PARIS, Tenn. — With the Livingston Parish Bassmasters’ team of Alex Heintze and Justin Watts leading the way, Louisiana has the top three teams after Thursday’s second round of the Costa Bassmaster High School National Championship held on Kentucky Lake.
Heintze and Watts added to their first-day lead with a solid second-day catch weighing 23 pounds, 4 ounces for a two-day total of 43-14.
Their Thursday catch is the top single-day weight of the tournament and is more than 10 pounds better than the second-place team of Cole Moore and Casey Haymon from Anacoco High, who came in at 34-7.
Cade Fortenberry and Braden Blanchard, a team from St. Amant, are in third at 34-1.
Heintze and Watts didn’t reveal their tactics, only saying that they’re using “... an obscure technique” for their big lead, and added that what they are doing on Kentucky Lake will surprise local experts and touring pros alike.
“Kentucky Lake is the No. 1 ledge-fishing lake in the nation,” said Heintze, a 16-year-old junior from Denham Springs. “That’s what just about everyone else is doing this week.”
Fishing the lake’s signature main-river channel dropoffs is not remotely part of their strategy. Take a cue from their south Louisiana roots.
“We don’t fish ledges back home because they don’t exist,” added Watts, 15. “We only fish in shallow water, and that’s what is working for us here, too.”
Heintze said they have stayed in thre same are for two days, that the team had their five-bass limit by 9:30 a.m. Wednesday and worked their second limit Thursday morning.
The team of Casey Trosclair and Levi Areno from Sulphur High were in seventh place, giving the Louisiana four teams in the top 10 among the 134 teams that qualified for the nationals.
The top 10 teams have Friday off and wait for the 11th through 50th place teams to compete for two spots in Saturday’s final round.
Friday the Top 10 teams have the day off. Teams ranked 11th through 50th places will fish at Carroll County Thousand Acre Recreational Lake. The two highest finishing teams from Friday will join the Top 10 for the final day Saturday on Kentucky Lake.
Teams are competing for $75,000 in scholarships and prizes. Schools participating in the B.A.S.S. Nation High School program were eligible to qualify two-angler teams for the championship. Teams also qualified through B.A.S.S. regional events and sanctioned affiliate tournament trails.
Saturday’s weigh-in is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. and will be carried live on the Bassmaster website at bassmaster.com.