Lake Charles team wins Bassmaster High School Central Open

Five La. teams finish in Top 10 and move on to Bassmaster High School Classic

Five Louisiana teams finished in the Top 10 during the Bassmaster High School Central Open held this weekend at Toledo Bend, B.A.S.S. announced.

Hunter Courvelle and Alex Erickson of Sam Houston High School in Lake Charles earned the top prize with a total weight of 23 pounds, 3 ounces. Livingston Parish Bassmasters’ Justin Watts and Alex Heintze just 1 pound behind to clinch the second-place finish.

Other Top 10 Louisiana teams included:

• No. 3: Carter Pourciau and Zach Naquin of Assumption High School with 20-14

• No. 8: Cole Moore and Layken Moore of Anacoco High School with 18-2

• No. 10: Cade Fortenberry and Brennan Edmond of Ascension Anglers with 17-7

The Bassmaster Big Bass Award went to Hunter Martin and Justin Jacob of Lutcher High. Martin landed a largemouth that weighed 8-11.

Courvelle and Erickson had spent so much time in the hot seat their legs may have fallen asleep.

After being among the first few dozen of 181 duos to weigh in, they occupied the top of the leaderboard for nearly two hours. Then with only two duos remaining, 2015 Bassmaster High School national champions Heintze and Watts came to the scales at Cypress Bend Park.

Word was they had a great bag, and they did — but it wasn’t enough to bump the leaders from the pole position.

Courvelle and Erickson’s limit was an ounce shy of the one-day record for a Bassmaster High School event. Livingston Parish’s Watts and Heintze set that mark in 2015 during their national championship win on Kentucky Lake.

“It’s a great feeling,” Erickson said of Toledo Bend win. “We fish here almost every weekend, so we know some of the spots where we should go.”

It was a flat the duo located in practice that they fished Saturday, and it was extremely productive. They were fishing in about 6 to 8 feet of water with watermelon red Carolina-rigged flukes.

They had five keepers in the boat by 9 a.m., and Erickson landed a 7 1/2-pounder to anchor the stringer about 12:30 p.m.

“We fish up here every weekend this time of year,” Erickson said. “It’s about an hour and half drive from home (in Lake Charles). So we see some big bass.”

Toledo Bend is known for lunker bass, and Courvelle said the setup they used in the Central Open was productive for a couple of reasons.

“We were fishing some deeper water and, in the wind, it was easier to use that Carolina-rigged fluke,” he said. “It was about 5 inches long, and it was easier to get it down in the water.”

The pair of high school juniors clinched a spot in the upcoming Bassmaster High School Classic to be held in Houston, Texas, at the end of March in conjunction with the Bassmaster Classic. Courvelle and Erickson also earned $1,500 for their high school bass team with the win.

The Top 5 teams at the Central Open earned spots in the High School Classic, and the Top 19 teams advanced to the Bassmaster High School National Championship to be held this summer.

That means the Louisiana teams of Watts-Heintze and Pourciau-Naquin also will compete in the Classic.

Click here for full standings.