Chico State vaults into lead on Saguaro Lake

The Chico State team of Thomas White (left) Frank Vogt grabbed the overall lead during the first day of FLW College Fishing Western Regional competition on Saguaro Lake.

TEMPE, Ariz. - In the end, Chico State saved the best for last. Although teammates Thomas White and Frank Vogt managed to check in on time after pulling their boat out of Saguaro Lake, the Chico State team managed to get lost for over an hour on their way back to the weigh-in stage at Arizona State University. However, when the finally arrived, the team realized that their harrowing day would end on a stellar note as their total catch of 10 pounds, 5 ounces pushed them into the overall lead on the first day of FLW College Fishing Western Regional Championship competition. And they couldn't have been happier - or more drained. "What a day," said White. "It feel great, but it was really tough out there. Practice wasn't very good for us and we're the last boat to leave. So, overall, it's nice to finish the day in first." Amazingly enough, the team actually came back to the marina about 45 minutes early due to concerns over the health of one of their fish. "It was one of the toughest decisions I've ever had to make on the water in my career," said White. "We had one fish that wasn't doing well and we tried to baby it all day. I actually named it `Princess.' But we didn't want an (8-ounce penalty) for bringing back a dead fish. So even though we only had four in the boat, we gambled that it was better to come back early without a five-fish stringer than risk the penalty." Clearly, their decision proved crucial in today's final outcome. But Chico State's on-the-water strategy also proved equally important. "The key was fishing very slowly with finesse-style presentations," said White. "Where we are fishing you're not going to get a lot of bites. But if you do get one, you're not going to catch a dink. The type of fishing we're going is all about using your graphs and GPS. If you pull up on a bait ball, you need to throw your (drop-shot) down there and just be patient." However, like the majority of teams in today's competition, Chico State said that the fishing was far from easy. "Our morning bite produced next to nothing," said Vogt. "Tom caught one fish at about 10 a.m. but we didn't have much success until we started to notice some current around noon. When we saw that, we headed back to our original spot and that's when I caught that 3-pounder. Tom caught two more fish after moving around a bit. But overall, it was a really difficult day for us." It was not only a difficult day for Chico State, but for the field at large as well. By the end of Thursday's weigh-in, only one team - Sacramento State - had produced a five-fish limit. Six teams didn't manage a keeper fish at all. Only three teams brought three or more fish to the scales and only two teams produced weights in excess of 6 pounds. But in the end, it was Chico State that found itself atop the leaderboard. "It's great to be in first place today but it doesn't really mean anything if you don't produced on day two," said White. "Tomorrow, we need to go out there and fish hard and fish smart." Defending Western Regional champs take second After winning the 2010 FLW College Fishing Western Regional, the Sacramento State team is once again within striking distance of another title. Using a total catch of 8 pounds, 8 ounces, teammates Robert Matsuura and Thomas Kanemoto snared second place overall and remained the only team of the tournament to land a five-fish stringer. "I can't believe that we got the only limit today - that's just crazy," said Kanemoto. "I feel incredibly blessed right now to be in second place, especially given the fact that we've never fished this lake before." Like most of the field, Sacramento State said the fishing was extraordinarily difficult today. "Right now it's a really tough bite out there," said Kanemoto. "We pretty much used finesse techniques all day. We started out slowly and didn't start at the spot where we caught most of our fish today, but I think we'll go there first thing tomorrow." Compounding the difficulties for Sacramento State is the fact that, at least so far, Matsuura hasn't been able to assist his teammate as much as he'd like. "This is one of the toughest tournaments I've ever had," said Matsuura, who was the hero of last year's regional. "I honestly haven't been able to get a bite all tournament." However, if Matsuura begins to produce, Sacramento State could easily find itself in position to grab back-to-back titles. Northern Arizona University lands in third Coming into the tournament, the Northern Arizona University team of Brent Perkins and Nicole Albright had the distinction of having the only team to feature a lady angler in the regional championship. After today, however, they have the distinction of being one of the true top contenders in the field. Using a total catch of 6 pounds, Northern Arizona solidified itself in third place overall and put itself in position to make a run at the title as well as one of the five outstanding berths in the 2012 national championship "Brent caught his big fish early but we had a really rough time after that," said Albright. "But overall it's going pretty well, all things considered." Not only did the team finish the day in third, but they also managed to record the largest fish of the tournament to date - a 4-pound, 11-ounce largemouth. "This is the toughest I've ever seen this lake," said Perkins, who targeted bass using a drop-shot for most of the afternoon. "Actually, coming back to weigh-in, I didn't think we did that good at all. But third place, I'll take it at this point." Fresno State nails down fourth The Fresno State team of Kong Moua and Christopher Delgado parlayed a 4-pound, 11-ounce catch into a fourth-place finish overall. "I think we can make a real run at (the title)," said Delgado. "We had some boat issues early but tomorrow, I think we're going to come back big. We got on a good pattern later in the day and that should help us as well." Moua, who owns the record for catching the largest bass in the history of FLW College Fishing at 10 pounds, 9 ounces, acknowledged that he loves the competition more than anything else. "We don't do this for the money," said Moua. "We do it for bragging rights." As of right now, the Fresno State team has plenty to brag about. Chico State grabs fifth With four Chico State teams qualifying for the western regional, the school was bound to make some noise when all was said and done. And today, they started early - placing two teams in the top five with only one day of competition remaining before the final top-five cut. "It's really nice having four teams in the regional championship because odds are we'll send somebody to the (national) championship," said Bo Harkins, who along with partner Anthony Dayton produced a catch of 4 pounds, 1 ounce to grab fifth place overall. "I think we can do it again tomorrow," said Dayton. "I think we figured out some new strategies at the end of the day so I'm hopeful we can catch a good stringer tomorrow." Anglers get ready for opening day weigh-in at the 2011 FLW College Fishing Western Regional Championship.To see a complete list of today's results, click here. Western College Regional Championship action continues during Friday morning takeoff, slated to take place at 7 a.m. at Saguaro Del Norte Recreation Site, located at 14011 North Bush Highway in Mesa, Ariz.

