With a win, the rest was up to fate and however those three anglers placed in the 16-boat field that showed up at Quintana Canal Boat Landing. The 39-year-old outdoorsman, who fished the majority of the season with Mark Comeaux of New Iberia, did his part and won while fishing with two new crew members. Derouen and his crew’s two choice “slot” redfish (16 to 27 inches) that hit the scale weighed 15.35 pounds on a day when half the field struggled to put one nice “slot” redfish in the boat.
Khamphilavong, Landry and Migues finished fifth in the regular-season finale with two redfish weighing 11.85 pounds. With points amassed from his top three finishes in the four tournaments, Derouen had two firsts and a second for a total of 590 points. Khamphilavong, Landry and Migues, after dropping their worst showing, finished with 580 points.
Derouen, who won the very first AOY title in the SFA, was proud so many years later to win another AOY.
“I mean, it felt good. I’ve been trying for a while now. It feels good to get over the hump. We did good this year,” said the owner of E.J. Easy Shop in Rynella and Snack-N-Go in New Iberia.
The 2019 AOY genuinely felt for Khamphilavong, Landry and Migues, who had back-to-back wins on April 27 and on May 25 — leading up to June 22. Going into the regular-season finale, the three-man crew from New Iberia had 580 points, 20 points ahead of Derouen and Comeaux.
“I’ve definitely been on the other end. I do feel for him. It’s tough having it in the pocket and there’s one way to lose ... It’s just luck. Fishing’s a lot of luck involved to go catch the right ones at the right time,” Derouen said.
Khamphilavong, the runner-up crew’s skipper, took the setback in stride and said, “You know what, it’s part of the deal (competitive fishing).”
About Derouen, he said, “He’s a good fisherman, you know. We knew if anybody could do it, it would be him. I mean, it was tough for everybody. It was a tough day.
“He said he caught about 10 fish around 9 a.m. and that was it. He was in the right place at the right time. I’m surprised we couldn’t find where the fish were at in all the places we fish. The bait was there. We found bait all day. It’s just the redfish weren’t there.
“We can’t complain. We had a heckuva year. We have one more opportunity left.”
Khamphilavong and his hard-fishing crew almost got the title by default. Derouen almost chose not to fish the finale.
“Well, I mean, I really was undecided about fishing this weekend. We’re moving into a new house. We had all that going on and my daughter was playing softball in Eunice,” Derouen said a few hours after the 3 p.m. weigh-in as he drove to Eunice.
Knowing Comeaux was out of the lineup, Derouen enlisted his cousin, Jarrod Derouen, and saltwater fishing veteran Malcolm Migues to fish with him a week ago Saturday.
“It ended up paying off. We didn’t catch a bunch but it was enough,” he said. A flurry of action lasting 10 or so minutes was the key to winning the day. Flurry? More like a feeding frenzy.
“The corks wouldn’t stay (floating) long. They (redfish) were hitting everything, the cork, too. Luckily, we caught the right-sized ones. We needed it. It worked out good. After that, we caught one or two,” Erron Derouen said.
Half of the redfish were caught on shrimp and the other half on mullet. The first of the two redfish that hit the scale was caught on shrimp by Derouen, then a few minutes later the other one was reeled in after inhaling a mullet offered by Migues.
“Well, you could say we were in Marsh Island,” Derouen said, aware that the SFA Classic is scheduled to be held July 20. “Hopefully, we can do all right in the Classic.”
Derouen was disappointed his tournament partner for the first three outings was unable to be fish and be on hand for the triumphant finish. Comeaux had a previous commitment and was in Grand Isle. “Yeah, I miss my ol’ buddy. I tried to call him. He doesn’t even know I won,” he said on his way to Eunice.
It was a complete team effort for the two anglers in the first three tournaments, Derouen said.
“We each pulled our own weight. We each caught fish. We got lucky,” he said. “
Luckily, we scouted before the first tournament and found fish stacked. We found good fish at the beginning of the year and stayed on them.”
Derouen and Comeaux also didn’t remove those good “slot” redfish from the hotspot during tournaments and take them away, he said. They caught and released several 26-inch redfish.
“We kind of kept the fish in there and they kind of grew and were still there when we needed,” Derouen said.
FInishing second in the June 22 tournament was the crew of Quentin Comeaux, Keith Delahoussaye and Ryan Landry, whose two redfish weighed 14.85 pounds.
Matt Landry and Bryant Landry finished third with two redfish weighing 14.65 pounds.
Blaze Delcambre, Shane Doucet and Jacob Comeaux were fourth with 12.05 pounds.
The perfect "slot" redfish of the day, the Calcutta winner, came off the boat of skipper Gerrit "T-Blu" Landry, Tooky Lasseigne, Brady Derise and Lane Savoy. It weighed 8.10 pounds.
SFA FINAL STANDINGS
1, Erron Derouen, 590. 2, Keo Khamphilavong, Craig Landry and Randy Migues, 580. 5, Mark Comeaux, 560. 6, Keith Delahoussaye, Quentin Comeaux, Brady Derise, Gerrit “T-Blu” Landry and Tooky Lasseigne, 554. 11, Charles Oubre and Mark Patout, 541. 13, Joshua St. Germain and Brandy St. Germain, 533. 15, Brooks Amy, Hayden Amy, Perry Scot and Jacob Fisher, 529. 19, Blaze Delcambre, Shane Doucet and Jacob Comeaux, 528. 22, Larry Comeaux and Heith St. Germain, 521. 24, Bobby Muffoletto, 519. 25, Heath Spiker, Liam Spiker and Ryan Gaspard, 463.