Louisiana youth take to the lake

Shreveport, La. (AP) – Tucked neatly away inside his baby tote,
young John Foster was oblivious to the gore and mayhem going on
around him.

Worms were being pulled from their mulchy homes, crickets got
finger-squashed and catfish were left hanging from hefty hooks
while kids and parents laughed and cheered. What might appear to
the uninformed to be a day of death was little more than fun and
games to the approximately 80 area folks who turned out at the
Cross Lake Fish Hatchery recently for the annual Association of
Louisiana Bass Clubs’ Youth Fishing Tournament.

At 3 months old, Foster was the youngest competitor in the event
by a long shot, although calling him a “competitor” might be an
exaggeration. If being snuggled close to your momma’s chest while
she tosses her hook, line and sinker into the stocked mini pond,
counts as participating, then Foster was there.

“John loves to fish,” mother Lynsie Foster said with a smile.
“He’s already caught a couple, and, wait, here’s another little
bream.”

His father recently returned from an Army tour in Iraq and
didn’t make the event.

The ALBC youngsters could weigh-in up to five fish with awards
given to the top weights in several age categories. Everyone fished
until about 10 a.m., then were treated to a lunch. Each young
angler received an ALBC trophy whether they caught fish or not.

Not far down the bank 7-year-old Caden Hearron was hauling in
big catfish with chunks of hot dog he was more than willing to
install on his hook himself. When the fishing got slow, he also had
a ready-made snack.

“I really like fishing and I’ve caught four already with the
biggest weighing 2.35 pounds,” Hearron said without running out of
breath. “I go fishing about once a week on Mr. Brian’s pond.”

Hearron’s sister, 5-year-old Landry, landed four fish on her
pink, blue and green Barbie rod and reel combo that appeared more
for display than functionality.

Landry’s stringer was topped by Kensi Shaw, 12, of Logansport,
who was carted to the event by some friends.

“I’ve caught my limit (five) and they weighed 9.03 pounds, which
was the biggest at the time,” Shaw said. “I don’t know if it’ll
hold up.”

The event attracted a large number of volunteer workers both
from the ALBC and from Bass Life Associates, Inc., a major sponsor
of the event.

Included among the workers was LaWade Ferguson who was accused
of spending more time fishing than in training others to fish.

“I trained all those kids over there,” Ferguson said pointing to
the far side of two ponds. “Those kids wouldn’t be catching fish if
it weren’t for me. I’m just taking a little break and practicing my
techniques.”

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