Tags: headline-story 

/news/2015-06-29-dobson-sticks-with-jerkbait-for-win

Dobson Sticks With Jerkbait for Win

Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division tournament of 2015 on Lake St. Clair. For his victory, Dobson earned $5,804. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-johnston-targets-beds-for-big-limit

Johnston Targets Beds for Big Limit

Cory Johnston of Cavan, Ontario, Canada, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 25 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Northeast Division tournament of 2015 on 1000 Islands. For his victory, Johnston earned $5,632. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-football-jig-helps-bates-net-title

Football Jig Helps Bates Net Title

Matthew Bates of Greenville, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds even Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Ferguson. For his victory, Bates earned $3,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-hipsher-hops-ledges-for-victory

Hipsher Hops Ledges for Victory

Craig Hipsher of Benton, Kentucky, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League LBL Division tournament of 2015 on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. For his victory, Hipsher earned $4,385. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-lauer-wins-on-ohio-river

Lauer Wins on Ohio River

David Lauer of McConnelsville, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 12 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division tournament of 2015 on the Ohio River. For his victory, Lauer earned $6,289. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-creature-bait-does-it-for-berhorst

Creature Bait Does it for Berhorst

Dennis Berhorst of Holts Summit, Missouri, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Ozark Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Truman. For his victory, Berhorst earned $5,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-wendlandt-back-at-the-top

Wendlandt Back at the Top

It’s been 14 seasons since Clark Wendlandt last stood on a Walmart FLW Tour stage and hoisted a tournament championship trophy. Since that time, the Texas pro has experienced ups and downs, including an Angler of the Year title (his third) in 2009 and a major medical issue that sidelined him for most of the 2014 season. All that’s in the past now, however, and Wendlandt is right back where he belongs in the world of bass fishing – in first place after the final day on the Potomac River in the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-top-10-patterns-from-the-potomac-river

Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

Clark Wendlandt didn’t pull off any secret techniques to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. He simply found an area with the right quality of bass to win and managed it perfectly despite facing a medley of Mother Nature’s toughest challenges. The rest of the top 10 stuck with the standard Potomac targets too, namely grass, docks and wood cover. The only underlying trend of the top 10 is that they found areas to themselves. Here’s how the rest of the top 10 got it done at the 2015 Tour finale. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-potomac-river-day-4-coverage

