A favorite sac-a-lait “search and enjoy” spot

Judge Tommy Duplantier of Lafayette enjoys catching sac-a-lait from his Hobie. His favorite sac-a-lait fishing holes in April are off Bayou Cheramie.

When Judge Tommy Duplantier fishes for sac-a-lait, he goes on a search and enjoy mission.

Duplantier’s destination from his home away from home in Lafayette during April? He’s partial to the waters off Bayou Cheramie, including the Union Oilfield and, particularly, Logan’s Canal.

“It’s the first canal off Cheramie coming from Bayou Milhomme,” Duplantier said in late February.

Those areas are near his “away” house on the waterfront near Doiron’s Landing, Stephensville. Fishing success can be fair to good, weather and water conditions permitting, and the breathtaking scenery is a bonus appreciated by Duplantier and his wife, Susan.

Bayou Cheramie area

If he had his druthers, the New Orleans native would be on the other side of the East Atchafalaya Basin Protection Levee this time of year pulling sac-a-lait from the Atchafalaya Basin. Perennially, however, the Spillway  is unfishably high in April.

That means Duplantier, a judge in the 15th Judicial District Court Division I, wets a line in his favorite fishin’ holes on the Stephensville side of the levee along Bayou Cheramie.

“My favorite jig is a black/chartreuse Triple Ripple from Bass Pro,” he said. “The reason I like the Bass Pro (soft plastics) is they are thicker and stronger than others.”

Duplantier, 67, tips each Triple Ripple with an attractant.

“I use chartreuse Berkeley GULP! Alive! called Waxies (Micro Bait),” he said. “I put one on and it stays on because it’s made of rubber material.”

Judge Tommy Duplantier and his grandsons, Hunter, 10, and Camden, 8, both of Jacksonville, Florida, are proud of these sac-a-lait they caught while fishing off Bayou Cheramie.

He threads the Triple Ripple on a jighead either 1/16- or 1/32-ounce. Usually, he said, a 1/16-ounce casts better and has a little larger hook.

The University of Southwestern Louisiana graduate ties the jighead to 6-pound test Stren monofilament line and is quick to declare he doesn’t use braided line. The line is spooled on a Presidential Pfleuger Underspin Reel seated on either a homemade fishing rod made by his wife’s cousin in Georgia or 7-foot Macro Series fishing rod from Lew’s.

Look on laydowns

Duplantier enjoys this time of year because the sac-a-lait are coming off the bank, while perch — chinquapin first, then bream — are going to the shoreline.

“The bream are going against the bank while sac-a-lait are coming out so I start looking for them on laydowns,” he said. “I usually fish a foot-and-a-half to 2 foot.”

His preferred water color is mixing water, something taught to him by the late David “Big Dave” Loupe. Loupe was known as the ‘Sac-a-lait King of the Basin’ by friends and family, a man who, like Duplantier, also appreciated nature.

He avoids black water like the plague; that and chocolate milk-colored water.

“I’m looking for good water. It’s just going back to historic spots I’ve caught in the past,” he said, noting he loves to go out as often as possible in his 1-year-old Hobie.

That ‘yak helps him make a silent search and enjoy mission.

About Don Shoopman 559 Articles
Don Shoopman fishes for freshwater and saltwater species mostly in and around the Atchafalaya Basin and Vermilion Bay. He moved to the Sportsman’s Paradise in 1976, and he and his wife June live in New Iberia. They have two grown sons.