Four fishing teams from Ascension are headed to Tennessee this week for the 2017 Costa Bassmaster High School National Championship. The Ascension Anglers, comprised of eight high school students from Dutchtown and St. Amant High Schools, will be joining nearly 200 others teams from around the country to compete for a shot at earning a fishing scholarship.
The four Ascension teams consist of Sam Bergeron and Andres Barletta, Caleb Mayers and Dane Balfantz, Grant Bourque and Ethan Smart, and Cade Fortenberry and Brennan Edmond. Over the course of the weekend, these fishing enthusiasts will be searching for Largemouth, Spotted and Kentucky Bass, 15 inches or more long. Each team will try to catch five of the biggest fish in their allotted time period. The heaviest weigh-ins over a two day period will make it into the final day.
The top 12 teams are guaranteed to each win a $1000 fishing scholarship, with the winner earning a full paid scholarship to Bethel University in McKenzie, Tenn.
Team boat captain Terry Bergeron said there are 23 teams representing Louisiana at the tournament this week. In order for teams to make it to the championship they would have to either be the finishing team in a bass trail tournament, have fished in a regional event held in March in Toledo Bend or have been one of the top teams at the state tournament in April.
Bergeron, whose son is one of the anglers in the competition, hopes to eventually get the Ascension Parish School Board to recognize fishing as an approved school activity
"We are hoping that through the success of these boy and the past, that they will see that this is an opportunity for the kids to learn and have an opportunity for college scholarships," he said. "That's what this is all about.
We are ready to get up there and represent Louisiana and Ascension. It's about making Ascension proud."