MANY — One of the Teche Area’s young guns in competitive bass fishing has qualified to fish as a co-angler in the B.A.S.S. Nation Regional tournament in 2021.
Hunter Neuville, a senior at Highland Baptist Christian School in New Iberia, where he founded the HBCS Fishing Team in 2017, reeled in enough bass Sept. 25-26 in the Louisiana B.A.S.S. Nation Fall Qualifier at Toledo Bend to make it to regionals.
The 17-year-old Loreauville bass angler finished eighth overall in the co-angler standings with 864 points to earn a berth on the Louisiana B.A.S.S. Nation State Team. One of his high school fishing buddies, recently graduated Connor Rushing of Central High School, was sixth in the point standings with 871.
“It was nice to make the team when I’ve had all kinds of bad stuff happen this year,” he said, citing lower unit troubles on his boat’s outboard motor and a breakdown in the boat he was riding in Sept. 12 at a Louisiana High School Bass Fishing East Qualifier tournament out of Stephensville, among other setbacks in a year “full of ups and downs.”
Team Louisiana, both boaters and co-anglers, will fish the regional tournament on a date and at a site to be named later. Neuville made the co-angler cut along with fellow Atchafalaya Bassmasters member Brandon Sanchez and St. Mary’s Bassmaster Hayden Pinho.
“I’m looking forward to it. No telling where it’ll be at but I’m pretty sure it’ll be out of state. I don’t know where yet,” he said.
Neuville, who fishes the Wednesday Night Hawg Fights Bass Tournament Series, as well as high school bass tournaments, admitted he was nervous and had pretournament jitters before Sept. 25.
“Yeah, kind of, because it (the fishing) was tough and a lot of people weren’t on fish. I just hoped I’d be with someone who was around fish. I got lucky enough each day to draw boaters who were around fish,” he said.
His “boater” the first day was Justin Hymel with the Louisiana Bassholes. He drew Ross Roper with the Grandpoint Bassmasters, who nailed down the 12th and final qualifying boater spot for the 2021 B.A.S.S. Nation Regional, on Day 2.
St. Martinville’s Braxton Resweber finished seventh in the boater division with 873 points to qualify for the B.A.S.S. Nation Regional.
Neuville caught one, a 2.07-pounder, and missed one the first day. He came back the second day to hook and boat two for 2.97 pounds but one he estimated at 2 ½ to 3 pounds broke his line just as the bass neared the boat.
Frayed line was the culprit, he said about the one that got away Saturday.
“We were fishing a brushpile. I had been wanting to retie because my line was frayed. I had the 2 1/2 -3 at the side of the boat and the line snapped,” he said.
He caught his lone keeper bass the first day on a white Zara Spook. He used a drop shot to catch his two keepers on Saturday.
The son of Tony and Donna Neuville was far from satisfied with his outing at Toledo Bend.
“I should have finished way better than I did both days. I definitely had keeper bites,” he said.
Neuville finished 26th in the Louisiana B.A.S.S. Nation Spring Qualifier, a tournament held out of the Berwick Public Landing.