High school student reels in fish of a lifetime
Monday, May 2, was a school day. But Parkview High junior Hunter Hamilton turned in his work early, got his parents’ permission and stayed in north Louisiana an extra day even though it meant missing classes.
And man, is he glad he did. Hamilton fished the 2022 Louisiana Youth Bass Nation State Championship on the Ouachita River over the weekend and while he got off to a fast start, he didn’t do as well as he hoped. He was kind of down, but he thought a day on Bussey Brake right up the road at Bastrop might turn things around.
It did. Not long into the morning, Hamilton flipped his bait into a thick piece of brush on the 2,200 acre Morehouse Parish lake and pulled out a 12.63-pound fish of a lifetime. He was flipping a Zematoma color Missle bait D-bomb with a Rougarou Tungsten Voodoo Series weight. He tossed the bait into the heavy cover, lifted it and let it fall. He repeated the action and the second lift, the huge fish nailed it.
“Before I knew it I felt something pulling back like I’ve never felt before,” the 17-year-old member of the Parkview Bass Team said. “I had 65-pound braid and when I set the hook, the fish didn’t even move. Oh my gosh. I thought I had a huge carp or something. Then it swam away, I could do nothing even with a heavy rod. I finally turned her. When she came up and we saw the fish’s huge mouth, my fishing partner for the day, Justin Paul Bailey, said it was a 10-pounder. When he lipped her a few minutes later and got her in the boat, we knew she was way bigger than that.”
Bussey Brake delivers
They put the fish on the scales and she hit 12.63. They put it in the livewell to let it calm down a few minutes, while they did the same.
“Oh, man, we were all just freaking out,” he said, including his dad, Matthew, who was also in the boat. “It was a pretty memorable day for sure.”
The day started out with Bailey catching a four pounder right after they stopped. Hamilton pitched in the same spot and caught one about two pounds. As he tossed it back in the lake, he thought to himself, “Well, I’ve caught a bass at Bussey Brake. I’m cool with that.”
Needless to say, there was more “cool” to come. After the fish settled down, they took it out of the livewell, measured it, took a few pictures and let her swim right back into the same bush she came from. It was obvious from the fish’s tail and her fairly flat belly that she had already spawned out. She could have weighed another pound or two just a week or so earlier.
A welcome invitation
Bailey is part-owner of Rougarou Tackle and the elder Matthew Hamilton is on his Pro Staff staff. He had asked Bailey to go to Bussey with them and he was delighted.
“We started the morning with a bang,” Bailey said. “We launched Hunter’s boat, but he had forgotten to put put the plug in so we had to handle that. He had a waypoint saved that a friend had given him. I looked at his phone and said let’s go. Because it’s the same place I would start. When we dropped the trolling motor, on my third flip I caught a four-plus and he caught the two. Things slowed down. It was about 30 minutes later when Hunter set the hook on the fish of a lifetime.”
Friends have FOMO
Hunter said he’s going to be in a bit of trouble when he gets back to school. Not with his teachers, mind you. It will be with his fishing buddies.
“Oh man. I was texting them and sending pictures to them right after I caught it while they were at school,” he said. “They were like ‘that’s not fair’ and so I know I’ll have to watch out when I get back. Some of the seniors just have a couple of days left and they were wanting to know right where I caught it.”
Besides the Missle D-bomb and Rougaroo weight, Hamilton was fishing Power Pro line on a Shimando Curado reel and a Dobyns Fury heavy action rod.
He and fellow bass friends had watched online much of the Major League Fishing pro bass tournament on Bussey earlier this spring and he had been wanting to fish those waters. Hamilton said it won’t be his last trip up to the north Louisiana lake and next time, he’ll probably have company.