Central High graduate notches LBA win with a 19-pound limit in the Basin

Connor Rushing of Central, right, with help from his father, Larry, holds bass he weighed Jan. 24 to win the first Louisiana Bass Anglers tournament of 2021. The younger Rushing, 18, fished alone and topped the 27-boat field with 19.41 pounds.

MYETTE POINT — A crank bait and a jerkbait helped a Central bass angler win the Louisiana Bass Anglers regular-season opener Jan. 23 in the Atchafalaya Basin.

Connor Rushing, who recently graduated from Central High School — where he was an accomplished “stick” on the fishing team — traveled two hours from home to fish the Centerville-based bass club’s first tournament of 2021. He made a lasting impression when he came back to Myette Point Boat Landing with a five-bass limit weighing a whopping 19.41 pounds.

The 18-year-old friend of Loreauville’s Hunter Neuville, an LBA member and up-and-coming high school bass angler at Highland Baptist Christian School, overcame a slow start to the day and finished with a bang, despite missing a 3-pound class bass.

“I had a pretty good feeling. I FaceTimed my mom and dad,” he said, noting he did that in mid-afternoon to give them time to drive to St. Mary Parish for the weigh-in for the 27-boat field fishing the Teche Area’s largest and most competitive bass club.

Why compete in a bass club two hours away?

“I like fishing everything I can,” he said, noting he joined the LBA hoping to squeeze in as many of the bass club’s tournaments as possible this year while concentrating on three Bassmaster Central Opens, Fishers of Men tournaments and Media Bass tournaments. Neuville already had asked if they could pair up and fish tournaments at Toledo Bend and Lake Sam Rayburn.

Rushing, who works at Front to Back Boat Service, arrived Friday and stayed overnight with his friend in Loreauville. His prefishing the day before left much to be desired, so he winged it.

“I had a starting spot in mind. I only had one keeper. I just started running around to canals with good water,” he said.

He caught 10-15 keeper bass and culled four or five times, he said, mostly on a crawfish-colored crank bait and a gold/orange Rogie.

His first impressions with the Centerville-based bass club were ultra-positive, he said.

“The members, they’re all really friendly. I think every single one of them came up and congratulated me. And I felt welcome,” Rushing said.

Following Rushing on the leaderboard that Saturday were Guy Badeaux of New Iberia and Braden Gaspard of Centerville, who teamed up and culled to a five-bass limit weighing 14.42 pounds. Badeaux was fishing his first bass tournament since 2012, according to Louisiana Bass Anglers member Bubbie Lopez.

Levi Louviere and Mark Businelle finished third with 12.89 pounds. Fourth place was nailed down by Seth Comeaux and Gerald Buck Jr. with 12.52 pounds.

The bass club’s 2020 Angler of the Year, Dicky Fitzgerald, and Matt Hebert checked in with the biggest bass of the day, a 5.26-pounder, which Fitzgerald reportedly caught on a popping frog.

The bass club’s next tournament is Feb. 20.

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