College Anglers "Go Big" On Day One of Championship
Murray State and University of North Texas sit in top two places after day one.
2008 Champion University of Arkansas in striking distance to repeat in 2009.
Under almost perfect weather conditions, the 2009 BoatU.S. Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship contestants launched from Sneaky Pete's Marina at Lake Lewisville. With anglers registered from over 70 schools, the anticipation and excitement level was high.
The format for the championship has all the teams competing for two days and weighing in up to 5 fish per day. The cumulative two day combined weight will determine the overall winners of the event.
After the scales settled on day one, it was Murray State University sitting atop the leader board with 21.66 pounds. The team caught four of the five bass that they weighed in off of their key spot - an offshore ledge similar to what they target at home on Kentucky Lake. Kalem Tippett commented that "We came down here searching for productive ledges in practice and found one that's loaded. Our biggest bass came off of our secondary spot but the ledge yielded the rest. We're not doing anything fancy - just cranking deep diving crankbaits. Winning this event would go a long way toward launching a career as a tournament pro." Vincent Campisano mentioned that "I'd be content just to land a job in the fishing industry after I graduate."
The University of North Texas team is nipping at the heels of Murray State with 20.54 pounds. This pair of local anglers is flipping jigs rigged on 20 pound test Trilene fluorocarbon as well as catching a few with a light line presentation using 10 pound test. "We're hitting key spots that consistently produce big bass. I even called my shot when I caught a 5 pounder on one of my best spots", stated Brandon Dickenson. Partner Austin Hollowell is excited about their opportunity to claim the title tomorrow.
Zack Gagnard and Paul Rini of Northwestern State University found themselves within striking distance in third place with 19.07 pounds. The team reported that they're catching quality bass on offshore humps and ledges by mixing it up with deep crankbaits, V&M shaky head worms and V&M football jigs. Zack mentioned that "We caught 9 keepers today. Our first bite came at 10:00 and we caught three big ones off of our sweet pot 30 minutes before weigh-in. It's the same spot where we caught an 8.56 in practice on one cast."
Louisiana Tech's Aaron Rogillio and Phillip Marsiglia targeted main lake rocky points with deep crankbaits and shaky head worms. The pair hauled 18.43 pounds to the scales which was good enough for 4th place. Aaron stated that "We just fished the spots that showed promise in practice and found big one willing to bite. We were done at 1:00 and spent the rest of our day searching for new water."
As the 2008 champions, University of Arkansas is making a serious run at defending their title. Bodie Drake and partner Turner Hall are targeting main lake points early with shaky head worms. They also reported catching one good one early on a soft plastic jerkbait. Later in the day, the team is flipping Berkley worms and Chigger Craws on 20 pound test line with heavy action Fenwick rods. Bodie commented that "I know we have a strong team at University of Arkansas. It would mean a lot to bring this title back home; not to mention how it would benefit my future career as a tournament pro."
Several other top collegiate programs are all in contention to win the title including Texas Tech, Eastern Kentucky and North Carolina who are all in the top 10. In addition a pair of new college bass fishing programs that are looking to pull off an upset in their first ever collegiate championship appearance include Texas State and University of Tennessee who sit in 8th and 11th respectively.
Alex Freeman and Will White of North Carolina State claimed big bass honors with an 8.52 pound lunker that has this team within striking distance in tenth place with 15.42 pounds.
For listing of all the teams and weights for day one go to www.collegiatebasschampionship.com
Wade Middleton, WadeMiddleton@aol.com
Jeff "Jesse" James - Owner of Jesse's Hunting & Outdoors
You can always tell who's in 2nd place by who's whining and crying the most. - Old hockey coach.
Dum spiramus tuebimur
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