Reader Report: Stranger steps in to help high school angler in need

Dino Hunstock of Monterey volunteered to captain for the weekend so Travis would be able to compete in the state championship. (Photos courtesy Kylee Becnel)

I am on the St. James High School fishing team in Vacherie, La. I qualified for the Louisiana High School Bass Fishing State Championship in October 2023 along with my partner, Jaxx Williams, in Shreveport.

On April 30, my captain contacted me to say that he would not be available for my tournament. I decided to reach out on social media to see if anyone could help me find a new captain. I asked on Facebook, “Can anyone bring me to state for Louisiana High School Bass Fishing in Lake Charles?”

Some of my leads fell through, but I remained positive.

I had to fish the tournament alone because my partner could not attend. With the odds against me, I knew this would be a hard tournament, but I still wanted to try. I didn’t give up hope.

Travis Becnel finished the Louisiana High School Bass Fishing tournament on May 5 in 5th place out of 147 boats.

Then Mr. Dino Hunstock and his wife, Kristy, drove 3 hours to help a student angler who needed a captain. Mr. Dino’s love for helping kids made him come to the rescue. He jumped in his truck, hitched his boat, and set his GPS to Lake Charles to assist a boy in need that he had never met.

He arrived in Lake Charles on Friday evening and said “I gave you my word and I’m here.”

We jumped into action about what we needed to do to prepare for the tournament since it was the next day.

The next morning, we left at 3:30 a.m. on uncharted territory and fished until 4:15 p.m. The first day I caught 5 fish, my limit weighing 5.24 pounds. On Sunday, the last day of the tournament, the weather was not permitting, which caused a delay. I successfully reached my limit that day also.

I finished the tournament with a total weight of 11.73 pounds and placed 5th place out of 147 boats.

Throughout the obstacles that I was faced with, I persevered. God sent me the captain I needed for the job. My angel on the bayou, Mr. Dino Hunstock. I have made new lifetime friendships and showed the world that humanity still exists.

-Travis Becnel