MYETTE POINT — Perhaps no one enjoyed being back in the Atchafalaya Basin for a Wednesday Night Hawg Fights Bass Tournament Series contest than the popular circuit’s two-time defending Angler(s) of the Year, Ben Suit and his brother, Zach Suit.
The Suits, both of New Iberia, and other Hawg Fighters fished a WN Hawg Fights BTS in the Atchafalaya Basin on Wednesday for the first time since 2018. It was unfishably high through last year and for the first seven tournaments of 2020.
Lake Dauterive-Fausse Pointe was the site of five of those seven Hawg Fights this year as it was for the vast majority of them in 2019.
“Ah, it feels really good because the lake was really tough on us this year, for everybody,” Zach said about getting in the Atchafalaya Basin.
It felt even better when the brothers culled to a three-bass limit weighing 8.96 pounds Wednesday worth $540. And they tightened the race for the AOY title they have won the last two years.
The joy of being back in the nation’s last great overflow swamp failed to translate into promising catches while prefishing, however, recently in the Spillway.
“I was confident until me and Ben went scout Sunday. I think we caught three bass. So we sac-a-lait fished the whole day,” Zach said.
Nevertheless, they decided to return Wednesday evening to that fishin’ hole 15-20 minutes away from here despite the lack of bassin’ success.
“We didn’t really have a game plan. I was kind of second-guessing at the landing. Ben said he was dead set on going there. That’s where he wanted to go. He had a lot of confidence there,” Zach said.
Ben agreed he didn’t hesitate to take his and his brother’s bass fishing game there.
“No. It came down to putting so much time there last year, the fall. If we could get a few bites we had a good chance to come in with a good stringer. We had nothing else so you might as well go where you know,” he said.
Winning was lagniappe considering their recent outings in the Atchafalaya Basin. They topped a 24-boat field.
“Well, I wasn’t really expecting too much. We weren’t on anything. We just went fish what we were confident in,” Ben said.
The Suits, who won the opener March 18, needed every fraction of an ounce to finish ahead of Matt Hebert and Rustin Walmsley, whose limit weighed 8.36 pounds for $324.
Jerry Marcotte and Johnny Hester were third with three bass weighing 7.76 pounds worth $216.
The Atchafalaya Basin’s bass cooperated with many Hawg Fighters despite a slight rise in the Atchafalaya River stage after falling to just over 11.0 feet at Butte La Rose.
Soon after arriving at their destination, Zach caught several small keepers on a Zoom Baby Brush Hog. That perked up their spirits, he said.
“I think I caught three, four little ones. It was important for us to know they were still going to bite,” he said. “The first stop wasn’t our best spot. We decided to go to the best spot. We had our limit in about 30 minutes.”
Ben, a 29-year-old insurance account rep for Erik Guillory State Farm in Broussard, started scoring on bigger bass with his favorite crank bait. Those culled the first three.
“Getting a few small ones kind of freed us up to go look and look at things (structure) that were similar,” he said.
Their win sets the stage for what could be a two-horse race for AOY in the last three regular-season tournaments of 2020. The next WN Hawg Fights BTS contest is July 22 out of Myette Pointe Boat Landing.
“I’m just looking forward to the home stretch of this thing,” Ben said.
One point separates the Suits, who have accumulated 712 points, from the current pacesetters, Don Shoopman and Jacob Shoopman, both of New Iberia. The father-and-son team also has two tournament wins and 713 points after finishing a strong fifth Wednesday with three bass weighing 7.33 pounds.
Ben realizes all too well the key to winning a third straight AOY.
“Catch three fish bigger than y’all each time. It’s going to be a lot of fun,” he said.
For sure, he added, “I’d much rather be the hunter than the hunted.”
Zach, 25, who will graduate in August from UL-Lafayette and works as a hunting and fishing sales associate at Academy Sports + Outdoors, said, “It’ll be exciting. We’re just going to go out and have fun and just catch fish. We’re going to go out and do the best we can and I know y’all will, too.”