With 215 teams from across the eastern United States in the field, it’s a feat of giant proportions to come away with victory.
That’s what Christopher Capdeboscq and Sam Acosta did last Friday, and they did it on “foreign” waters and did it by the slimmest of margins.
After two successful midweek days on Alabama’s Pickwick Lake, the Northlake Christian School teammates hooked up on only three “keeper” bass weighing 9 pounds, 7 ounces during Friday’s final day to win the TBF/FLW High School Fishing National Championship.
Their three-day total of 35-12 edged the 35-11 total taken by team of Colin McCullough and Justin Hamlin from nearby Cedar Bluff High School in Alabama.
Capdeboscq and Acosta claimed the top prize, each winning a four-year $40,000 scholarship to Kentucky Christian.
Like most bass tournaments, the key was adapting to changing conditions, and Friday’s conditions changed.
Capdeboscq told the FLW crew Friday’s near calm and sun-filled morning proved a challenge to catch the fish they’d caught the first two windy, cloudy days.
“We had a really good 1-2 punch going this week, which was good for whether the bite was on fire or it was slow,” Capdeboscq said. “Sam was dragging a ¾-ounce Strike King Jointed Structure Head with a Zoom Magnum Trick Worm and I was deep cranking with a 6th Sense Cloud 9 C20. The crankbait would get them fired up when they were feeling it and it would catch all the big ones.”
Another trick, Capdeboscq said, was using lighter-than-normal 12-pound (Seaguar fluorocarbon) to get max depth from the crankbait.
Trick No. 3 was, Capdeboscq said, was to target areas where bass would have seen little fishing activity: “Everybody’s fishing ledges this time of year, so we just tried to find stuff that got less pressure. Creek intersections, main river ledges. I’ve never practiced so hard for a tournament, but we found enough stuff to get us by and that’s what we did.”
Other Louisiana teams finishing among the top 25 included Benton High’s Peyton Grantham and Tanner Underwood (12th, 21-6); Louisiana SAF’s Hayden Farmer and Dylan Guillory (16th, 20-6); and, Many High’s Stone Adair and Jacob Cosenza (21st, 19-12).
The Carhartt Bassmaster College Series took a mostly southern field to Waddington, New York, to compete on the St. Lawrence River, and it was a southern team, Sam Houston State’s Jackson Carrell and Bryton Kurtz — after a one-way, 1,700-mile adventure — to come out on top in the 149-team tournament.
Carrell and Kurtz came from third place after the second day to finish with 15 mostly smallmouth bass weighing an impressive 72-13 in this year’s fourth and final regular-season event. They earned a spot in the nationals set Aug. 1-3 on Chickamauga Lake in Tennessee.
Equally as impressive was the first day’s 149-team total of 3,031-3, which was near 600 pounds heavier than the previous one-day record, the 2,439-1 at Arkansas’ Bull Shoals in April.
No Louisiana teams finished among the leaders.
Caleb Sumrall, the young New Iberia angler, finished with a solid final two days to place fourth in the Bassmaster Elite Series held on Alabama’s heralded Lake Guntersville over the weekend.
Sumrall started well with 20 pounds, 2 ounces on the first day, but stumbled a bit with a 16-10 catch in Round 2. He jumped into sixth place with a 20-13 catch Sunday, a move getting him into the top 10 for Monday’s final round.
His 20-1 catch moved him into fourth place at the finish with a 77-10 total, a $15,000 payday. Sumrall was Louisiana’s top angler among the seven from the Pelican State.
New Yorker Jamie Hartman, with a 79-10 total, took the $100,000 first-place check.
After test samples showed the presence of small white shrimp moving into the state’s inside waters, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced a 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 28 closure for the spring inshore shrimp season in all state inshore waters.
The lone exception is “the open waters of the Louisiana portion of Mississippi Sound and the open waters of Breton and Chandeleur Sounds as bounded by the double-rig line.”
All state outside waters also will remain open to shrimping until further notice.
The full announcement, including restrictions, and maps outlining the closed areas are available on the LDWF’s website: wlf.louisiana.gov. Go to “latest news” and click on the closure release.