Florida Gators maintain clampdown on first place

The University of Florida's Matthew Wercinski and Jake Gipson prepare to weigh the catch that kept them in the lead.

SANFORD, Fla. - The American alligator - Alligator mississippiensis - is known for grabbing and holding its prey with a relentless grip. The Florida Gators - Matthew Wercinski and Jake Gipson - are applying this tactic at the National Guard FLW College Fishing Southeast Regional Championship on Lake Monroe. After taking the lead on day one with 12 pounds, 12 ounces, the University of Florida anglers added 9-9 in their second outing and maintained their top position with a 22-5 total. Resuming their day-one success, Wercinski and Gipson went back to work with a yet-undisclosed tactic involving soft plastics. Wercinski had his limit by 9 a.m., but Gipson's didn't come until after 1 p.m. Wercinski said the difference was twofold: "I'm using the same bait (Gipson) is, but I'm just rigging it a little bit differently. Also, I'm fishing scattered grass; he's fishing matted grass." Today's weather also bore some influence on their day. A storm system moving across central FloridaUniversity of Florida angler Matthew Wercinski shows off one of his day two fish. delivered mostly cloudy skies and winds that puffed up to 20 mph. "The wind was really ripping our spots, and that made it really tough to fish." Wercinski also said that most of his strikes were light: "They were barely biting, and I could barely feel them. I set up once or twice, and there was nothing there. I set up three times, and there's three little fish." Like day one, the UF anglers spent a lot of time in their seats. "We ran across the lake four times today and covered a lot of water," Gipson said. "It's a result of how tough the fishing is. We've been fishing this place like a river - it's a run-and-gun deal. You have to cover as much water as you can, and eventually you'll hit a spot where the fish are. You can't just sit there and keep pounding a spot if the fish aren't there." Auburn moves into second AuburnImproving from third place on day one, the Auburn University team of Dennis Parker and Shaye Baker added 9-10 to yesterday's 9-13 and gained one spot, from third to second, with a 19-7 total. Both anglers caught their three-fish limits, with Parker contributing a couple in the 2-pound range. "I knew from practice that we were both going to need three fish a day," Baker said. "Dennis has been doing a good job each day of catching those 2- to 3-pound fish." Throwing weightless Texas-rigged finesse worms, Baker and Parker caught their fish in a narrow canal where a natural spring fed its clear water into the lake. Downsizing to 10-pound fluorocarbon line and maintaining a distant, stealthy presentation was the key to fishing this area of high visibility. When another tournament boat approached their area, Parker said he was most appreciative for the way his competitors handled the encounter. "We had (Nick Tate and Phillip Hopper from the University of Tennessee) come back in there on us, and they were wanting to pass us by, but the canal is so small, they knew that passing us would disturb our fish," he said. "They actually turned around and respected our spot." Baker added: "That was a great sign of sportsmanship. That was really big of them because they didn't have much weight yesterday. I told them, `This is all we have, and if you come by, we're done.' Nick said, `Well, I'm not going to do that to you.' "I caught a fish right as he turned around, and had he come by, I wouldn't have caught it. In this crystal-clear water, if the fish see a boat, they're done for an hour and a half." Young Harris advances to third Clint McNeal and Brad Rutherford of Young Harris College placed fourth on day one with 9-0. TheyBrad Rutherford of Young Harris College caught a limit on day two. added 8-14 on day two for a 17-14 total that moved them up a spot to third. The anglers caught most of their fish by dragging Carolina rigs over shell beds in about 6 feet of water. When they encountered schooling fish, they threw flukes and topwaters. McNeal said the day's windy conditions necessitated a little more boat control than the previous day: "We were fishing in the St. John's River, and there was a little bit of current. We thought we might have to anchor, but we didn't have to the first day because we could just use the trolling motor. But today the wind was bad enough and it was moving the same way as the current, so we had to pull out the anchor. That ended up helping us a lot." UCF jumps into fourth place Hometown favorites, the UCF team of Matthew Norman and Dustin Lauer were elated to reach the top-5.The day-one crowd had a lot of leftover enthusiasm from the University of Central Florida football game that ended shortly before the weigh-ins, so it was no surprise that the hometown team of Matthew Norman and Dustin Lauer drew huge applause and shouts of school pride when they took the stage and weighed a seventh-place catch. Flash forward 24 hours and a smaller audience erupted with even greater fervor when the local boys jumped three spots and earned a final-round berth with the day's biggest catch - a 10-pound, 10-ounce effort that yielded a 17-6 total. Another Auburn team makes it to final round Auburn's Richard Peek and Caleb Rodgers held their fifth-place position and secured their school's dualThe second Auburn team to reach the top-5 was Caleb Rodgers and Richard Peek. representation in the day-three finale. They added 7 pounds to their day-one effort of 7-4 for a 14-4 total. Best of the rest Rounding out the top 10 college teams at the Southeast College Regional Championship: 6th: Kennesaw State University, Jake Akin and Thomas Frink, 14-3 7th: Faulkner University, Kyle Tindol and Brandon Vaughn, 12-8 8th: North Alabama University, Nick Cupps and Cody Braden, 11-2 9th: North Florida University, Cameron Shouppe and Josh McDermott, 9-7 10th: Clemson University, Erin Schumpert and Andy Wicker, 7-14 Day two of National Guard FLW College Fishing action continues at Monday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7 a.m. Eastern time at Monroe Harbour, located at 531 N. Palmetto Ave. in Sanford. The art of the chest bump On day one, National Guard pro and College Fishing commentator Justin Lucas brought up the topic of celebratory chest bumps with Auburn's Dennis Parker. At about 6 feet 3 inches tall and about 220 pounds, Parker is the tournament's biggest competitor, at least in terms of stature. So when Lucas persisted, the big Tiger politely declined and expressed his concern over accidentally knocking Lucas down. National Guard pro Justin Lucas launches himself for a big-time chest bump with Auburn angler Dennis Parker as ParkerApparently, Lucas really wanted to chest bump someone, because Parker again found himself the target of a good-natured challenge on day two. After he and partner Shaye Baker moved into second place, Lucas not only insisted on a chest bump, he enlisted enough audience support to persuade Parker. The Auburn angler gave it a polite little hop, while Lucas, who is not 6-3ish and nowhere close to 220, displayed his cat-like agility with a 24-inch vertical leap and a good 2.3-second hang time. Overall, it was an impressive effort. But what defines a good chest bump? For that, we turned to hometown favorites, Matthew Norman and Dustin "D-Rock" Lauer, who not only earned a berth in the day-three finale, but they demonstrated their patented five-star chest bump. Grabbing big air, the likes of which one might expect at a Winter Olympics snowboarding event, the Knights wowed the crowd and clearly impressed Lucas with their aerial artistry. Perfectly timed and flawlessly executed, it was a thing of beauty. According to Lauer, an effective chest bump depends on one fundamental rule: "The most important thing about a chest bump is your head position. If my head is facing left and his is facing right, we're going to hit our faces. That's inappropriate and it's going to hurt both of us. He needs to look right and IUCF teammates Matthew Norman and Dustin Lauer celebrate their top-5 placement with a big-air chest bump. need to look right - or left. It's a judgment call. You just make eye contact like two seconds before. It's like rock-paper-scissors - you just have to know what (the other guy) is throwing." Parker shared his perspective: "You have to take into consideration the size of the other guy you're chest bumping. I didn't come off the ground, because if I would have, I think I would have knocked the poor fellow down. Either that, or I would have flown directly over his head." Baker added, "You would have leap-frogged him." Ultimately, Parker said that when chest-bumpers of significant size difference approach one another, it is the duty of the larger bumper to accommodate his smaller counterpart: "You have to watch the other guy and wait for the exact moment when his chest reaches yours. When it does, you kind of rise up on your toes so you meet chest to chest." A few other pointers: Wear shoes with nonskid soles, allow sufficient overhead clearance, stay well away from the edge of the stage, and always make sure your chest-bumping partner is aware of the role they are about to play. Also, gentleman should pay close attention to large belt buckles and awkwardly positioned cell phones.

