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Lake life

Glad to be back

I’ve never seen Lake D’Arbonne look bad, but it looked really, really good late this weekend when my wife and I returned home after a 24-day road trip touring up through the mountains, though many of the historic places where this great nation was first planned, fought for and founded, then back down the East Coast and home once again, through the mountains.

Two days ago, I woke up looking over the Smoky Mountains and it was 70 degrees at 9 a.m. Wow. What a “warm” welcome we got back here in Louisiana. Enough of that, though. I’ll soon share some of out adventures that have an “outdoor” angle to them, but will get back into the grove of reporting on hunting, fishing and the outdoors in this region. Hope you missed me!

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For starters, in case you haven’t heard, several young men from Louisiana made national news with their fishing prowress this past weekend as the national high school bass fishing champions. We’ve got a lot of great young fishermen in this area, but for some reason nobody has stepped to the plate, organized them and found business sponsors to get them going. Yes, that was a challenge. At the end of this story, there is a contacts in case you are interested. But now, for the news:

MCKENZIE, Tenn. — From start to finish Alex Heintze and Justin Watts of Baton Rouge, La., held the lead at the Costa Bassmaster High School National Championship presented by TNT Fireworks.  Saturday, the Livingston Parish Bassmasters team added a third consecutive 20-plus-pound catch and made the win official. After three days on Kentucky Lake the teenagers caught 66 pounds to win the Costa Bassmaster High School Series’ most elite tournament. Their winning total included daily five-bass limits weighing 20-10, 23-14 and 22-2.

Alex Heintze (middle) and Justin Watts (right), members of the Livingston Parish Bassmasters  win the Costa Bassmaster High School National Championship with a three-day total weight of 66 pounds.

Alex Heintze (middle) and Justin Watts (right), members of the Livingston Parish Bassmasters win the Costa Bassmaster High School National Championship with a three-day total weight of 66 pounds.

How they won is just as impressive as the margin of victory. During summertime the lake is revered for its trophy bass fishing on main-river channel ledges. Big bass school in deep water and are caught in abundance on crankbaits.

The deep-diving lure never factored in the team’s strategy, nor did the lake’s signature ledges. Instead, Heintze and Watts relied on their fishing strengths in south Louisiana’s shallow bayous.

“We didn’t come here to fish the ledges, so we committed to fishing shallow,” said Heintze, 16, a junior at Denham Springs High School. “The lake set up to fish shallow anyway with the water so high.”  The team’s first stop during practice ended the search for bass. Flooded shoreline habitat, the presence of baitfish and inundated ditches attracted enough bass to sustain their strategy for three days.

“The high water was the difference,” said Watts, 15, a sophomore at Live Oak High School. “Without it the fish wouldn’t be there, and I doubt they will be tomorrow.”  He noted the water dropped overnight by 6 inches for the final day’s fishing. The predator bass hid in the brushpiles to ambush baitfish.

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If you want to know more about who to contact about high school bass fishing organization, contact  Helen White at BASS by email, hwhite@bassmaster.com

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BnM Fishing

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