Yet, the duo will get a chance to compete for one as both will represent the Demons during the Carhartt College Series National Championship July 31 to Aug. 2 at Chatuge Reservoir in Young Harris, Ga.
“We’re really excited about qualifying for nationals,” Ledet said. “It will be a tough lake to fish with about 90 boats and a lot of people fishing really close to each other. Hopefully, we will be able to be decent.”
Ledet and Cooper are one of 10 Louisiana pairs in the 84-team field that includes four teams from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, two teams from Louisiana Tech and a team each from Louisiana Delta Community College, Nicholls State and Southeastern.
While both fishermen are relieved to make it this far, it did not come without its roadblocks.
In April, the pair competed in the Central Regional tournament in Monroe and recorded a full five-fish catch of 5-5 on the first day.
However, they both were unable to improve on their standing and only managed to record a four-fish catch of 4-15 to finish the tournament with a total of 10-4---good for 15th place.
Despite the strong showing, they were unable to qualify for the national championships after being just five pounds short of cracking the top five.
“It was tough,” Ledet said. “The conditions were tough
They would have one final chance to make the national tournament stage in the Carhartt College B.A.S.S. Wild Card Tournament June 27-28 on Pickwick Lake in Florence, Ala.
The warmer weather attracted larger fish than in the Central Regional tournament and the pair opened up the day with a haul of 18-5 over the five-fish limit at the end of Day 1 to begin in a tie for seventh.
The second day, Cooper and Ledet fell to 11th in the standings with a Day 2 fish weight of 15-9, however they were able to seal their spot in the national tournament after a total catch of 33-14.
“It was a great accomplishment,” Cooper said. “We overcame roadblocks and fishing that we weren’t used to. We had to learn a lot just to get here. We feel privileged.”
As they prepare for the national championship, there remains one goal.
“We’re going to try to get the win,” Ledet said. “There’s no crying if we get second place either though.”
The top eight teams in the tournament will advance to a three-day single elimination tournament Aug. 3-5 and the winning team will compete for the 2015 Bassmaster Classic on Lake Hartwell in Greenville, S.C.