For four years as a pro, Raceland native Tyler Rivet came close but had not secured his first Bassmaster Elite Series victory. After the first tournament of his fifth season, he can check that goal off of his list.
The Bassmaster Elite Series is the highest level of professional bass fishing tournaments.
Rivet won the 2023 SiteOne Bassmaster Elite at Lake Okeechobee in Florida, which concluded on Feb. 19. The weight total of what Rivet caught over the four days was 86 pounds, 15 ounces, nearly four pounds more than second place.
Rivet said a spot he found during practice before the tournament turned out to be a key to his victory.
“I was just out there, It’s kind of a big lake and it was blowing 30 miles an hour the first day of practice,” he recalled. “So we kind of stayed in the canals practicing and trying to stay out the wind. I was up that river, actually just trying to catch some sac-a-lait, I had my livescope on and I just kind of turned and looked up toward the bank and I saw a few bass on the livescope.”
“I thought it was just the conditions that day,” he added. “I thought it would just change for the tournament but the first day of the tournament, I went up there just to try and catch something early and ended up catching every single one of my fish for the tournament up there.”
A livescope is technology used by fishermen that shows live sonar under and around the boat.
Rivet won his first tournament with a heavy heart after losing his great-grandmother recently. He said the woman he called “mammaw” taught him a lot.
“I was really close to her. She taught me everything and I was lucky enough to be with her a lot,” he said. “She taught me how to cook and I helped her with her garden. I would help her garden because she kind of got a little older, she wasn’t able to get outside and that was her life. It was just flowers, garden everything so when she couldn’t do it, I took over. I would go there all the time and fix up her garden for her. That was just our thing.”
He admitted the timing of his mammaw’s death made it difficult to process.
“It was tough,” he stated. “Just being so close to her and then her just passing so quickly. I just wasn’t ready for it. We all knew it was kind of getting close but nobody wanted to accept it but she was up there for sure watching for the win.”
On his way to the professional ranks, Rivet helped start the Nicholls Bass Federation, a competitive fishing club at Nicholls State University that competes in collegiate bass fishing tournaments nationwide, as part of the Bassmasters College Series track.
Rivet and faculty advisor Dr. Alyson Theriot started the bass federation in 2012.
Tyler’s younger sister Maegan Rivet said throughout her life, their family has been traveling with her brother to fishing competitions or with her for cheer.
“He’s (Tyler) been doing this my whole life,” Maegan said of Tyler’s fishing career. “It’s crazy to see his hard work paying off.”
“It’s just a big family thing for us,” Tyler said. “Whatever we do, we’re always together. That’s the main reason I’ve accomplished everything just because of my family. We always support each other.”
Rivet kept the momentum from the victory to finish third in the Gamakatsu Bassmaster Elite at Lake Seminole the following week.
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