CYPREMORT POINT — After going nearly a decade without a win in the Southcentral Fishing Association, Gerrit “T-Blu” Landry of Patoutville got a sweet “W” on July 20, one week after Hurricane Barry rolled through the area on its way to landfall at Intracoastal City.
Landry and his crew members, Jeremy “Tooky” Lasseigne and Brady Derise, carried their best two “slot” redfish to the scale, including the heaviest one of the day, and won the prestigious SFA Classic. It took a timely move suggested by Lasseigne around midday, plus the SFA Classic’s Calcutta winner, a fat, overweight redfish caught by Derise, to snap the slump and win $1,680.
Landry, Lasseigne and Derise finished first in a 13-boat field that fished the SFA Classic. It ended a long drought.
“We won the first Southcentral Fishing Association tournament 10 years ago. (Since then) we’ve come out second, third and fourth and never won another one,” said Landry, the team’s skipper who took out his 23-foot Key West, Gotta Have Faith.
Lasseigne, who has fished with Landry since the late 1990s, said, “Oh, it feels awesome. The last tournament we won was the first SFA tournament. We’ve always come up short, second or third. We never could get a tournament win until this weekend.
“We had a pretty good year. We had a second and a third and we had the Calcutta four times total,” he said, then paused before adding, “and we won the championship.”
That was the crowning moment for the crew.
“Oh, it’s great, man. It was time. We always came up short. Finally, everything came together for us. It’s a good feeling,” Landry said.
“I mean, our club has the best fishermen around. Best of the best. We’ve been putting in a lot of time and it paid off,” he said. “A whole lot of teamwork went into it. We work good together.”
Lasseigne said, “Derise caught the Calcutta fish. It was actually one of the last fish we caught. It wasn’t the longest fish but it was a fat fish. Ask T-Blu (about that redfish’s length). Whenever we saw the belly and girth, we said, ‘That’s a good one.’ ”
Landry knew exactly how long it was … 26 ½ inches. It weighed 8.05 pounds and was worth another $170. Paired with a 26 7/8-inch redfish they put on the scale, their two “slot” redfish weighed an unbeatable 15.45 pounds.
“We knew it was over 8 pounds. Brady doesn’t like to weigh fish (on the boat). He likes it to be a surprise,” Landry said.
That fat redfish’s weight was a pleasant surprise as all gathered around the scale at the 3 p.m. weigh-in under the pavilion along Quintana Canal. It cemented their victory and also won the Calcutta as the biggest “slot” redfish of the day that Saturday.
The winning boat finished half-a-pound ahead of the nearest challenger, veteran redfish fisherman Keith Delahoussaye and his SFA Classic partner, Quinton Comeaux, whose two best “slot” redfish weighed 14.95 for $720.
Shane Doucet, Blaze Delcambre and Jacob Comeaux’s two top “slot” redfish weighed 14.70 pounds, good enough for third place and $580.
TS Barry’s passage a week earlier made catching redfish a challenge for the year’s best redfish fishermen in the SFA.
Landry, a 49-year-old production operator for Texas Petroleum and charter boat captain who owns Gotta Have Faith Charters, said his boat and a few others fished the day before the SFA Classic. Combined. They had one redfish to show for their efforts.
“It was tough this weekend. Four boats fished Friday and there was one fish. Me and my dad (Gerry Landry) went. And three other boats. We met at the landing and talked” after the trips, Landry said about comparing notes with skippers Erron Derouen, Milton Davis and Shane Doucet.
“It (prospect for Saturday) wasn’t too promising. Our confidence was low,” he said, noting the four boats covered the length of Marsh Island. The water was pretty and the tide was moving but the redfish didn’t bite.
“The only thing different Saturday was the tide started going out one hour earlier. That’s the only difference.”
Lasseigne, a 44-year-old assistant manager at Pierce Aluminum Co. Inc., agreed the redfish fishing was slow for the first four or five hours of the Classic.
He suggested a move. Landry listened, as he has for years, and they found cooperative redfish in deep holes.
“Before 11 we probably had two fish in the boat. We caught all our fish in an hour-and-a-half span. We got on them at the right time,” Lasseigne said.
They caught 13 good-sized “slot” redfish, 25 to 26 inches long, all 6-pounds, on Carolina-rigged live mullet, he said.
Derise put the icing on the cake with his fat redfish.