Everybody talks about and hopes to experience “one of those days” in a bass tournament.
Two New Iberians had one of those days and more in a two-day bass club tournament Sept. 18-19. The Louisiana Bass Cats’ format is a popular one in the local bass club.
Mike Sinitiere, 60, and Jacob Shoopman, 33, went out the first day in the Atchafalaya Basin and returned to Myette Point Boat Landing with five bass weighing 18.04 pounds, including the big bass bass for the weekend, a 4.18-pounder caught at midday by Sinitiere. They fished the second day in Lake Fausse Pointe and weighed a limit at 11.40 pounds for an unbeatable 29.44 pounds at Marsh Field Boat Landing.
Sinitiere and Shoopman won the weekend with an 8-plus pound margin of difference. Their nearest challengers were Ben Suit and Max Stevens, who had 21.12 pounds, and Kevin Suit and his son, defending bass club Angler of the Year Zach Suit, who checked in with 19.76 pounds.
For Sinitiere, it was another comfortable win on back-to-back weekends. Sinitiere and Mike O’Brien of New Iberia coasted to a $1,720 payday Sept. 12 by winning the Wednesday Night Hawg Fights Bass Tournament Series Classic out of Myette Point Boat Landing in the Atchafalaya Basin.
“Sometimes you just get on a roll. The last two weeks have been a roll. I had real good partners for both tournaments,” Sinitiere said.
The Coca-Cola United business development manager said it was all about decision-making and “trying to fish as clen as you can.” This past weekend, he said, “It (fishing clean) wasn’t 100 percent but it wasn’t bad. We did miss a couple each day.”
Shoopman, a merchandiser for Coca-Cola United using his new Ranger RT198P powered by a 150-h.p. Mercury both Saturday and Sunday, said, “It was fun, especially the first day. We caught so many fish. A perfect day. It’ll be tough to have a day like that again.”
The Catholic High School coach of the first-year fishing team and a seventh-year girls’ soccer assistant coach at CHS, Shoopman was amazed by the first-day catch Sept. 18. Sinitiere also was surprised, pleasantly surprised.
The Atchafalaya Basin was falling after an unseasonable rise to 7.0 feet at Butte La Rose to just over 6.0 feet for that Saturday. Both anglers had fished the WN Hawg Fights BTS Classic the previous Sunday.
“I knew we had a chance of getting a good bag being that I had my groups of fish and Mike had his groups of fish. Put it this way … I knew we could get some big ones out of all the spots we would stop at,” he said.
Sure enough, Shoopman nailed a 3-plus pounder in the first few minutes after a safe daylight start. They caught three more keepers before leaving.
The bass they kept bit Super Bait buzz baits and june bug/red Zoom Baby Brush Hogs.
“Jacob’s first spot was awesome. We caught four there and one was over 3. We went to my spot, caught more quality fish and culled three,” Sinitiere said, noting they finished the day culling in a third location.
“I was very surprised we had a little over 18. It surprised everyone,” he said.
“We had about 15 pounds before going to the last stop. I knew if we could get one more good bite we might have a good lead going into Day 2. We upgraded a couple times.”
The deciding factor was Sunday. They were apprehensive.
“We haven’t been there in at least a month-and-a-half. We went blind. We went to Jacob’s spot and it worked out with almost 12 pounds. Almost 30 pounds (two-day total) is a great average with 10 fish anywhere,” Sinitiere said.
“I may have been a little nervous because it was 2 feet high and muddy after all the rain the last two weeks,” Shoopman said.
Soon after he caught a 14-incher to start the day, he put a 3.83-pounder in the boat on a buzz bait in 10-feet of water. They wound up with seven bass out of nine bites, all on buzz baits, Baby Brush Hogs and Mister Twister Buzz Bugs.