Ritchie Friloux takes top spot in benefit bass tournament, 32-boats with 2-man teams take to the waters to raise money for friend’s long battle with lung cancer
On Saturday morning, “Fishing for Frankie” was held at Pier 90. Thirty-two boats with two fishermen aboard fished on a cloudy ominous morning. Local Bass fisherman, Ritchie Friloux, was a prime candidate to win the benefit rodeo. He was playing in a softball game the night before yet he awaited the fishing event. Friloux had a social to go to after that game and knew that he still must be prepared to fish like a true angler at the rodeo the next morning.
Friloux was one of the top bass fishermen in the Media South Bass Club. And looking back at the last bass tournament he fished in, he was ranked No. 1 by 27 points.
Lake Cataouatche was one of his favorite lakes to fish. Even when he fished bass tournaments in the spring and summer out of Morgan City, he would run through the intercostal waterways back to Lake Cataouatche to catch his limit of five fish.
After fishing, Friloux would run back to the weigh-in station to maintain his high ranking among his bass club.
On the last day of fishing in the Media South Bass Tournament two weeks ago, he was overtaken in points and lost the summer championship by 10 points and finished third overall.
It was time to redeem himself. So, he entered the “Fishing for Frankie” bass tournament.
Arriving late to Pier 90 that morning, he did not launch his boat until 6 a.m.
Most bass fishermen were on their spot fishing when Friloux left the launch. He couldn’t find anyone to fish with, so he fished alone.
When he reached Lake Cataouatche, he headed east to Whiskey Canal and Bay Badeaux.
During the morning, a huge thunderstorm threatened the lake and most of the fishermen left. Yet Friloux couldn’t believe they were leaving.
“I stayed and the weather went around me,” he said. “I had a chance to fish some grass beds where I had located big bass in previous bass tournaments. I have the entire area to myself and I’m going to take advantage of it.”
And that he did. Friloux brought in a total of 18.67 pounds of bass to take first-place honors.
He was also awarded the big fish prize with a bass weighing 6.23 pounds. Friloux caught his fish using the gold rogue with the orange bottom, watermelon baby brush hog, and a black spinner bait.
Audrey Raziano deemed the bass tournament a huge success.
“The outpouring of support from family, friends, co-workers, business, and the community was overwhelming,” she said. “We are deeply grateful to all the sponsors, fishermen, volunteers, and George and Courtney at Pier 90.”
Raziano also offers a special thanks to Cayce and Dane Gunter, who served as the official weigh masters.
After the bass tournament, jambalaya, pastalaya, gumbo, hot dogs and chili, soft drinks, water and beer, were sold to generate additional funds.
Each fisherman was given a goodie bag, a fishing towel, and a door prize. There was a DJ and the Swamp Pop band for musical entertainment.
Champagne, who the benefit was held for, came out in the morning to see the fisherman off and George Garcia bless the tournament before they left. Since it was overcast and not as hot as normal Frankie was able to come back and watch the weigh – in.
The top five fishermen were: Ritchie Friloux in first place at 18.67 lbs., – Charles Garcia in second with 14.61 lbs., third placers Kevin Cameron and Josh Cameron with 13.48 lbs., John Paul Arnoult and Marty Boudreaux in fourth place at 11.71 lbs., and Jacob Dufrene and LJ Dufrene in fifth place with 10.58 lbs. of bass.
Fiberglass, don’t mount your bass
On April 19, I caught a 26-inch fish and have not a clue to how much the big bass weighed.
While on the water, my wife took some great photos of the fish, then I returned the fish to the lake. Some bass fishermen around me could not believe I had released the big bass.
When we returned home, I contacted Warren “Duddie” Freeman, who does some taxidermy work. He recommended a fiberglass reproduction of the bass. He took out a catalog, which matched the measurements of the big bass. The bass should have weighed between 8 and 13 pounds.
Warren has painted the fiberglass reproduction exactly the way the fish looked like while we were on the water. It is on display at Pier 90 for all fishermen to observe.
I wish more fishermen would do the same. We need to protect our natural resource.
“A fiberglass reproduction is easier to maintain and will last a lifetime,” said Freeman.