In March 19, 2023, the Bossier Parish High School Bass Team hit Caney Lake, located in Jonesboro, and made their mark on the Louisiana High School BASS Nation circuit. Fishing the “Hawgfest” tournament on Caney Lake, Mason McCormick, 18, and Alexis Virgillito, 15, caught the heaviest stringer ever recorded in a high-school fishing tournament. Anchored by a 9.22-pound largemouth bass, their five-stringer weighed a staggering 37.13 pounds, beating out the second-place stringer by more than 13 pounds. Winning the qualifying tournament in Louisiana also secured the team’s spot at the league’s National Championship tournament later this year.
Alexis attends Parkway High School, while Mason is a senior at C.E. Byrd High School. This was the third time with Bossier Parish High School Fishing they had teamed up together. When they left that bitterly cold morning, unbeknownst to them, they were the team to beat.
The Bossier Parish Bass Team was captained by Bradley Virgillito, Alexis’ father, who accompanied the pair on the water. According to Bradley, the tournament circuit requires each team to have an adult captain onboard who’s in charge of running the boat. To a certain extent, the captain is allowed to advise the team, but it’s up to the anglers to get the bass in the livewell.
“Team captains like me can advise them where to fish, or with lure selection, but they’re fully in charge of the fishing,” he says.
And fishing they did—all the way to a world record.
But taking the podium with wasn’t the first time Alexis Virgillito made high-school bass fishing history. In March of 2022, while participating in FLW’s Louisiana High School State Fishing Championship, Alexis and her teammate Taylor Bacot brought in a five-bass stringer weighing 30.3 pounds—becoming the first all-female duo to win a high school fishing tournament in any state.
“Last year Alexis and her team partner Taylor Bacot won the FLW Louisiana state high school bass fishing championship, the first all-female team to do so,” Bradley says proudly. “They fished the championship on Pickwick Lake in Tennessee but didn’t place. Just competing on that level is incredible, just like this year will be for Alexis and Mason.”
Bradley says Mason and Alexis are already looking forward to the upcoming National Championships, which will likely take place sometime in September.
Dubbed the unicorn dental office, Miles for Smiles is a mobile dental facility that provides excellent dental care right at the school. By providing on-site care, parents can rest assured that their child is receiving the best dental care and education possible without having to leave the school grounds.
The Miles for Smiles mobile office is equipped with all the top-notch dentistry equipment you’d find in a brick and mortar building so that the MFS Team can perform everything from cleanings to x-rays. They are the only facility that offers mobile dentistry in this area. The services are not free, but they do accept most insurance.
MFS offers dental care and dental education for all students in Caddo, Bossier, and Webster Parishes throughout the entire school year. Mrs. Simms Alexander’s career as an educator and her husband’s career in dentistry began to mesh in 2010 when Dr. Simms Alexander was inspired to bring mobile dentistry to the SBC while working with another mobile school-based facility in Atlanta.
“My role within the company is as an Education Coordinator. I am a former educator and I facilitate the transition between the clinical aspect and the educational aspect. We coordinate and provide resources by partnering with school districts,” says Anneka Simms Alexander, Miles for Smiles Education Coordinator/PR Partner and SRAC board member.
Interested in catching your own bass this summer? Here are a few spots to consider in north Louisiana, as recommended by team captain Bradley Virgillito:
Situated northwest of Louisiana near the Texas border, around 25 miles northwest of Shreveport, Caddo Lake is a perfect answer to where to fish in Louisiana. This lake is home to Caddo Lake State Park and acts as a wildlife management area. Besides fishing, visitors at the state park enjoy hiking, camping, and boating. There are numerous piers and boat launches surrounding the lake, making it easier to fish at your preferred spot. Largemouth bass, catfish, bream, and crappie are among the fish species you can land here.
Grand Bayou Reservoir
Just north of Natchitoches, the Grand Bayou Reservoir holds a large population of trophy largemouth bass. Though only a little longer than three miles, the reservoir has an excessive number of green behemoths swimming through these Western Louisiana waters. While the fishing remains decent all year, the reservoir peaks during the summer months when bass head to the depths of the reservoir’s main channel.
During spring and fall, you’ll find bass roaming the grass beds and tributaries in search of easy prey. The winter yields far less action than the warmer months, but with a deep diving crankbait, anglers can still come back with a respectable catch. Periodically stocked by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries with Florida-strain largemouth bass, the population of green giants is anything but jolly when you throw spinnerbaits in the mix. With an artificial reef close to the dam and some runoff ditches, anglers have several options when searching for a trophy largemouth.
Cypress Bayou Reservoir
Cypress Bayou Reservoir provides a bass angler’s paradise just north of Bossier City. This 3,875-acre reservoir is popular amongst fishermen for a good reason. Although also thick with crappie and catfish, the main attraction for anglers in the reservoir is the robust population of spotted and largemouth bass.
During the colder months, anglers can work the docks with jigs and soft plastics, casting from upstream and dragging the lure past the structure. Late spring through summer finds the bass cruising along the grassy shorelines and shallow flats. Summertime anglers will find the most success during the morning and evening, and then working Carolina rigs hooked with worms or shiners at mid-day. The spring spawn brings excellent catches of crappie, while the topwater bass fishing peaks from April until June.
One of the best times to be on the water in the Cypress Bayou Reservoir is in the fall. Here, the grass and lily pads don’t die off until late in the year, while the cooling water means the fish are transitioning from summer habitats and stocking up for the winter. Anglers can work spinnerbaits and buzzbaits to significant effect while still hitting the deep water with Carolina rigs during the middle of the day.
With many dozens of docks in the southern portion of the reservoir and a northern shoreline marked by channels, islands, and vegetation, anglers have plenty of real estate to fish without running out of options.
The Red River is one of the top-rated bass fishing destinations in Louisiana. There is a red tint in the water—hence the name— and the river has five areas divided by five dam systems. But no matter where you cast a line, you should expect to see great action. The Red River flows 260 miles from northwest Louisiana to central Louisiana and feeds numerous lakes, including Black Lake. Channel catfish, smallmouth bass, northern pike, muskellunge, walleye, mooneye, lake sturgeon, sauger, and bullheads are among the fish species commonly found in the Red River.