LOREAUVILLE — Game plans are important to winning, an avid competitive bass angler and local high school soccer coach knows all too well.
Jacob Shoopman stuck to his game plan, even though he was unable to fish his preferred spot, and it paid off Wednesday night at Lake Fausse Pointe. Shoopman and his father, local outdoors writer Don Shoopman, both of New Iberia, topped a 21-boat field on a tough, tough Lake Fausse Pointe to take home the first-place and big bass prize money in the Wednesday Night Hawg Fights Bass Tournament Series.
“It feels good to win. It’s a tough thing to do against the best fishermen from around here,” Jacob said after collecting $420 for first place with a three-fish limit weighing 6.02 pounds.
The Shoopmans, enjoying their first win since capturing the Hawg Fight Angler(s) of the Year title in 2015, were challenged by runners-up Phil Ransonet and Deven Ransonet, whose limit weighed 5.86 pounds for $252, and veterans Kevin Suit of New Iberia and Ronnie Dressel of Loreauville, whose three bass weighed 5.20 pounds worth $168.
The lake was high, unseasonably high, for the ninth WN Hawg Fights BTS following the passage 1 ½ weeks earlier of Tropical Storm Barry. And many of the lake’s waterways were stinking with bad water to the point there was a fish kill in the back of Texaco Field 77.
Jacob, 31, a merchandiser for Coca-Cola United and assistant girls soccer coach at Catholic High School, said the key to winning under adverse conditions was “just sticking with the game plan and eventually hooking up with a good one.”
“I knew we had a little stretch where we had decent water. We couldn’t fish the area we really wanted. We just had to make a minor adjustment and stick with the game plan,” he said.
That “good one” was a 3.11-pounder that bit on a Superbait buzz bait about 7:50 p.m., 20 minutes before they had to leave for the 8:30 p.m. weigh-in at Marsh Field Boat Landing. It culled out their first keeper-sized bass, one caught by his partner on a Superbait buzz bait 10 minutes after they started fishing.
Then Jacob caught a keeper on a Ribbit. And his dad went old school soon after to catch their second-biggest bass of the evening on an old Rumba spoon with a chartreuse skirt and white plastic trailer. After that, they couldn’t put a bass in the boat for a long time before their biggest one bit.
“We had three good bites before that that missed. It was just trying to stay confident that one eventually would hook up. I picked up my confidence bait and kept throwing,” Jacob said.
That 3.11-pounder, worth $210, smashed that homemade chartreuse/white buzz bait made by his uncle, Bill Shoopman of Kansas City, Missouri, he said. He didn’t see the hit but heard it, he said, because he was looking for the next place to cast.
He had a good hookset and reeled it from about 15 yards in front of the boat, a little to the left, to the right side and a waiting landing net. He was hoping against hope it wouldn’t jump and it didn’t.
The personable young bass fisherman said he believed they still didn’t have enough to win, “not with the size of fish that were coming from Sandy Cove. I guess the high skies and number of boats (15) in Sandy Cove messed ’em up and we were able to take advantage of it.”
The next WN Hawg Fights BTS is scheduled to be held at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 7 out of Marsh Field Boat Landing at Lake Fausse Pointe. The $60 entry fee per boat must be paid before 1 p.m. that day at Cajun Guns and Tackle in New Iberia.
There are two tournaments left in the regular-season. The WN Hawg Fights BTS Classic is scheduled to be held Sept. 8 at a site to be named later, according to tournament director Mike Sinitiere of New Iberia.
To qualify for the Classic, anglers must fish six regular-season tournaments.