Opens profile: A quick study of Cappo

Louisiana bass angler Quentin Cappo will be competing on the Bassmaster Elite Series for the first time in 2019. What makes this 33-year-old angler’s path to the Elites so remarkable is that he fished the Bassmaster Central Opens as a boater for the fist time in 2018.

Cappo’s introduction to bass fishing began as soon as he was old enough to cast from the family 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 for 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 that year 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.”

During the initial 2018 Central Open tournament at Ross Barnett, Cappo’s father inadvertently wound up fishing in the same cove he was fishing. Cappo’s father sat down and stopped casting so he could watch his son. This is when Cappo hooked and landed the biggest bass of the tournament, which weighed 8-pounds, 6-ounces.

By finishing 17th in the 2018 Central Opens AOY standings, Cappo demonstrated that he’s a quick study.

“I want to use the opportunity to fish the Elites to improve my skills,” Cappo said. “I know the level of talent is going to make me work harder to prove that I can play with the big boys.”

Cappo’s sponsors include Galvez Seafood restaurant, Fitzgerald Rods, Bass Cat Boats, Lowrance Electronics, Power Poles and Atlas Jack Plates.

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