Louisiana bass angler Quentin Cappo will be competing on the Bassmaster Elite Series for the first time in 2019. What makes this angler’s path to the Elites so remarkable is that he fished the Bassmaster Central Opens as a boater for the first time in 2018.
Since qualifying for the Elites, Cappo has been busy getting his ducks in a row. That includes preparing his boat, tackle and securing sponsorships.
“When you’re new and upcoming, saying no to a sponsor is hard,” Cappo said. “But you want to make connections and create relationships with brands that will be around long into the future.”
Lake Fork is one of the Elite tournaments that Cappo finds especially appealing, but he is looking forward to all of the Elite events. His favorite part of fishing is going to new waters and figuring out the bass puzzle.
“When you go to a new place, you have to put your head down and find fish like you’re supposed to,” Cappo said. “When you fish a place you know, you get into the bad habit of only checking where you’ve caught them before.”
For his first Elite season, Cappo’s goal is to simply break down each body of water as well as he can. His long-term goal is to create a name for himself and fish tournaments for a living. And, to balance his passion for fishing with his love for his family.
Cappo’s introduction to bass fishing began as soon as he was old enough to cast from the family’s pier in southern Louisiana.
“We have a camp on Belle River,” Cappo said. “When I was a young kid, my father would take us there and we’d fish every single weekend.”
Cappo’s father, Rusty, was a taxidermist and an avid bass tournament angler who competed in local events with his friend and team partner, Jack Dipola. As a youngster Cappo would see many fish on the wall that his father had mounted.
“I always wanted my own fish on the wall,” Cappo said. “My dad always told me he would mount the first bass I caught by myself.”
That happened when Cappo was 5 years old. He cast a blue and white tube jig under the family pier and soon had his hands on a 10-inch largemouth that had engulfed the bait. There were no size limits on bass then and Cappo was thrilled to take the bass back to camp and show it off.
True to his word, Cappo’s father mounted the little bass.
“It was a big deal when I caught it,” Cappo said. “That fish is still hanging on the wall in my camp.”
As Cappo grew older, he often fished with his father on scouting trips prior to his father’s tournaments with Dipola. Cappo learned how to flip from his father and how to fish spinnerbaits from Dipola. From time to time he competed in team charity tournaments that were run by his father.
“My dad got out of bass tournaments when Mr. Jack passed away,” Cappo said. “Some time later he took up fishing tournaments for sacalait [crappie]. I fished a few of those tournaments with him, but it was too slow. I like the aggressiveness of bass.”
A great deal has happened in Cappo’s adult life prior to fishing the Bassmaster Opens. In 2008 he graduated from the Fire and Emergency Training Institute at Louisiana State University and became a firefighter at Prairieville, La. He married his wife, Lauren, the following year and they now have a 2 1/2-year-old daughter, Ella.
In 2011 Cappo and his wife opened the Galvez Seafood restaurant in Prairieville. A year later he resigned as a firefighter to concentrate on the restaurant.
“Lauren is the glue of the operation,” Cappo said. “She makes sure the bills are paid, does the payroll, orders products to maintain the inventory, she manages the whole thing. She is the reason I’m able to keep my head down on fishing and not worry about things at home when I go to a tournament.”
Three doors down from the restaurant is a health facility the Cappo’s opened in 2014, a Snap Fitness 24-7 gym franchise.
Throughout this time Cappo mainly pleasure-fished for bass. Todd Murray, Cappo’s best friend, encouraged him to start fishing local tournaments in 2014. Murray was seriously into the sport and had already begun competing in the Bassmaster Central Opens.
“Todd took me under his wing and showed me how to do things,” Cappo said. “I didn’t understand the concept of catching five fish. My mindset was to go catch 100.”
He credits another friend, Texan Greg West, for also helping him make the transition from fishing for fun to fishing for money.
“Now I focus on catching five of the right ones,” Cappo said. “Instead of trying to force feed them, I’ve learned to be more versatile and adapt to the day.”
In 2016 and 2017 Cappo fished the Bassmaster Central Opens as a co-angler. He signed on to fish the Central Opens as a boater in 2018. He convinced his father to enter the Opens as a co-angler.
“There’s nothing better than doing this with your dad,” Cappo said. “Everybody knows my dad as Skipper. I’ve never seen him upset. We’ve never gotten into an argument with each other. He can’t be replaced.”
Cappo’s sponsors include Galvez Seafood restaurant, Fitzgerald Rod & Reels, Bass Cat Boats, Lowrance Electronics, Strike King, Power-Pole, T-H Marine, Atlas Jack Plates, Kysek Coolers, Professional Fabrications and David Wade Marine.