MYETTE POINT — By Mike Sinitiere’s standards, 2020 was a forgettable year overall as far as competitive bass fishing.
However, Sinitiere went out with a bang Nov.8 when he captured the Louisiana Bass Cats Classic, the end-of-the-year tournament pitting the Top 15 qualifiers in 2020. Coupled with a first-place effort in the regular-season finale in October at Lake Sam Rayburn, where he fished with Zach Suit and led the way to helping Suit win Angler of the Year.
“I closed up with two wins. It’s been a while since I placed. It’s very refreshing to win the last two tournaments of the year. It’s a springboard going into next year,” Sinitiere said after culling to an unbeatable five-bass limit for 11 pounds, 13 ounces, for a $500 payday in the Classic.
The 59-year-old account managed for Coca-Cola Bottling Co. United from New Iberia finished 2 pounds ahead of the nearest challenger, Junius “Nonkie” Dore, whose limit weighed 9 pounds, 13 ounces, for second place.
Derrick Romero grabbed third place with 9 pounds, 1 ounces, and Chris Vedrines checked in with 7 pounds, 14 ounces, for the fourth and final payout spot.
Sinitiere also boasted the Classic’s biggest bass, a 4-pound, 4-ounce, fish worth $100. It was his fourth of nine keepers on a day in which he missed about five bass, including three nice-sized bass.
That big bass of the day cost him a fishing rod, though, after it bit a black/blue Delta Lures Thunder Jig at approximately 9 a.m.
“I went to flip it in and the rod broke in half. I didn’t think it was that big. I grabbed the line by hand and still flipped it in,” he said. “It ate it. It was heavy and it stayed on after it short-lined me.”
He got his limit around 9:30 a.m. and started culling in an undisclosed area where he got a timely tip from a fishing buddy, who also loaned him the hot Thunder Jig. Four of the bass he weighed came on the bladed jig while the fifth nailed a june bug/red Zoom Baby Brush Hog.
Some of the bass were biting the bladed jig funny — not haha, he said.
“They would pick it up and were on for a little while. They would just come off. They weren’t biting the bait very well,” he said.
Sinitiere believed his five fish in the livewell might be good enough to place. He was pleasantly surprised to win because he thought his biggest bass was in the 3-3 ½-pound range.
“I didn’t know it was 4-4. I was definitely surprised,” he said.
He stayed in the area lined with cypress trees the whole day.
“I stayed there because the water was rising. That’s a backwater area. I didn’t want to leave,” he said.
Sinitiere was on top of his game Oct. 25-26 at Lake Sam Rayburn. He boated two bass weighing more than 5 ½ pounds the second and last day of the tournament to fill out a five-fish, 18-pound, 12-ounce, limit that gave him and Suit a two-day total of 32 pounds, 9 ounces.
He finished fourth in the overall standings with 1,625 points. But it wasn’t his typical year … until October and November.