It’s not unheard of for people to walk, jog, bike or even play frisbee golf out at City Park in New Orleans and have had a run into … wait for it … me, Gary Alipio fishing.
Come every February to late fall September or October, you’re likely to see my social media posts about my casual run ins with largemouth bass in New Orleans City Park while fishing morning, mid-day or at dusk (my personal favorite).
However, 2023 was a bucket list year I hadn’t even thought of.
The bucket list?
I started a fishing club (along with Coach Philip) at an all-girls high school where I work at Academy of the Sacred Heart, and we then competed in the City Park Big Bass Rodeo High School Battle for the Bass competition.
I thought maybe 1 or 2 students might be into it. For the club, we had as many as 17 in meetings. For the team, we fished with as many as 7 as a team.
As it turned out, in Sacred Heart’s first New Orleans City Park Big Bass Rodeo, on Saturday, March 25, 2023, we fished two teams of three (max for each team is 5 participants). So we divided up, and both fishing teams of three competitors each weighed in largemouth bass on the day. Rumor on the day was that as many as ten teams didn’t even catch a bass.
Better yet, one Sacred Heart bass was caught 20 minutes just before the weigh-in bell, courtesy Isabell D ’24. The biggest bass on the day for Sacred Heart … 2.69 lbs. and is a school record … so far.
Overall on the day, 30 High School teams from around southeast Louisiana competed, and Sacred Heart’s all-girls team finished in the Top 10 (1 lb. away from third place in our first year). Congrats, Cardinal anglers !!!
The one-day event, hosted by City Park Conservancy and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), is a family-friendly freshwater fishing competition – the oldest tournament of its kind in the United States.
“It’s been a whale of a ride watching everyone catch their first largemouth bass … and right here in City Park,” said Coach Gary. “The look on their faces when they realized there are actual fish, and not just any fish, but largemouth bass in City Park. Priceless.”
Until next time when I’ll put a fishing pole in your hand and revel when you catch your first City Park Largemouth Bass … Fish on, PEACE!!!!