Junior: Eli and Collin Ledbetter take the win at Red River

With 7 pounds, 9 ounces, Eli and Colllin Ledbetter of Junior Southwest Bassmasters take the title at the Bassmaster Junior Series at Red River.

NATCHITOCHES, La. — Eli and Collin Ledbetter were one of only five teams in the 25-team field to catch a limit Sunday at the 2023 Bassmaster Junior Series at Red River.

That helped the brothers from Holden, La., win the event held at Grand ECORE Recreational Area in northwest Louisiana.

The Ledbetter boys, who fish with the Junior Southwest Bassmasters Team, caught five bass that weighed 7 pounds, 9 ounces and earned a $395 cash prize.

The Ledbetters fished a backwater in the St. Maurice area, which is about a 45-minute run from Grand ECORE. They caught their best bass on a pair of lures — a Humdinger (white/green) spinnerbait and a Z-Man JackHammer ChatterBait with a Gambler swimbait trailer (white/black flake).

They had eight keeper bites before 10 a.m. when bass were chasing shad in the slough they fished. The bite stopped when the sun got overhead, but luckily the Ledbetters had enough in their livewell by then to earn the win.

They’ll next compete in the Junior Bassmaster Series National Championship when it’s held July 21-22 on Lake Hartwell in South Carolina.

“I’m super excited,” Collin, 12, said.

“I’m ready (to fish it),” Eli, 14, added.

The Top 10 teams in Sunday’s tournament qualified for nationals and the Top 4 teams split a cash purse of $963. An additional Big Bass Award of $100 went to Mason Watkin and Walker Woodall of Benton, Ark., for the 3-12 fish they caught Sunday.

Rounding out the Top 5 teams at the Red River are, second (tie), Zeb Ates and Cameron Barham of Darbonne Woods (La.) Charter School, and Denver Leblanc and Jackson Gomez of the Junior Southwest Bassmasters of Denham Springs (La.) 7-5; fourth, Presley Cook and Brody Baber of Genoa Central (Ark.), 6-12; and fifth, Ethan McBrayer and Zachary King of Briarwood Christian School (Ala.), 5-10.

The event was hosted by the Red River Waterway Commission.