Gossett wins 10th state championship
by LAVONTE YOUNG
RIVERSIDE –— Zeke Gossett won the FLW/TBF high school state fishing tournament Saturday afternoon on Neely Henry Lake in Gadsden.

“It is a great feeling,” Gossett said. “Anytime you win as high as state champion, you are really going to get recognized, and it is an awesome thing.”

The win gives Gossett his 10th career state championship.

“They all feel special,” Gossett said. “All of them have their certain things.”

Gossett and his partner, Ryan Shields, caught five fish, which weighed a total of 16.3 pounds.

“I put in a lot of hard work, and it ended up paying off at the end,”

Gossett said. “I really wanted to win this one. My buddy Ryan Shields and me are real good friends, and we work well together in the boat. It was only a matter of time before we won that tournament.”

The water levels on Lake Neely Henry made fishing difficult, but Gossett and Shields were able to find a good spot to catch fish.

“Last week, it was funny conditions,” Gossett said. “That lake up river

stays kind of flooded. The lower end the water won’t get down there, and it would be a foot low of water level. It was a foot below full pool.

“It was just weird down there. It was screwing up the fish, I think, because they didn’t know to get up shallow, because that is where they want to be right now. That fluctuating water, they were just moving in and out. We ended up catching them up shallow.”

Gossett said knowledge of the lake allowed Shields and him to know the best spot to catch fish.

“We caught them all day,” Gossett said. “I think we ended up catching 10, 11 fish, and we just had five good bites. The rest of them weren’t really good. We persevered and we knew where the fish were. We knew we were going to get the bites if we stayed there.”

With the win, Gossett and Shields will move on to the Southeast Championship at Lake Lanier in Georgia in October.

On May 18, Gossett finished second in the Timmy Horton High School Bass

Anglers Challenge on the Pickwick Lake in North Alabama.

“That was a fun one,” Gossett said. “It was awesome. I won $2,500 in

scholarships with no entry fee for that tournament. It was awesome.”

Gossett caught five fish totaling 15.72 pounds. His biggest fish of the day was 5.41 pounds. The Cropwell native said he caught his keepers early in the day. “It was pretty much cloudy all day and foggy all morning,” Gossett said. “I ended up catching on top water. It was probably 75 degrees, and the water temperature was about 69 degrees. I pretty much caught fish all day, but the five kept where in between 8:30-9:30 a.m.”

Gossett felt like he had a chance to win the tournament, but he was able to get the bites that he needed.

“I wanted to win,” Gossett said. “I didn’t have the fish to win. They kind of jumped over the bait and never came back and ate it again. If everything would have bite and came in the boat I would have won.”

Gossett’s next big tournament is the Alabama Sports Festival on June 21-23.

Gossett said it takes a lot of time and dedication to be successful angler. Gossett said he only had nine weekends free last year.

”I think I have busier this year than last year,” Gossett said. “I probably fished in more tournaments this year than ever. If you count these, I fished in like 60 tournaments. There are 52 weeks in a year, and I fished in 47 tournaments. I love it so much.

“It is not hard for me to wake up at 3 a.m. to go fishing. Everybody needs a break some times, and I take a day or two off, but that’s all I do is fish. I don’t do anything else. People ask me what I do in my spare time and I tell them I have none. I go fishing all of the time.”

Gossett thanked his sponsors for all their support: Strike King, Maui Jim, Moment, Elite Tungsten, Vicious and Power Pole.

© 2013