Now that the qualifying events are complete, next on the agenda is the state tournament that will take place on May 3-4, 2019 fishing from the Berwick Landing in Morgan City, Louisiana. The qualifiers from the state tournament will go on to fish in the Bass Nation High School National Tournament August 8-10 on Kennedy Lake.

In the midst of the South Louisiana Family Festival this past weekend at Lamar Dixon, the Louisiana Bass Nation High School East Spring Qualifier bass tournament took place. The qualifier was held on Lake Verret Saturday.

Thirty-two high schools fielded 147 contestants in two-angler teams to compete to qualify for the state championship. Each team had an opportunity to qualify for the regional finals and on to the nationals during the Bassmaster Classic. Ten of the teams were in the Junior Division (ages 11-14).

This tournament was the fourth qualifier for the Louisiana Bass Nation High Circuit. The popularity of high school bass fishing has grown so much that State Director Gene Hoover had to separate the state into two divisions, East and West, with two tournaments in each division.

The first West Qualifier took place on October 6, 2018 on the Calcasieu River. The first tournament of the 2018-2019 season in the East Division took place in October 2018 at Pass Manchac. Second on the tour in the East happened on February 9 out of Bayou Segnette. The 2nd West Qualifier happened on February 16 from Henderson in the Atchafalaya Basin. March 2 was the date of the 3rd West Qualifier that took place on Toledo Bend. The qualifying season wrapped up on Saturday.

Now that the qualifying events are complete, next on the agenda is the state tournament that will take place on May 3-4, 2019 fishing from the Berwick Landing in Morgan City, Louisiana. The qualifiers from the state tournament will go on to fish in the Bass Nation High School National Tournament August 8-10 on Kennedy Lake.

This tournament was a challenge for the anglers to say the least. The Mississippi is unusually high for this time of the year. That has the water so high on the Belle River side that everywhere there is a house or camp in an idle zone. The high water also means the fishing is pretty tough as well.

That did not deter the young anglers very much as 73 boats made it back to Lamar Dixon Expo Center to weigh their catches in on the big stage. The team captains drove the competitors up to the stage in their boats where the teams of anglers departed the boats, pulling their catches out of the live wells.

Tournament Director and weigh master Gene Hoover took the bags from the anglers and placed them on the scale as they waited with great anticipation for the official weight to be flashed on the digital scale. I had the pleasure of co-emceeing the event with color commentator from the Bass Nation, Jim Breaux. Each team held their catches for plenty photos.

When all the dust settled and all the fish were weighed in, the team of Dawson Andrews and Wyatt Ensminger from Central High School took top honors in the Senior Division with five bass that tipped the scales at a whopping 13.50.

The team of Brady Talbot and Daymon Columbia fishing with the Jr. Southwest Bassmasters weighed in two bass for 8.56 and took top honors for the whole tournament with a hawg that pushed the scales to a very respectful 5.74.

The anglers also compete for school honors as the winning high school teams get to bring a plaque to the school for bragging rights. Brusly High School had six teams that weighed in 22 bass for 27.90 to take first place honors.

Taking second place only .37 behind were the five teams from Central High that caught 16 bass for a 27.53 total. Third place was captured by Live Oak High with five boats, weighing 10 bass for 24.92. The Ascension Anglers team of six boats weighed in nine bass for 14.11.

The top 15 teams were paid in gift cards and merchandise. The next 14 spots were: 2nd - Justin Neames and Brayden Averett (Live Oak) with five bass at 12.46; 3rd - Hunter Pinho and Jake Childress (Patterson) five bass at 10.52; 4th - Michael Bonadona and Greg Diamond (Brusly) five bass at 10.07; 5th - Ethan Blanco and Jeremy Raney (Morgan City) five bass at 9.90; 6th - Michael Sanchez and Dylan Eschette (Brusly) four bass at 9.69; 7th Jordan Percle (Central Catholic Eagles) five bass at 9.36; 8th - Jordan Sylvester and Connor Taylor (EBR Bassmasters) five bass at 9.21; 9th - Michael Clement and Joshua Bergeron (Vandebilt Catholic) five bass at 8.71; 10th - Dylan Lafleur and Chase Godeaux David Thibodaux (STEM) four bass at 8.30; 11th - Chance Shelby and Luke Cowart (Live Oak) three bass at 8.27, also Big Bass for Senior Division at 5.12; 12th - Connor Rushing and Ethan Simon (Central) five bass at 8.25; 13th - Trent Tullier and Dax Delapasse (Brusly) five bass at 8.14; 14th - Bronson Beck and Hanson Chaney (Walker) four bass at 7.72; 15th - Bladen Vanacor and Cole Villasenor (Hahnville) five bass at 7.60.

The following teams qualified for the State Championship at yesterday's tournament: Ascension Anglers - Chase Edmonston, Blaise Donaldson, Reese Aucoin, Grant Gautreaux; Brusly High School - Emily Denicola, Chance Bizette; Central Catholic Eagles - Jordan Percle; Central High School - Cade Cassals, Luke Tynes, Cayden Reily, Evan Maddie, David Thibodaux; STEM - Dylan Lafleur, Chase Godeaux; Morgan City High School - Ethan Blanco, Jeremy Raney, Austin Blair, Logan Metrejean; Denham Springs High - Lane Watts, Blake Fourrier; Southside High School - Ethan Hebert, Ettienne Barrilleaux; Vandebilt Catholic - Tanner Loney, Ryan Welch; W. Baton Rouge Bassmasters - Beau Landry, Gage Collins; W. St. John High - Shamar Pierre, Khristian Rousseve; Zachary High School - Hannah Nix, Aaron Reily.

I have never seen a group of anglers that were more excited about bringing their fish to the scales, whether they had one fish or the winning stringer. High school bass fishing is the largest growing segment in the bass fishing world. These young folks did great!

Remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. Have fun in the outdoors, be safe, and may God truly bless you!

Lyle Johnson is a free-lance writer, co-host of Ascension Outdoors TV and Curator of the Louisiana State Fish Records. He can be contacted at reelman@eatel.net.

Outdoor Calendar

EASL Monthly Meeting: 3rd Monday every month, East Ascension Sportsman’s League meeting held at Chef KD’s on Highway 74 starting at 7 p.m. A meal served and special speaker will be in attendance.

Anything Outdoors Helping Kids Frog Rodeo: March 23, held out of Doiron’s Landing in Stephensville, La. Entry fee $50, $10 for Big Frog. Launch at Doiron’s or Belle River public launch. All info on Facebook Page or call Jacob Heath at 504-782-0705.

Delta Tau Delta Bass Classic: March 23, Benefitting Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, location at Spunky Monkey on Highway 70 in Belle River. Contact Tournament Director Alex Landry at 225-717-9299 or alex.landry@selu.edu.

Marsh Madness Kayak Fishing Tournament: March 23, Coco Marina, Cocodrie. Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club event. Open to public. Entry fee $30. Tackle exchange format. Minimum top 3 payout. Heaviest stringer 2 slot reds, optional trout calcutta. Website: lafayettekayakfishing.com.

Trinity Outdoor Disabled Adventures Bass Classic: April 6, Trailer Bass Tournament with weigh-in at St. James Boat Club. Find all info on their Facebook Page, Trinity Outdoors Disabled Adventures, LLC.

Prairieville Broncos Bass Tournament: April 6, Doiron’s Landing Stephensville. Team tournament $160 entry fee. Captain’s meeting April 4 (location TBA). Call Scott Watson 225-610-0699, Karen Watson 225-270-1565, or email prarievillebroncosfootball@yahoo.com.

Need an event publicized? Contact Lyle at reelman@eatel.net.