Very few people can tell you the exact day they got serious about fishing, especially one with 70 years tucked under his belt.

But Dave Pizzolato can. 

“My official start date for serious sac-a-lait fishing was July 4, 1987. I went fishing with my sister Mamie in the Atchafalaya Basin. She is about as serious a sac-a-lait fisherman as a person can get.” 

It’s hard to believe that she could be more serious than Pizzolato — if so, she’s got it bad.

After a 20-year career in the U.S. Army, Pizzolato retired to Greenwell Springs, where he pitched into the family business — four large fresh produce markets in the Baton Rouge area. 

“I did that until 2010, when I seriously retired,” he quipped. “All I do now is fish, take naps and cut grass. I specialize exclusively on sac-a-lait fishing. It’s not the easiest fish in the world. It’s all about the challenge.”

“And,” he added “they are the best-tasting fish in the world. I love to eat sac-a-lait, especially fried.”

Pizzolato started tournament fishing in 2000 with a club, Louisiana Best. Competing in the South Division, he was awarded Angler of the Year and won awards for the biggest fish of the year and the heaviest (10-fish) stringer of the year.

He still fishes in the non-club tournaments organized by well-known Glenn Davis, averaging one event per month between February and September. 

Tournaments aside, Pizzolato crappie fishes an average of twice a week, year-round. He fishes multiple locations and has become a familiar face in noted crappie haunts. “For the most part, the serious sac-a-lait fishermen of South Louisiana know each other,” he grinned.