Tags: headline-story  david-a-brown 

/news/2015-03-26-benton-blasts-20-12-on-lewis-smith

Benton Blasts 20-12 on Lewis Smith

Panama City, Fla., pro Drew Benton jumped into the early lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 12 ounces. Benton caught a mix of largemouths and spotted bass, and revealed that both black bass species are spawning. He leads a tight top 20 that includes 18 pros that caught more than 15 pounds each. The first day was an absolute fish-fest. Of the 154 pros fishing this tournament, 138 weighed limits. Brad Roberts of Faubush, Ky., has a 2-ounce lead in the co-angler division with a 13-pound, 4-ounce limit. Tomorrow he’ll try to defend his lead on the final day of co-angler competition. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 1

While Drew Benton was busy bugging bedding fish for his day-one tournament lead, several others behind him were scoring big with other fishing options on Lewis Smith Lake. Sight-fishing also played a role in the top limits produce by Tracy Adams, Scott Martin and Ish Monroe, but Clayton Batts and Zack Birge both brought in big bags with other patterns. Click here to read about Benton’s day-one performance at the second Walmart FLW Tour event of 2015, which is presented by Evinrude. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-lewis-smith-lake-day-1-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 1 Coverage

Day 1 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-22-arkansas-anglers-win-college-open

Arkansas Anglers Win College Open

Consistency was the key for the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville here in the FLW College Fishing Kentucky Lake Open as Zachary Pickle and Drew Porto won the event with a two-day total of 43 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-kendrick-king-on-guntersville

