Bossier duo sets five-fish high school bass tournament record

(Left to right) Mason McCormick, captain Bradley Virgillito and Alexis Virgillito hold up the team's five bass weighing 37.13 pounds March 18 at Caney Lake.

Two Bossier Parish bass anglers rewrote the high school bass fishing record for a five-bass limit March 18 at Caney Lake. Mason McCormick and Alexis Virgillito carried five bass to the digital scale for the Louisiana High School Bass Nation. Their catch weighed 37.13 pounds, including a 9.22-pounder.

“A 37-pound stringer,” McCormick said. “It was surreal to be honest.”

They never quit trying to upgrade, he said, then explained, “I was saying all the time, as easy as it was for us to catch, I knew it would be as easy for others. Yeah. It was stressful.”

Adding to stress down the stretch was the health of all those hawgs. The livewell was stuffed. The 9-pounder and the heaviest 7 on one side. The other two 7-plusses and a 4+ pound bass were on the other.

“Once we caught our last fish at 3 o’clock, I saw in the livewell one fish was stressed out. She was up high,” he said, so they checked in 45 minutes early.

Virgilitto attends Parkway High School while McCormick is a senior at Byrd High School. They teamed up for the third time with Bossier Parish High School Fishing. When they left that bitterly cold morning, unbeknownst to them, they were the team to beat.

“I knew from our practice days we were going to catch them, but I didn’t think it’d be that big of a bag. I’m happy,” Virgillito said. “When we saw the fish in practice, they looked like 4- and 5-pounders. But, no, they definitely were not. I’m glad they weren’t.”

The digital scale weighed them at 9.22, 7.92, 7.82, 7.72 and 4.75 pounds.

Pre-fishing trip is a good one

Virgillito’s father, Bradley Virgillito, was their captain. He also captains his daughter and Taylor Baycot, who stunned the high school bass fishing world last March with their 30-pound, 3-ounce limit in a Louisiana The Bass Federation High School State Championship.

He watched Alexis Virgillito and McCormick sack up bigger bass one year later on Caney. They found bedding bass while pre-fishing Wednesday and, after Thursday’s stormy weather, went again and marked them with waypoints Friday.

“It didn’t hurt we started the day off with a 9-pounder,” McCormick said after he boated a small male, a 1-pounder, first. After 30 casts to the big bedding bass he picked up Bradley Virgillito’s baitcasting combo, cast and retrieved a chartreuse/white spinnerbait that did the trick. The 9.22-pounder bit at 8:30 a.m.

“The fight was crazy hectic because it was a left-handed reel and my hands were still cold so I had to hold the reel handle with my entire fist,” McCormick said. He worked it carefully to a waiting landing net.

“When he first hooked the fish, I didn’t really think it was that big,” Alexis Virgillito said. “When I netted it, I thought, ‘Oh my gosh. It’s going to be our day. We’re going to catch them.'”

A good run

And how.

“When we left our first spot about 10 o’clock, we had about 28 pounds. It was all uphill from there. We still caught another 7 ½ and 4 1/2,” McCormick said. He probably was most proud of the 4.75 pounder his younger teammate caught off a bed. She was frustrated, he said, especially after catching a male first, missing the female, catching the male again, then hooking the 4.75.

“It was so cool,” he said.

She said, “When I caught the male the second time, I was mad, like, ‘Why’d you bite again?’ I was so mad.”

That last bass and total weight cooled her off and amazed the crowd.

About Don Shoopman 563 Articles
Don Shoopman fishes for freshwater and saltwater species mostly in and around the Atchafalaya Basin and Vermilion Bay. He moved to the Sportsman’s Paradise in 1976, and he and his wife June live in New Iberia. They have two grown sons.