Brent Bonadona and Zach Remedies duked it out with Mother Nature over the weekend, and both came through Sunday with big money from the 15th Pro Bass Challenge.
For Bonadona, it was his second Challenge Pro Division victory. For Remedies, the junior from Many and one of six LSU bass fishing team entries in the Co-Angler Division field, it was only the third time he’d fished south Louisiana waters.
Both admitted punching their way to the win. In bass-fishing circles, “punching” is a tactic that combines finding heavy mats of grass or water hyacinth and using a one-ounce-plus sinker to get a soft-plastic lure through the mats and in front of a lurking largemouth.
While neither disclosed the exact locations that produced their heavy two-day catches, both said they were north in the Verret Basin — “We were way up north,” Remedies said — which means north of Lake Verret proper, most likely in the Intracoastal Waterway or Bayou Plaquemine, a 30-plus-minute run from the Doiron’s Launch site in Stephensville.
Both put together the best single catch each day in their divisions, and both ran away with the loot.
The difference was the payday: Bonadona took home $10,000, the Pro Divsion’s top prize, while Remedies earned $2,000, and more than likely had to spring for pizza for his LSU teammates.
Bonadona said he punched mats with a Mr. Twister Pocket Craw. Remedies said his favorite was one of touring pro John Crews’ D-Bomb “Super Bugs.”
It was a move Bonadona said he made midmorning Saturday, the tournament’s first day, a move that gave him a five-bass limit weighing 14.95 pounds. Sunday’s catch, anchored by a 5.35 pounder, hit 15.85 pounds for a 30.8-pound total. It was more than nine pounds better than Travis Warthen’s 21.35-pound, second-place finish.
Remedies, working with a three-bass daily limit, brought in 9.01 pounds Saturday. And fishing Sunday with Rocky Roussel, his three fish went 9.13 pounds. Rebedies’ 18.14 pounds was more than seven pounds better than the Co-Angler runner-up, high-schooler Alex Heintz’s respectable 10.67 pounds.
Jeff McMorris’ 6.3 pounder taken Saturday stood as the tournament’s big bass.