Freshmen Hamilton, Morris making their mark on college bassin’

Hunter Hamilton, left, and Tyler Morris, freshmen on the LSU-S Fishing Team, hoist the five bass that won the second Louisiana College Series B.A.S.S. Nation tournament in February at Bayou Black Lake.

!!!!One of the youngest collegiate bass fishing teams in a Louisiana College Series B.A.S.S. Nation Series tournament in February won a nerve-wracking game of lost-and-found at Bayou Black Lake.

Hunter Hamilton of Bossier City, a freshman at LSU-Shreveport, found quality bass coveted in tournaments approximately 3 weeks earlier. The fish were staging on the last break before committing to the shallows. Hamilton and Tyler Morris of Port Allen, another LSU-S freshman, had bass where they wanted them for the tournament Feb. 24.

Hamilton, 19, who enjoyed a standout four-year bass fishing stint at Parkview Baptist School, pre-fished the week before the tournament. To his chagrin, warm weather before the tournament apparently triggered bass to go shallow to spawn.

“The prior warming trend scared me,” Hamilton said. Staging bass he located had left for the most part.

“Me and Tyler kind of made a decision we were going to practice Wednesday afternoon (before the tournament),” he said. “We checked a few spots, but the fish were gone.”

They probed shallower depths, ran into the bass again, then waited for the event.

“Tyler goes, ‘Are we going to win the tournament?’ I said, ‘I’d like to.’ He said, ‘No. We are going to win the tournament,’” Hamilton said. No truer words have been spoken. On tournament day the first two bass boated weighed 2 ½ and 6.

Tyler Morris caught these two 5-pound bass in early March while fishing Toledo Bend. He fishes as a freshman at LSU-S.

The LSU-S Pilots freshmen got four more good ones for a limit weighing 30.40 pounds, including the kicker fish, a 9.44-pounder caught off a duck blind by Morris. Their smallest bass weighed 4.15. All were caught on 6-inch Berkley CullShads, Morris said.

They topped a 36-boat field of Louisiana college teams to add a highlight to their bass careers dating back to when Hamilton fished at Parkview Baptist School while Morris, 18, fished with Catholic High School-Baton Rouge. The two became friends as sophomores, then fished benefit events and Fishers of Men.

Big influences

Hamilton, the son of Matthew and Courtney Hamilton, and his high school partner qualified for three national tournaments, notching their highest finish — 29th — on the Mississippi River at LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

“My dad kind of introduced me to pond fishing” at the family camp in Mississippi, Hamilton said. As a freshman, he asked the principal if he could start a high school fishing team, followed advice to get a faculty member to coach and found Daniel McCulloch.

“He (McCulloch) was a big influence in high school fishing” Hamilton said, adding so was his partner in high school, Noah Higgins. He tipped his cap to his dad, who captained the team throughout high school.

The business marketing major relies on a Missile Baits D Bomb.

“I’ve caught fish on it from Wisconsin to Florida,” he said. “I tell you for sure, D Bombs work anywhere.”

Hunter Hamilton proudly grips the lip of a 5-pound class bass he caught while he was in middle school.

A Super Bug-colored D Bomb is what he taps bass with at False River, his favorite body of water in May. That and a watermelon/red or tilapia trick worm on a drop shot rig account for many bass on the New Roads side, he said, where he works deeper pilings on boat docks.

As for his future, he said, “I would love to fish professionally. If I can’t, I’d love to get a job in the fishing industry.”

Coach Thompson

Hamilton and Morris jumped at the offer to fish for LSU-S, under coach Charles Thompson. They weren’t intimidated by the quality “sticks” already on the fishing team.

“I knew Coach Charles only took a select few to come here,” Morris said. “When he gave me the opportunity to come to LSU-S that basically proved to me I could compete at that level and with everybody there, all these good fishermen he brings to the program.”

The business finance major also qualified for multiple national tournaments as a high schooler, the first two years with Connor Hebert and the remaining years with Max Himmel. Hebert’s dad, Ryan Hebert, was captain while Himmel’s dad, Chad Himmel, also captained.

Morris, the son of Bobby and Melissa Morris, is a forward-facing sonar aficionado, successfully fishing deep with jerkbaits and drop shotted Zoom Finesse Worms, especially at his favorite May body of water, False River. He probes the shallows with a Z-Man Chatterbait.

About Don Shoopman 560 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.