Local Aces Lead the Pack on Pickwick
BoatUS press release
Heading into the 2012 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship, everyone expected good fishing, but many of the teams close to Pickwick proved it was better than that. It was phenomenal, with over 1,600 pounds of bass brought to the scales! To put that into perspective, that is over 500 pounds heavier than the two day total last year.
Leading the charge is Calhoun Community College, with campuses located just down the road in Decatur and Huntsville, Alabama. Lealand Johnson and James Osmer led the charge with 21.08 pounds, which was impressive however, they left some big ones out on the water. "We lost some big key fish that would have given us a little more breathing room, but we're glad to have the lead." James went on to add, "We feel good about tomorrow, I guess at this point our only concern is that we'll get too much company. Four of the top five are in the same general area as us and we're a little worried additional teams may decide to come in on us Friday to make up some ground."
Joe Slagle and Matt Clay of Tennessee Tech are somewhere nearby the Calhoun team both on the water and in the standings. They too had a fantastic day, sacking up 20.75 pounds. Joe echoed the same concern, "I know we've got the fish to win, but splitting them up with even more boats could make it tough to catch up. I do think we're doing something a little different and we've got some good momentum as well as confidence. We've been on a bit of run lately."
Understandably, the confidence comes from their successes in college bass fishing over the past year. They've notched two wins already this season, both in Alabama and both on the Tennessee River. Joe and Matt have won two events on Guntersville in the past year and to say they are fishing well together may be an understatement.
The North Carolina State team of Ben Dziwulski and Ethan Cox are also in the hunt with over 20 pounds and less than half a pound behind Tennessee Tech, with 20.33 pounds. According to Ethan, "We found some good schools in practice and we're committed to about five spots we're rotating around throughout the day. The fish are there and if they cooperate again tomorrow, I think we'll have another great day." Interestingly, of the five places they are working, none of them are near anyone else in the top five, so they feel good about it. Ethan added, "I think the other guys are going to have some company tomorrow, but I don't look for that to be a problem for us, so that could make a big difference."
David Allen and Micah Crunk, of Northwest Shoals Community College, are in the fourth position and they too are sharing some fish with the other contenders. According to David, "Tomorrow should be good for us as well. We're fishing an area that I like to call the lunch line. When the big ones are ready to eat, they pull up on our spots and it gets fast and furious. At one point today I had a largemouth and a smallmouth on the same cast, and then turned around and nailed a five pounder right after that." Since graduating earlier this month, David is hoping to wrap up his collegiate fishing with a victory and needing to make up less than one pound, he remains optimistic.
Given the size of the bass that Pickwick and the rest of the Tournament Waters are kicking out, this event is a long way from being decided. Zach Parker of Bethel University proved that today. His 7.16 pound Big Bass shows that a team can get well in a hurry on Pickwick.
Friday will be the final day of competition and students are set to head out from McFarland Park, with the final weigh-in to take place starting at 2:30 pm. Friends, fans, and family are encouraged to come out and witness history in the making, as the nation's largest collegiate field sets out to break existing collegiate event weight records and crown the 2012 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Champion.
Full results from Day 1 can be found here, and fans that can't make it to Florence can follow along on the "From the Water Blog, powered by Hydrowave", as well as on the Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship Facebook page which is updated throughout the day. The weigh-in will also be streamed online, courtesy of The Bass Federation. Those wanting to see this exciting event unfold can do so at CollegiateBassChampionship.com, where they'll also find photo galleries and more.