CYPREMORT POINT — A Lydia charter boat captain followed in his parents’ footsteps to win the Inside Division’s Boat Captain’s Award and the Best All-Around Fisherman title Sunday at the 68th annual Iberia Rod & Gun Club Saltwater Fishing Rodeo.
Meanwhile, a New Iberia fisherman who won a Best All-Around Fisherman title in 1992 and again in 1996 in the Junior Division, savored a hard-earned Best All-Around Fisherman title this weekend in the Offshore Division. He did it with the help of good ol’ macaroni noodles.
Those victories were two of the highlights as the popular fishing rodeo returned to normal, like much of the rest of the country following a little more than a year of coronavirus pandemic concerns and restrictions and economic hardships. Inclement weather conditions the first two days, however, tried the heart and soul of Acadiana outdoorsmen who flocked to Cypremort Point.
Drew Romero of Lydia took advantage of his knowledge in and around Vermilion Bay to notch a come-from-behind effort that resulted in a rare double in the Inside Division. The Smokin’ Reels skipper racked up an astronomical 1,022 points to win the individual title and, along with his father, Brian Romero, and Patrick Miguez, boasted the top boat with 1,114 points.
“It feels pretty good. This is my first time (title) ever,” Romero said after spending the holiday weekend on the water in his 23-foot long Ranger.
Romero’s father and mother, Jeamie, made fishing rodeo history in 2016. They were co-captains when they won the Boat Captain’s Award in their boat in 2016 and 2017, according to the fishing rodeo’s brochure. Jeamie also was the Inside Division’s Best All-Around Fisher(wo)man in 2016 and 2018.
“Him (Drew Romero) getting it, that’s exciting. He’s been chartering every year, so I was excited when he said he was going to fish it (fishing rodeo). I’m excited any time one of my kids or grandchildren win,” Jeamie said.
Her son had an uphill battle to claim the individual title. Romero trailed Blaise Segura after the first two days, Friday and Saturday, but stayed on the water, where he focused on finding the “prettiest water” available.
He finished with first- and third-place slot redfish (6.03 pounds and 4.2 pounds), second- and third-place croaker (.97 and .90 pounds) and a second-place sheepshead (4.02 pounds). Most of the action, he said, was around South Point, where he relied on Matrix soft plastics under Four Horsemen Popping Corks to put fish in the boat.
Segura was runner-up in the individual race with 949 points on first-place speckled trout (3.20 pounds) and second- and third-place white trout (0.47 and 0.44 pounds). Charles Latham, who fished aboard Bon Temps, skippered by Lynn “The Bear” Hebert, was third with 548 points.
Following Smokin’ Reels in the Inside Division’s Boat Captain’s Award race were Bon Temps with 1,107 points, and Fish Karma, captained by Brooks Amy, with 352 points.
David Detwiler, who rode offshore into heavy rains Saturday on the Breaking Point, a 32-foot Regulator skippered by Will Cenac, returned to his winning ways in the mid-summer fishing rodeo, albeit 25 years since he was the Junior Division’s Best All-Around Fisherman. He cut his teeth, so to speak, and learned how to fish offshore as a young man with the late Alfred Hitter.
He led the Breaking Point’s crew of Dr. Andre Cenac, Christopher Collins and Cenac’s son, Will. The Breaking Point unloaded its catch in the last hour or so before the scales closed at 1 p.m. and when the weighing was done he had three first-place fish – a 2.1-pound bonita, a 9.7-pound mangrove snapper and a 45.6-pound lemonfish, which he caught on his first cat of the trip.
Detwiler’s 9 points were more than enough to turn back Jonathan Foreman on the Aorta B Fishing, who had 6.8 points, and Pat Savoy on the Outlaw and Breaking Point crewmate Chris Collins, who tied for third with 6 points.
Led by the personable Detwiler, Breaking Point swept the leaderboard in the mangrove snapper category. He used a tried and true tactic to get those and other fish to bite when he chummed macaroni noodles, then dropped a live croaker into the mix.
“Somebody’s got to drive upcurrent and somebody’s got to throw the macaroni. Honest to God. I brought a whole 2 pounds of macaroni in a bag,” he said. “You put the live croaker in when they’re all piled up. We probably were popped off 50 times by the amberjack.”
Detwiler said they fished in 180-foot depths in the Vermilion blocks after running through a heavy rain after 8 a.m. Saturday, when Breaking Point left Quintana Canal Boat Landing.
“We got soaking wet all day, all night, but, look we dried out,” he said.
His first fish was the big lemonfish, which nailed a long jig at Vermilion 196.
The Offshore Division’s Boat Captain’s Award went to the Outlaw, which weighed soon after the scales opened at 10 a.m. Sunday, with 15.8 points. Middleman was next with 12 points followed by 2020 Offshore Division Boat Captain’s Award winner Aorta B fishing, with 9 points.