Cliff Crochet wins Atchafalaya Basin Central Open

Pierre Part's Cliff Crochet poses with his trophy for winning the Bass Pro Shops BASSMASTER Central
Open Saturday. Crochet rallied from a poor first day for a victory on the final day of competition. (Submitted Photo/Courtesy of James Overstreet, www.bassmaster.com)

By JOHN K. FLORES

Local favorite Cliff Crochet of Pierre Part roared back from 27th place on day 1 to win the Bass Pro Shops BASSMASTER Central Open in the Atchafalaya Basin and punch a ticket to the BASSMASTERS’s Classic next year.
Crochet’s first day five fish catch Thursday totaled just 11 pounds, 14 ounces.
What’s more, many of the nearly 300 anglers, mainly from Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas, found the Central Open’s first two days a grind.
By Friday evening on Day 2, it appeared Fred Roumbanis from London, Arkansas, had the best shot at winning the event. He led the field of pro anglers after day 1 and day 2.
What’s more, Roumbanis led his closest competitor, BASS MASTER Elite Angler Greg Hackney, by 6 pounds, 5 ounces. Hackney’s two-day total weighed 29 pounds 10 ounces.
Meanwhile, Crochet’s 16-pound, 4-ounce second-day catch moved him up from 27th place to sixth – good enough to make the final day field of 12 pro anglers.
Crochet started Day 3 7 pounds, 13 ounces behind Roumbanis.
Roumbanis decided to fish the same areas he fished on days 1 and 2 but struggled, only weighing in two fish that totaled 3 pounds, 8 ounces.
As a result, it opened the door for Hackney, Crochet and several other anglers.
In the end, it would be Crochet’s five fish, 18-pound, 4-ounce stringer that would push him to the top, winning the Atchafalaya Basin Central Open over second place Hackney by just more than 4 pounds.
Crochet’s three-day weight total was 46 pounds, 6 ounces, and Hackney’s was 42 pounds, 4 ounces.
Literally fishing in his own backyard, the Cajun Baby did what he does best, using a technique punching grass using a 1-1/2 ounce weight fixed with a Luck-E-Strike creature bait.
The day 1 and 2 weigh-ins were held at the Jesse Fontenot Memorial Boat Landing in Berwick, and the final day weigh in was held at Bass Pro Shop in Denham Springs.
The Cajun Coast Visitors and Convention Bureau hosted the local event.
The Atchafalaya Basin Central Open was Crochet’s first B.A.S.S. win. Crochet’s first-place win was a $45,000 Skeeter ZX200/Yamaha VF200LA bass boat rig and $6,741.
Top Co-angler for the event was Blake Naquin from Thibodaux. Naquin won a $30,000 Nitro Z18/Mercury 150 Pro XS bass boat package for his 23-pound, 9-ounce three-day total weight.
Hunter Parra of Houma took home $750 for tournament big bass – a 7 pound, 12-ounces fish he caught on day 1.
Crochet will compete in the 2017 Geico Bassmaster Classic, presented by GoPro, on Lake Conroe, Houston, Texas, March 24-26, 2017.

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