Ryan Larussa and Doug Bickley have been friends since boyhood days, long before Larussa thought about having a wife and a family.
When it comes to bass fishing, the two are inseparable: They admit they’ve spent so much time in the same boat that they think too much alike.
Now there’s a third name in the mix. Larussa’s young son Braden added some advice to Larussa-Bickley in their quest for the Anglers of the Year for the South Louisiana Media Bass circuit Saturday.
“Doug couldn’t scout with me Saturday and Braden asked if he could go,” Larussa said. “I told him it was going to be 100 degrees, but he said he wanted to go.”
Larussa said they caught lots ofbass, but nothing that would send them to the top of what’s become the most competitive south Louisiana fishing circuit.
“We went to a little stretch (in the Old River area) and I was shaking fish off. Braden was fishing and caught two or three bass and we were cutting up and laughing - we were having a great time,” Larussa said.
“Later he asked me if we were going back to that spot for (Sunday’s) tournament, and I told him there were small fish there and that daddy was looking for bigger fish. That’s when he told me, ?Daddy, you’re going to go back in there and catch some good ones.’ “
That’s what happened Sunday: With maybe 12 pounds in the livewell from the Grand Lake area, Larussa told Bickley the story and they returned to that small stretch of bank.
“It was unbelievable. I caught one almost 4 pounds and 15 minutes later Doug catches a 3-pounder,” Larussa said. “We knew we had to win the tournament to beat Roy Laborde and Fred King to win the circuit.”
The last two fish gave them a 15.48-pound stringer to edge David Cavell and Corey Whear (15.43) and take the overall title.
“The whole point is that fish are biting everywhere in the spillway from Grand Lake to Flat Lake,” Larussa said. “It’s the time to take the kids to let them find out how good Spillway fishing can be.”