The Aggies of Texas A&M University brought in only 8 pounds, 1 ounce of bass Thursday, but that was enough to lead the first round of the Carhartt Bassmaster College National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops.
Texas A&M’s Josh Bensema and Matthew McArdle started fast and furious on Lake DuBay, catching their three-bass limit early and leading the way on a challenging fishery.
“This morning went very well for us,” Bensema said. “We had our fish by 7 a.m., and then we decided to lay off and save them for tomorrow.”
The Texas anglers made a crucial decision on the final practice day.
“It took us three days to figure out the pattern,” McArdle said. “We are from Texas, and we have largemouth. We tried to figure out the smallmouth over the last few days and we couldn’t, so on the third day of practice, we went searching for largemouth. And we found them.”
Unlike Bensema and McArdle, who were right at home in the shallow backwaters catching largemouth, the two teams tied for second place weighed in limits of smallmouth.
JP Kimbrough and Jared Rascoe of Louisiana State University-Shreveport and Trevor Lo and Chris Burgan of the University of Minnesota are tied at 7 pounds, 15 ounces apiece. Kimbrough and Rascoe started slow Thursday morning, but steadily put together their three-fish limit.
After failing to score in areas where they had practiced, the pair moved to another area of Lake DuBay and caught what would be the biggest bass of the day for them, according to Kimbrough. When that area “started to get crowded” the pair went to yet another new spot. They didn’t fill out their limit until 15 minutes before it was time to head back to check-in.
The falling water on Lake DuBay was a popular topic backstage, but LSU-Shreveport doesn’t think it will bother their bite much, but they wonder how it could affect the anglers targeting largemouth.
Minnesota’s Lo and Burgan caught 7-15 as well and are just 2 ounces off the pace set by Texas A&M.
“We were just hoping to catch a limit going into today. We pulled up to a spot that we didn’t fish in practice and we caught them there,” Lo said. “We only culled once today, so it was slow after the flurry.”
Appalachian State’s Hunter Hill and Ethan Howell sacked up 7 pounds, 14 ounces to finish the day in fourth. Their limit bag consisted of two largemouth and one smallmouth.
Rounding out the Top 5 is Frankie Appaluccio and Logan Shaddix of the University of Alabama with 7 1/2 pounds of smallmouth bass.
The defending National Champions, Jake Whitaker and Andrew Helms of the University of North Carolina-Charlotte are tied for sixth — just 2 ounces behind Appaluccio and Shaddix — with Cade Laufenberg and Wyatt Stout of Winona State. The weights on DuBay were very close with 12th place sitting just 2 pounds out of the Top 5, which will advance to the final day.
John Garrett and Brian Pahl from Bethel University lead the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass competition with a fish weighing 3 pounds, 11 ounces.
The three-fish limit may seem odd in an age when five is the typical tournament limit, but Wisconsin allows each competitor to have three fish per day. Since four anglers are fishing the National Championship solo, tournament officials established a three bass limits for the entire field.
All of the Day 2 action from Lake DuBay will be on Bassmaster.com throughout the day and weigh-in begins at 3 p.m. CT at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Friday’s takeoff is at the Tiki Beach Bar and Grill at 6 a.m. CT.
Southern Regional Qualifiers
- Thomas Oltorik and James Oltorik of Daytona State College
- Baylor Ronemus and Cole Tinsley of Clemson University
- CJ Knight and Tim Ward of Auburn University
- Cody Spears and Justin Mahon of Florida State University
- Austin Littrell and Ben Wall of Auburn University
- Patrick Walters and Josh Rennebaum of the University of South Carolina
- Murphy Klumpp and Lucas Brown of Auburn University
- John Duarte and Jonathan Kelley of Coastal Carolina University
- Hunter Gibson and Caiden Sinclair of the University of Alabama
- Anderson Aldag and Lee Mattox of the University of Alabama
- Josh Oliver and Nathan George of Gadsden State Community College
- Ross Burns and Richard Nesbitt of Clemson University
- Ross Dove and Richie Young of Emmanuel College
- Kevin Lucas and Kyle Stafford of University of Central Florida
- Grant Galloway and Joe Marty of Mississippi State University
- Jacob Reome and Matthew Garvin of Clemson University
- Taylor Minick and Micheal Harbach of Valdosta State University
- Frankie Appaluccio and Logan Shaddix of the University of Alabama
Midwestern Regional Qualifiers
- Justin Brown and Brandon Bissell of Northern Michigan University
- Cade Laufenberg and Wyatt Stout of Winona State University
