Bass fishermen in Louisiana know what February means. It’s that glorious time of the year when big bass can be caught transitioning to or from the beds of the spawn and it means the J.R. Roberts Memorial tournament will be back on Lake Bruin in St. Joseph, La.  This year the date for one of the longest running tournaments in the state is February 6, launching out of the Lake Bruin State Park.

This will be the 34th year sons Robby and Eddie Roberts have put on the tournament to honor the man that taught them so much and gave them the life-long love of bass fishing. As kids, his dad would take the boys out at night on Toledo Bend, where they had a cabin.  “We didn’t fish the banks like folks do today, we fished offshore.”  It was during this time, Robby learned a lot about reading the conditions of the lake and what produced fish.  “Dad taught us to look at the types of timber standing” whether it was standing on old creek channels or atop ridges with pine growing, the timber would indicate what landforms are under the water and that information is vital to finding fish.  “That was back when your depth finder was a ½ ounce jig you would cast and then count down to see how deep of water you were in”, Robby told me last year before the tournament.  That was long before the electronics of today. 

34th Annual J.R. Roberts Memorial Team Bass Challenge 

January 2021, Volume 121

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Always basing the payout on 100 boats the tournament will payout $4000 to 1st place, 2nd place winners will earn $2000 while the team in 3rd gets $1000 just like the big bass payout for the day. Last year just under 100 teams entered and expectations are high for breaking the century mark in teams this year.

The tournament is on one of Mr. J.R. Robert's favorite lake during his favorite season of fishing, Winter. The weather always a possible factor in bass fishing could range from freezing rains to sunny blue bird skies, either way Bassin’ in the Boot will be there.

One story Robby told us was about his dad and a trip to Toledo Bend.  They pulled up one day to the marina at Pendelton Harbor and the guys were talking bass fishing.  “They told of all the techniques and baits they were using but no one seemed to be able to catch much in this cold January weather.”  Leaving the ramp, J.R. and the two Roberts boys headed over to “Community Corner” and began to fish.  “Dad said get out the spinnerbaits boys and cast it out and let it hit bottom then reel in real slow.”  In an hour or two it was time to return to the landing with a boat load of bass.  As instructed, Robby and Eddie held up several of the 4-5 pounders to show the guys back at the lodge.  Robby said he asked his dad, “How did he know where to find those fish?”  J.R. Roberts said, “They told me” by telling me everywhere they did not catch fish!

For entry forms you download at the link below or contact Robby Roberts on Facebook. We look forward to this tournament every year and we hope you’ll come geaux bassin’ with us!

At left (top), tournament organizer, Robby Roberts presenting the first place pot to 2020 winners, John Tilbury and Jacob Slade.  At right (bottom), the 2021 tournament flyer.  Entry forms may be downloaded from link at the bottom of this page.

Click the link below to download an entry form for this amazing tourney!

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With just under 100 boats launhing last year the ramp is a busy place, but with a well run tournament like this one, all the boats were helped and launched quickly and parking was well managed.  At right (bottom), one of several new entrants, Bassin' In The Boot partner and Tangi Fishing Rods owner Patrick Engerran came up and fished the tournament last year.  While years past have seen this tournament field over 100 boats, the sport shrunk for a while but in the past few years has been making a strong comeback and is expecting over 100 boats this year, meaning more fellowship, good competition, and bigger pots.