Kendrick King On Guntersville

Kendrick, who is fishing the Rayovac FLW Series in hopes of qualifying for the FLW Tour, caught more than 25 pounds each day of the event and finihsid in fine fasion when it counted. Kendick was catching nearly all of his bass around big schools of bait with a Houdini pearl-colored Scottsboro Tackle swimbait from 15- to 25-feet of water. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-epting-s-30-pounds-tops-on-santee-cooper

Epting's 30 Pounds Tops on Santee Cooper

SUMMERTON, S.C. – Chris Epting of Chapin, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 30 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Santee Cooper. For his victory, Epting earned $3,679. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-wood-rock-key-for-middleton-s-victory

Wood, Rock Key for Middleton's Victory

HUDDLESTON, Va. – Dennis Middleton of Madison Heights, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament of 2015 on Smith Mountain Lake. For his victory, Middleton earned $7,199. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-johnson-wins-on-dale-hollow

Johnson Wins on Dale Hollow

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Robby Johnson of Byrdstown, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mountain Division tournament of 2015 on Dale Hollow Lake. For his victory, Johnson earned $5,689. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-griffin-gets-win-on-ross-barnett

Griffin Gets Win on Ross Barnett

BRANDON, Miss. – Jason Griffin of Benton, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 23 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Ross Barnett Reservoir. For his victory, Griffin earned $5,349. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-top-5-patterns-from-guntersville-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Guntersville Day 2

The second day of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division tournament on Lake Guntersville proved as remarkable as the first – or perhaps better, considering today’s parade of big fish included a 12-pound, 10-ounce behemoth caught by fourth-place pro Trevor Fitzgerald for the day’s Big Bass prize. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-hall-holds-steady-for-lead

Hall Holds Steady For Lead

Joe Hall of Lake City, Minn. wasn’t confident about his chances going onto the second day of competition of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event on Lake Guntersville. Nonetheless, he held steady with a 27-pound, 5-ounce catch that only barely fell short of the 28-1 he weighed on the first day. With a two-day total of 55 pounds, 6 ounces, Hall holds a 1-pound, 12-ounce lead over Cameron Gautney going into the final day of the Mercury presented tournament. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-missouri-anglers-lead-college-open

Missouri Anglers Lead College Open

Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almohtadi of Northwest Missouri State University of Maryville, Mo., took the lead in the opening round of the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake with 25 pounds, 2 ounces. Heading into Saturday’s second and final round, the University of Kentucky’s Ryan Collins and Hunter Fulcher sit in second place with 22-14, while Ethan Flack and Konnor Kennedy of the University of Alabama are currently third with 22-9. Details to follow. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-day-1-patterns-from-the-college-open

Day 1 Patterns from the College Open

The Northwest Missouri State University team of Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almontadi took the day-one lead in the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake. While their pattern seems to be effectively refined – they were using only one lure and had no others out on the deck – Nordbye and Almontadi don’t have this one sewed up yet. The rest of the top five is just a few pounds behind the leaders. Here’s how they made it into contention going into the final day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-gautney-under-pressure

Gautney Under Pressure

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event on Guntersville is just as misty and nasty as the first. Lucky for us, the first day of the Mercury-presented event featured huge catches throughout the field. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-college-open-day-1-midday-update

College Open Day 1 Midday Update

“You should have been here yesterday” might have been the motto for the first day of fishing in the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake. Though many of the 194 teams entered in the two-day event out of Moor’s Resort & Marina reported good to excellent practices, many of the same anglers were complaining about a lack of fish on opening morning of the competition. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-19-gautney-cranks-up-the-lead

Gautney Cranks Up The Lead

Gautney says he keyed on staging fish in several very specific locations and one specific depth. He and co-angler Antoni Bicy caught 59 pounds, 8 ounces off of his spots, and he seems confident about his ability to keep catching them the rest of the event. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-19-top-5-patterns-from-guntersville-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Guntersville Day 1

The first day of the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Guntersville was a welcome departure from the grumblings of practice. Though fans weren’t treated to multiple 30-pound limits on the pro side, like at the Walmart Bass Fishing League event at Guntersville a couple of weekends ago, it still took more than 25 pounds to get into the top five on day one of this Mercury-presented tournament. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-14-morrison-wins-on-dale-hollow

Morrison Wins on Dale Hollow

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Charles Morrison of Georgetown, Kentucky, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Music City Division tournament of 2015 on Dale Hollow Lake. For his victory, Morrison earned $3,926. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-14-hughan-claims-arkie-division-title-on-greers-ferry

Hughan Claims Arkie Division Title on Greers Ferry

GREERS FERRY, Ark. – William Hughan of Little Rock, Arkansas, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 14 pounds, 4 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Arkie Division tournament of 2015 on Greers Ferry Lake. For his victory, Hughan earned $4,350. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-14-bridwell-takes-opener-on-cherokee

Bridwell Takes Opener on Cherokee

MORRISTOWN, Tenn. – Jason Bridwell of Gray, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Volunteer Division tournament of 2015 on Cherokee Lake. For his victory, Bridwell earned $5,127. READ MORE »