Capt. Marty LaCoste is used to pulling lots of fish over the rails in the waters around Dularge, but Thursday morning he had to pull three people aboard as well.
LaCoste, with Absolute Fishing Charters in Dularge, came upon a sinking 19-foot center console that had taken on water about 11:30 in the mouth of Bayou Chevreau (commonly called Deer Bayou) on the east side of Lake Mechant.
“That was the first time I’ve seen that happen,” LaCoste said. “I’ve towed a bunch of people in who’ve broken down, but I’ve never seen a boat sink and have to pull people from the water.
“That’s a first.”
LaCoste was with a group from Lafayette and was heading from Lake Mechant into Deer Bayou to one last fishing spot when he noticed the stranded anglers, who were not injured in the incident.
“This morning it was slick calm, but midday the wind picked up and it got windy with some waves,” LaCoste said. “They think the waves were coming over the back of the boat and they started taking on water, then his bilge pump wasn’t putting out enough.
“They couldn’t pump the water out, and the boat just filled up. They were trying to get over to the bank, and they were lucky enough to get over into some shallow enough water to where the boat didn’t completely sink. He’s sitting in about 2 feet of water. They were literally maybe 50 feet from making it to the bank, but they couldn’t quite get there.”
When he arrived in his 24-foot Blue Wave Pure Bay, LaCoste and his charter helped gather up the stricken crew’s belongings and put everything into his boat.
“We went around and picked up all their stuff out the water that was floating,” he said. “I actually brought them with me to one more spot and we fished while we waited on the water patrol.”
LaCoste met the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Water Patrol in Mud Lake, and transferred the men and their belongings into the department’s boat.
In talking with the crew, which was from Baton Rouge, he’s still unsure exactly why the boat sank.
“I don’t think a wave came over that boat. He’s only had it a couple of weeks — this was like only the second time he put the boat in the water,” LaCoste said. “But I don’t think there’s any way a wave came over that boat and it sunk. He swore he didn’t hit anything. He might have a hole in the hull, but it wasn’t rough enough where he was to have a wave come over the back of the boat.
“I don’t think there’s any way that could have happened.”
LaCoste said the boat remained on the reef Thursday afternoon, and warned boaters to be wary in the area.
“If the tide comes up a bit, there’s a possibility that boat could float, but hopefully that won’t happen,” he said. “If it does float off, it could definitely be a hazard.”