Four major tournaments that should interest Teche Area bass anglers are othe horizon this month and early March.
The contest many consider the kickoff for a new season of competitive bass fishing is the Louisiana Bass Cats Invitational Bass Fishing Tournament, better known as “The Open.” It is scheduled for the second straight year to be out of Fairfax Foster Bailey Memorial Boat Landing in Franklin.
One week before the Big Bass Classic, a Sunset-based bass club will play host to the Legends of the Lake tournament, which is scheduled to be out of Marsh Field Boat Landing at Lake Fausse Pointe. More and more area bassers have been lining up to fish this event.
More about those two contests and another bass tournament later in this column.
The granddaddy of them all, of course, is the Big Bass Classic, which is set for Saturday, Feb. 29, at Lake Fausse Pointe with headquarters at Marsh Field Boat Landing near Loreauville. Formerly the Top Rod Big Bass Classic, the BBC pays for the three biggest bass each hour, a tournament format unique to this region and patterned after the popular Bob Sealy Big Bass Splash events at Toledo Bend, Lake Sam Rayburn and Lake Fork in Texas, and Lake Guntersville in Alabama.
Tee Roy Savoy of Coteau Holmes has been unselfish while serving as tournament director since 2015, when he stepped in after the sudden death of Elvis “Top Rod” Jeanminette on Jan. 12, 2015. Jeanminette founded the popular bassin’ contest a few decades ago and it evolved from the Mardi Gras Mambo Big Bass Classic to the Top Rod Big Bass Classic.
I say unselfish because Savoy remained the tournament director even after his wife, Jackie Chatagnier Savoy, was diagnosed with cancer in 2017. She has undergone multiple surgeries, as well as chemo and radiation treatments, ever since.
Savoy, who has been at her side at home, on the road and at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, believes in this tournament. He wants it to continue and is giving as much time as humanly possible to that cause.
Are there any other area outdoorsmen or outdoorswomen out there who will step up to the plate and help him in the prep — distribute sponsor letters, solicit and collect donations, prizes, etc. — in the remaining weeks leading up to the Big Bass Classic? Savoy is looking for a few good men and women who know the true meaning of volunteering for a very worthy cause, in this case, raising money for the Lydia Cancer Association and Acadiana Hope for a Cure.
If so, please call Savoy at 519-3107. He’ll be glad to hear from you.
There are seven levels of sponsorships from Ultimate Sponsors (gifts or money of $500 or more) to Gold Sponsors ($500 to pay for an hour’s worth of prize money) to Silver Sponsors ($250 toward the hourly payback) to Bronze Sponsors ($100 toward the hourly payback) to Boat Sponsors ($100 to pay a boat’s entry fee) to Lure Sponsors (donating baits to be given out as door prizes) to Product Sponsors (ingredients for the free meal).
We are hopeful more potential sponsors and volunteers get on board. Savoy tentatively has scheduled a board meeting for this week.
The 15th annual Louisiana Bass Cats Invitational Bass Tournament opens the major bass tournament season on Feb. 16.
Peter Romero of Coteau, the bass club’s president and tournament director, said 35 to 40 boats usually enter the tournament in their bid to win the guaranteed first-place prize of $1,000.
“We’ve had as many as 42. There’s always a good number, though, which results in a good payout,” Romero, 53, said Friday afternoon.
“I think it’ll be good. In recent years we moved it from the first weekend in February. You could tell we have a bigger turnout when it’s moved a little later. It’s our first tournament of the year, the season opener. That’s it.”
Last year’s tournament was held on Feb. 24. This year’s tournament date was decided by the fact the Legends on the Lake is Feb. 22 and the Big Bass Classic is set for Feb. 29.
‘I tell you what, I’m ready to go,” Romero said, adding that he will fish with Luke Romero, 13, one of his twin sons. Ben Romero fished the contest with him in 2019.
Call Romero at 280-8022.
Two New Iberia bass anglers are hopeful of repeating as Legends when they fish the 5th annual Legends on the Lake tournament Feb. 22 out of Marsh Field Boat Landing at Lake Fausse Pointe.
Mike O’Brien and Mike Sinitiere won last year’s fundraising tournament for the Sunset-based Atchafalaya Bass Club “Hawg Hunters.” Their 15.58 pounds earned them a check for $610 and two plaques valued at $100 each.
Thirty-eight two-man teams fished the Feb. 16 tournament in 2019. Jarade Schexnayder of Sunset, ABCHH bass club president and tournament director, said the field has grown each year since the inaugural event.
“It’s become pretty popular. I think they fish for the plaques, whatever. Hopefully, this year we’ll get a good amount of numbers, too,” Schexnayder said Friday.
The inaugural Legends on the Lake tournament drew 28 boats and was won with nearly 23 pounds.
Entry fee is $75 per team and $60 of that goes into the total purse. Normally, the payout is first- through third-places but a fourth place could be added if there are enough teams. Plus, entry fees will be paid for two or three lucky teams into the following week’s Big Bass Classic.
The Legends field can start fishing 30 minutes before official sunrise. The weigh-in is at 3 p.m.
Call Schexnayder at 501-3539.
The 8th annual Angling Against Autism tournament, which features a $5,000 cash prize for first, is set for March 7 out of Doiron’s Landing in Stephensville with the weigh-in at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales.
Two area bass fisherman won the $5K on March 2, 2019. Mike Louviere and Jerry Gondron, both of Loreauville, topped the 115-boat field with five bass at 16.84 pounds.
Entry fee is $205 per two-man team, which includes the fee for the boat launch. Teams can register at www.surveymonkey.com/r/BGLKYBL.
The tournament benefits the Emerge Center in Baton Rouge, which helps children facing a diagnosis of autism and boys and girls with communication problems.
DON SHOOPMAN is outdoors editor of The Daily Iberian.