Over the weekend, Natchitoches hosted two major Bassmaster tournaments for college and high school anglers capped by weigh-ins Friday and Sunday at the Grand Ecore landing, hosted by the Red River Waterway Commission.
The Strike King Bassmaster College Series saw 135 teams from colleges and universities in 19 states travel to Natchitoches for two days of competition Thursday and Friday. The Sky King Bassmaster High School Series event and the Bassmaster Junior Series for anglers not yet in high school took place Sunday after a practice day Saturday. It attracted 98 high school and 25 junior teams from seven states.
In the collegiate tournament, LSU Shreveport was by far the top Louisiana performer, landing two of its four teams in the top five on the leaderboard, taking third and fourth places. The high school action saw Haughton High School’s two-man team win a decisive victory. Unfortunately, local entries from NCHS and Magnolia Bend Academy were among the 19 high school teams who were unable to reel in a bass.
These tournaments are a major win for the local economy. This past week saw our city host several hundred visitors as the fishing teams, their friends and families bought gas, stayed at local hotels, and enjoyed our restaurants, shopping, and entertainment.
The tournament staff, the anglers, and their families were unanimous in their praise of the facilities at the RV park and the helpfulness of the city and parish officials and the Red River Waterway Commission.
This tournament is the first Bassmaster event to be hosted in our parish. There’s an unofficial commitment to return in 2025 and a locally-based unaffiliated event is being discussed for next year, which is promising news for local economic impact and young area anglers.