Stephensville slabs

Tommy Duplantier of Lafayette holds two sac-a-lait caught during the winter two years ago in the Stephensville area.

Bayous, lakes, canals fill up with sac-a-lait

When Tommy Duplantier of Lafayette talks about his favorite area to catch sac-a-lait in February, he gets pumped up.

He loves to get out and appreciate the scenic areas on the east side of the West Atchafalaya Basin Protection Levee around Stephensville. His techniques and strategies work, and he doesn’t mind sharing the way he consistently puts crappie in the boat.

Duplantier, 64, can be found on the bayous and in the lakes around Stephensville on Thursdays unless he has duty for the court, where he is a judge in Louisiana’s 15th Judicial District Division I.

Duplantier catches sac-a-lait by employing a secret weapon: a sinking cork, which he learned about in Louisiana Sportsman a few years ago. That tweaked wine cork allows Duplantie to start shallow with the solid tube jig he uses, then work it out to 2 to 3 feet.

Much of the time, a sac-a-lait has inhaled the soft plastic, either a black/chartreuse Triple Ripple Grub or a Pink Lady, when it gets to its deepest point.

“It’s really durable. I can catch a lot on it,” he said.

He uses a 1/48-ounce leadhead with the sinking cork and a 1/32-ounce leadhead with a conventional cork.

Duplantier’s son-in-law, Trey Hebert of Thibodaux, does very well when they go, he said, with a black/chartreuse Triple Ripple tipped with a scented chartreuse Crappie Psychic trailer.

Duplantier tries out different fishing poles, he said, but mostly has been staying with a 6-foot-10 or 7-foot Lew’s rod with a Pfleuger President spincast reel.

What he looks for

Where Duplantier targets sac-a-lait is where the pure bliss comes in. The scenery is great, and most of the time, the fish cooperate. He targets likely looking structure, specifically grass or wood — preferably the latter — in the Oxy Field and in the Union Field.

“My go-to is looking for a stump or branch coming out of the water. In the spring, it’s got to be a cypress tree. There’s something about that,” he said.

Usually, Duplantier stays in an area for a while to determine if the fish are there, maybe 30 to 45 minutes.

“I probably stay longer than I should in places,” he said.

The Oxy Field, the canals just past Persimmon Pass, is one of his favorite places, and it paid off last year, he said, especially the one with a tank battery at the corner of a canal.

“We caught some beautiful fish there last spring, my son-in-law and I,” he said.

One of his favorite spots in the Union Field is off the main canal “way to the back and to the left,” he said.

Duplantier Canal is a popular destination, as well as Barbier Canal and Pisani Slough, all in the Union Oil field, and Hebert Canal in the nearby Oxy Field.

“Those two areas (Oxy and Union fields) I really like. Also, the deadends off Bayou Cheramie. That’s really good,” he said.

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About Don Shoopman 484 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.

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