The Cropwell native said winning this year’s championship was tougher than the previous two championships that he won.
“It was my first year of fishing 19 and under,” Gossett said. “It was probably one of the toughest years of fishing. They were not biting good at all. The water temp was weird and they shut down. It was a lot of traffic down river. It was definitely tough, but it is always nice to win on a tough day like that.”
The 15-year-old angler said he didn’t get discouraged when things weren’t going well for him in the water. Gossett said his positive mindset helped him claim his third straight title.
“Knowing that the next cast could be the big one,” Gossett said. “That next cast could be the six-pound fish that you need. Luckily, I got five of them that were big enough to win. I caught eight pounds and three ounces.”
The Alabama Sports Festival Bass Fishing Tournament was held on Logan Martin Lake, which is Gossett’s home lake.
He said he used a straightforward approach, which helped him win the tournament.
“You have to stay confident,” Gossett said. “On your home lake, it’s not always the easiest. Usually you have so many spots that it gets into your head. I tried to keep it simple; that’s what I did and that is how I won, by keeping it simple.”
The following weekend, Gossett won the Young Southerners Bass Fishing Tournament on Neely Lake.
“I had a blessed day that day,” Gossett said. “Just catching those three good ones. I catch five fish that day, but the three that got me eight pounds. I catch a big one in the morning in the grass on a sexy frog Strike King. I caught one on a swimming jig Strike King and I caught one on a Strike King rodent.”
Having knowledge and experience has helped Gossett know what kind of lure to use at certain times and conditions.
“It just depends on the conditions and what time of the year it is,” Gossett said. “It also depends on what the water temp is, that is the main deal. You don’t want to fish a frog in 40-degree weather like you would in 88 degree what like it is now. Just practicing and spending time in the water, you learn those kinds of stuff.”
Gossett also had a strong showing in the Cabela’s B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Southern Divisional on Lake Okeechobee March 28-30.
“He went to Okeechobee and he finished second in the Southern Divisional, which included all of the Southeast and the kid from South Africa,” father Curtis Gossett said. “This is the second time that he finished second in the Southeast. It is still great. He can say that he beat all the kids in the Southeast and South Africa except for one you are doing pretty good.”
The younger Gossett wasn’t thrilled about his second-place finish for the second consecutive year.
“It is better than third, I guess you can say that,” Gossett said. “It is not as good as first. It’s great, I always have a great time in those tournaments. You have a practice period all week then you just hang out with the guys and talk about fishing, which is always fun to do. They all know how to fish because they are there on the state team and they are some of the best in Alabama.”
Gossett also enjoyed success on the high school level for Pell City High School.
“In the high school tournaments, he had three top 10 finishes out of five tournaments,” Curtis Gossett said. “He had a break down and didn’t get to fish all day in the one tournaments. He finished ninth at Lake Martin in the opening tournament out of 138. He finished 10th at Lake Eufaula out of 126. He finished fourth at Pickwick out of 141. The other two tournaments he had the big fish that would have won the tournament for him, but he lost it and the other one he had break down.”
Gossett has come away victorious in many tournaments since February. His dad Curtis Gossett said one of the things he is proud of is his son puts himself in positions to be successful.
“What we try to teach Zeke if you put yourself in position to win, good things are going to happen,” Curtis Gossett said. “If you are not in position to win, you don’t have a chance. When you look back at everything you do after you finish the tournament and you did the right things you put yourself in the position and you just didn’t get a good bite. Eventually those things are going to come. He has just had a big year.”
Gossett’s success in 2012 helped him to get two new sponsors.
“My new sponsors Maui Jim sunglasses have been supporting me a lot,” Gossett said. “Elite Tungsten is like worm weights. Strike King Vicious has been with me since the beginning. I want to thank them for all for what they have done and how they have put me out there. Especially, Elite Tungsten they have me on their front page of their web site.”
The accomplishments keep reeling in for Gossett. Last fall, he was in Sports Illustrated “Faces in the Crowd” section.
Thursday, he will receive a bill that was passed commending him of his accomplishments as an angler, as a student and as a young man. The ceremony is at 11:30 a.m. in Moody.
“That’s pretty neat,” Curtis Gossett said. “I am not sure that neither Zeke nor I have wrapped our brains around what this is and how big it really is for him to be honored like that. It is bill HJR 79. It is commending Zeke Gossett for outstanding athletic achievement. It talks about winning a state championship and being in Sports Illustrated. It talks about him being a straight A student and working with the church. It is really nice.”