- Austin Brimeyer and Anthony Riesberg of the University of Dubuque
- Sheldon Rogge and Lance Maldonado of Kansas State University
- Grant Ehlenfeldt and Brett Stanek of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville
- Cole Atkinson of St. Ambrose University
- Tyler Rocke and Justin Schick of Illinois Central College
- Jared Mataczynski and Steve Nebel of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
- Samuel Moore and Ross Kellermeier of Bemidji State University
- Taylor Bivins and Kyle Alsop of Kansas State University
- Justin Bruno and Brody Anderson of Grand Valley State University
- Trevor Lo and Chris Burgan of the University of Minnesota
- Kit Benson and Wes Lashmett of Western Illinois University
Central Regional Qualifiers
- John Ledet and Justin Cooper of Northwestern State University
- Evan Smith and Aaron Sarna of Arkansas Tech University
- Dwight Camp and Jonathan Furlong of Southeastern Oklahoma University
- Brock Enmeier and Colten Hutson of the University of Central Oklahoma
- Aaron Belgard and Logan Laprarie of Northwestern State University
- Tyler Craig and Blake Alford of the University of Louisiana-Monroe
- Tyler Stewart and Nick Joiner of the University of Louisiana-Monroe
- Josh Bensema and Matthew Mcardle of Texas A&M University
- Colby Ogden and Brandon Simoneaux of Lamar University
- Garret Lindsey and Clayton Godfrey of Stephen F. Austin State University
- Easton Ramsey and Chris Zins of the University Central Oklahoma
- Justin Gaskin and James Avant of the University of Louisiana-Shreveport
- Brandon Koon and Kyle Winstead of the University of Tennessee-Martin
Western Regional Qualifiers
- Laj Tripp and Kyle Sittman of Eastern Washington University
- John Zeolla and Clayton Lauchland of California Polytechnic State University
- Jarid Gabbert and Taylor Throop of Eastern Washington University
- Jacob Wall and Ryan Habenitch of the University of Oregon
- Alex Klein of Chico State
- Zach MacDonald and Zachary Martinez of Oregon State University
- Tanner Austin and Ethan Clark of Sacramento State University
- Cy Floyd and Travis Opel of Eastern Washington University
Eastern Regional Qualifiers
- Austin Neary and Alex Frazier of Western Carolina University
- Chelsey Queen and Kristopher Queen of Bethel University
- Kelly Johnson and Jeremy Gilley of Appalachian State University
- Edward Rude and Matthew Combs of West Virginia University
- Zachary Blalock and Mike Corbishley of East Carolina University
- Carson Orellana of Strayer University
- Jay Emmert and Christian Peake of the University of Tennessee
- Grayson Barber and Hiroto Kinoshita of North Carolina State University
- Zander Monk and Taylor Thomas of the University of North Carolina-Charlotte
- Hunter Hill and Ethan Howell of Appalachian State University
- Cole Blythe and John Auten of the University of North Carolina-Charlotte
- Jonathan Peck and Devin Wallis of Bryan College
- Jake Whitaker and Andrew Helms of the University of North Carolina-Charlotte
- John Garrett and Brian Pahl of Bethel University
- Zack Bodford and Matthew Hinkle of North Carolina State University
- Matt Allen and Zach Youngblood of Tennessee Tech University
- Benjamin Freeman and Dillon McGee of Bethel University
Wild Card Qualifiers
- Joshua Butts and Justin Rivers of Wallace State Community College-Hanceville
- Phillip Germagliotti and Shane Campbell of McKendree University
- Jordan Ledbetter and Trent Robinson of McKendree University
- Lance Freeman and Seth Brock of Murray State University
- Justin Singleton and Zac Bennett of Georgia College & State University
- Alec Castonguay and Garret Whitley of Stephen F. Austin State University
- JP Kimbrough and Jared Rascoe of the University of Louisiana-Shreveport
- Shelby Hutchens and Brian Blades of Stephen F. Austin State University
- Darrell Henson and Brent Rome of the University of Louisiana
- Dawson Lenz and Evan Horne of the University of North Alabama
- Ethan Snyder and Shaw Owens of Eastern Kentucky University
- Brian Eaton and Slade Daniel of the University of Louisiana-Monroe
- Tyler Rivet and Allyson Marcel of Nicholls State University
2015 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Title Sponsor: Carhartt
2015 Bass Bassmaster College Series Presenting Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
2015 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Official Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, GoPro, Humminbird, Mercury, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha
2015 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Supporting Partners: A.R.E. Accessories, Dick Cepek Tires, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Power-Pole, Rigid Industries, Shimano
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