Potomac River Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on the Potomac River presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-wendlandt-receives-helping-hand

Wendlandt Receives Helping Hand

Not to discredit Clark Wendlandt’s skills as a bass fisherman, but if it wasn’t for an extreme act of kindness on the part of fellow competitor Shin Fukae, Wendlandt wouldn’t be where he is this evening – leading through three days of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-top-5-patterns-from-potomac-river-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Potomac River Day 3

Pouring rain, gusting winds, a remarkable act of kindness, an Angler of the Year title on the line – day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River certainly was not boring. To say the top 20 anglers were waterlogged after Saturday would be any understatement, but as nasty as the weather was, it wasn’t the biggest story of the day. Shinichi Fukae generously helped Clark Wendlandt retain his lead, while Scott Martin sealed the deal on his first AOY title. Meanwhile, a number of other anglers scrambled to adjust with what the weather and the Potomac are throwing at them. Here’s how the rest of the top five caught their fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-potomac-river-day-3-coverage

Potomac River Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on the Potomac River presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-26-wendlandt-in-familiar-territory

Wendlandt in Familiar Territory

A lot of flip-flopping took place on the second day of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. When the scale closed, it was three-time Tour Angler of the Year Clark Wendlandt who found himself on top with a two-day total of 32 pounds, 10 ounces. Wendlandt caught 17-13 today – the day’s second-heaviest limit – and leads Potomac local Bryan Schmitt by 1-12 going into the weekend. Wendlandt missed part of last season after suffering a heart attack but has rebounded with good success this season. He has won three times on Tour but hasn’t finished in first place since Beaver Lake in 2001. Details to come on the patterns of the top five. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-26-potomac-river-day-2-coverage

Potomac River Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-jersey-boy-leads-the-pack

Jersey Boy Leads the Pack

Talk about a traffic jam. And, no, we’re not talking about the streets around the Washington, D.C. area. We’re talking about the standings at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. Adrian “Jersey Boy” Avena leads the way with a 16-pound, 12-ounce limit, but a total of 41 pros weighed in at least 12 pounds. Many pros lamented the tough bite today, but the results say otherwise as 114 limits were brought to the scale on the pro side. Troy Morrow trails Avena by just 1-06, and 1 ounce behind Morrow is one of the most successful tidewater bass anglers of all time, Bryan Schmitt. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-top-5-patterns-from-potomac-river-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Potomac River Day 1

It might seem impossible for 405 miles of water to fish small, but space was hard to come by on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. The creeks near takeoff at Smallwood State Park have seen as much traffic as a Washington, D.C. highway at rush hour. On the flip side, anglers who were able to develop patterns that got them away from the crowds, such as day-one leader Adrian Avena, have been able to reap the benefits of what has been a stingy fishery. Here’s how the rest of the pros in the top five caught their fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-aoy-shake-up-martin-makes-his-move

AOY Shake-Up: Martin Makes His Move

Scott Martin has been talking about winning the Angler of the Year title since before the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour season started. It’s on his mind and for good reason: Angler of the Year is the only major FLW title he hasn’t won in what Martin has built into one of the most decorated professional fishing careers in FLW Tour history. Today, on the first day of competition at the Tour finale on the Potomac River, Martin has unofficially moved into the lead in the AOY race for the first time all season. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-potomac-river-day-1-coverage

Potomac River Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-20-richardson-wins-all-american

Richardson Wins All-American

Curtis Richardson has a way of surprising people – even himself. The Ontario angler had all but written himself off in the championship round of the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American, thinking his limit of five bass wouldn’t hold up for long with the likes of Jeremy Lawyer and Bill Schroeder breathing down his neck. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-20-all-american-midday-update-day-3

All-American Midday Update Day 3

Big changes might be coming in the standings of the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American on Kentucky Lake, as some of the top 10 leaders struggled this morning to catch limits. Canadian angler Curtis Richardson, who currently is leading, had only one 3-pound keeper by midmorning. And second-place boater Billy Schroeder, who had fished just below the Paris Landing Bridge for the first two days, finally bailed out from there after catching four keepers this morning. READ MORE »