If there’s one thing Christopher Capdeboscq and Sam Acosta have proved this year, it’s they can hold their own with the peers on most any waters.
The Slidell-based Northlake Christian School team finished fourth in last weekend’s 300-team Bassmaster High School National Championship held on Kentucky Lake near Paris, Tennessee.
Their three-day total weighed 37 pounds, 14 ounces, and moved them from ninth to fourth place on the final day.
Grayson Morris and Tucker Smith, members of a Briarwood Christian School from Birmingham, Alabama, repeated their 2018 win by catching 50 pounds, 1 ounce over the three days. Morris recently graduated and grew up in the Baton Rouge area before moving to Briarwood. It’s the first time a team successfully defended their national championship.
State B.A.S.S. Youth director Gene Hoover reported Briarwood Academy had a helping hand in the Capdeboscq-Acosta finish, a standing earning each slightly more than $1,500 in scholarship funds.
“They had a breakdown a long distance from the weigh-in site, then lost most of their rods on Day 2 after a near-miss minor accident with a yacht,” Hoover said. “On Day 3, one of the anglers from Briarwood Christian School not only loaned them some of their rods, but also their Nitro bass boat for the final day.”
The winning team earned a $4,500 a scholarship, then received another $875 in scholarship money for “the Big Bag of the Tournament.” This was a bonus with a Louisiana twist.
“The ($875) was originally awarded to Hunter Owens, a Natchitoches Central High School student, who was part of the tandem that finished fourth in last year’s high school championship. Owens was killed in a car accident earlier this year and B.A.S.S. wanted to award the unused scholarship to a deserving team,” Hoover said. “It was decided, before the 2019 championship, to have Hunter’s parents present the money to the duo with the heaviest bag this week on Kentucky Lake.”
Louisiana sent 16 qualifying teams to the championship.
For the young-than-high schoolers, there was the National Junior Bassmasters Championship held on Carroll County Lake in Huntingdon, Tennessee, near the High School tournament.
Eric Stelly and Camron Jones from Lafourche Junior Bassmasters finished 41st and Caden Sellers and Jackson Rogers from the Denham Springs-based Junior Southwest Bassmasters came in 44th from among the more than 100 teams representing 32 states.
Complete high school and junior tournaments results are available on the Bassmaster website: www.bassmaster.com.
While recreational fishermen have had a great time offshore this summer — save for the two rough-weather weekends — catches since the May 24 opening of the red snapper season are lagging behind their 2018 efforts.
The latest LA Creel data released earlier this week shows the private recreational and state charterboat catch totals hit 528,994 pounds or near 65 percent of this years allocation of 816,439 pounds. The numbers are through July 28 and include the Grand Isle Tarpon and the Faux Pas Lodge rodeos, which were fished in less-than-ideal weather and sea conditions.
Through July 29, 2018, LA Creel’s data showed a recreational take at 651,495 pounds, or 87 percent of what was then a 743,000-pound allowed catch for this sector. It was at this time last year when the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission nixed the seven-day season and went to a weekends-only allowed catch for red snapper. This move extended the season through the Labor Day weekend, and Louisiana finished near 5,000 pounds shy of hitting the 2018 allowed catch target.
State Marine Fisheries Section biologists and managers will continue to collect data and will recommend a closure to the weekends-only season when fishermen neat the 2019 allocation. The only four-day weekend remaining is the Friday-through-Monday Labor Day holiday.
The table of weekly catch data is available on the Wildlife and Fisheries website: wlf.louisiana.gov/red-snapper.
State LA Creel personnel also are asking offshore fishermen to voluntarily participate in an electronic reporting program to “improve recreational harvest data collection.” You can link reporting to Recreational Offshore Landing Permit apps for Android and iPhone devices.