The father and son team of “Cajun” Phil and Kevin Broussard recently took home $40,000 for their 44.78-pound first place finish in the inaugural 2013 Academy Sports and Outdoors HT Invitational Redfish Series event at Chalmette, Louisiana.
But the tournament proved a challenge for even the best of the best, including the long-time host of “Cajun” Phil & Capt. Kevin’s Outdoors & Fishing Television show and his son, a Lake Charles guide. By Day 3 winds reached 30 mph and pea soup fog made navigation difficult.
“It was like flying at night, relying purely on instrumentation to navigate an hour and a half through a maze of canals and marshes to our fish. Thank goodness for the GPS on the Humminbird 1198-brought us to the fish and back home safe and sound,” says ‘Cajun’ Phil Broussard.
Finding money fish in the small ponds of Delacroix, the father and son pounded knee-deep waters with ¾-ounce Johnson spoons and Saltwater Assassin paddletails on light, ¼-ounce jig heads. To combat the wind and stay positioned on the shallow flats-roaming reds, the Broussards relied on their Minn Kota Talon shallow water anchor, punching it nearly 100 times into the Delta bottom over the three-day event.
Besides no-fail performance, ‘Cajun’ Phil says the best thing about the Talon is that it doesn’t stick up behind the boat, which means fish can’t wrap your line around it, unlike some competitive product.
“As soon as Kevin spotted a fish from the platform he’d tell me to drop the Talon and he’d toss his bait. We did this probably every 100 feet as I idled us through hydrilla, coontail and green snot grass with the trolling motor,” says ‘Cajun’ Phil. “I could run that Minn Kota in my front yard after a rain!”
This strategy proved effective and boated numerous fish for the duo.
“While we got most of our fish on spoons, Kevin would immediately fire out a soft plastic to nab short-strikers,” says ‘Cajun’ Phil. “Kevin caught one 40-pound-plus bull and another dozen fish 30-inches or bigger in that 15- to 20 pound range,” he says.
But limited to the combined weight of two fish under 27 inches each day, the trick was finding, catching and culling legal tournament-size fish, which they accomplished, despite the nasty conditions, thanks in large part to their onboard electronics.
“If we can’t sight-fish off the boat platform-like at this event-we’re using Side Imaging. In situations where the water’s dirtier or the fish are deeper, it’s a huge plus for finding fish,” he says. “Plus, we use it to identify and waypoint danger areas, which are pretty frequent where we fish.”
One area where he says where Side Imaging has really upped their hook-up percentages is around Pensacola, Florida.
“It’s amazing how you can identify sunken bridges and actually see fish under the concrete pillars. Because we have a good idea where the structure is-like the Interstate 10 bridge-I set Side Imaging to view 25 or 30 feet off both sides of the boat and then cast right to the fish I see on the screen,” says ‘Cajun’ Phil.
He anticipates giving Side Imaging a real workout in practice and competition at the remaining events in the 2013 Academy Sports and Outdoors HT Invitational Redfish Series.
In their years of competitive redfish angling, the father and son have only missed the Top 10 once, and have finished in the Top 5 at almost every other event. This marks their first ever win at Chalmette.
“Finishing in the top 5 is our goal at every event,” says ‘Cajun’ Phil. “But winning this tournament is pretty special for us, it’s pretty much home turf.”
Image courtesy Traditions Media