UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Lake Mitchell

Sacramento State maintains overall lead on Folsom Lake

Sacramento State maintains overall lead on Folsom Lake
Sacramento State teammate Peter Lee shows off part of his team's two-day 21-pound, 8 ounce catch. The total weight was good enough to ensure that Sacramento State would hold on to first place at the FLW College Fishing Western Regional heading into the finals.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - As the only Sacramento State team representing the hometown university, the duo of Robert Matsuura and Peter Lee was undoubtedly under a lot of pressure to perform. However, just like yesterday's competition, Matsuura and Lee came through when it mattered most, boating a two-day catch of 21 pounds, 8 ounces to grab the overall lead at the 2010 FLW College Fishing Western Regional with only one day of competition remaining.

However, that doesn't mean it was easy.

"Today was even tougher," said Lee. "It was nerve wracking throughout the entire process. It was definitely pretty tense but it's a relief in a way because now we're in first place. But we still have one more day to go.

"Am I more excited or relieved? That's a good question," continued Lee. "I think a little bit of both. We're now fishing against four really good teams in the finals so it's going to be a challenge. But we're definitely happy to be in first place and qualify for the (FLW College Fishing) National Championship."

Matsuura largely agreed with his partner's assessment.

"We didn't have a fish in the boat until 11:40 a.m. and my heart was dropping," said Matsuura. "I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I didn't think I was going to make it."

The Sacramento State team acknowledged that some of the tension was self-inflicted.

Sacramento State teammate Robert Matsuura holds up part of his team"Today was the first day that we really made some mistakes," said Matsuura. "And when we came back we honestly didn't think we'd be in the lead because it was the toughest day of fishing we've had since we've been here. Yesterday we caught something like 15 fish and today we only caught five all day. So we're pretty happy to be in first place."

While the team didn't want to go into great detail about baits, technique and tactics, Matsuura did divulge that the team continued to rely on swimbaits in the early morning hours and then a drop-shot technique later in the day.

So what are their plans for tomorrow?

"We're hoping for the same weather," said Matsuura. "I think we're going to throw the swimbait again in the morning but we're going to change up areas. And hopefully our drop-shot bite will hold on for one more day. If we can catch 10 pounds in the finals, we should be in pretty good shape."

Chico State jumps into runner-up position

Chico State teammate Thomas White proudly displays his catch en route to a second-place finish during the second day of FLW College Fishing regional competition on Folsom Lake.Heading into Friday's competition, the Chico State team of Thomas White and Allison Shaw were in eighth place trying to make a move into the top five. Ultimately, the duo managed to land an 11-pound, 10-ounce stringer, by far the largest sack caught in today's competition, score a second-place finish with a total two-day catch of 19 pounds, 15 ounces, qualify for the finals and score an automatic berth to the prestigious national college fishing championship. Not bad for one day of fishing.

"I'm overwhelmed. I really am," said Shaw. "I just wanted to finish in the top five. But to end up today in second place is really amazing."

However, while everything worked out in the end, the day was almost an unmitigated disaster for the team. Not only did they suffer through boat engine problems, but they lost their GPS unit as well.

"This morning my gameplan went right out of the window," said White. "Our GPS broke, our engine broke down and after that I realized that we needed a whole new gameplan. We knew at that point it was going to be boom or bust. In the end we stumbled upon something and everything worked out. Basically, we got really lucky today. But I'd rather be lucky than good."

Chico State teammate Thomas White holds up his diminutive partner Allison Shaw in celebration of their second-place finish shortly after weigh-in.So what happened?

"We're just drifting around trying to figure out what to do," said Shaw. "(White) was busy rigging up and I was just staring at the fish finder. Then all of a sudden I see this giant wall of red come across the screen. It was the biggest bait ball that I'd ever seen. So I yelled to Tom. We wound up chasing bait around all day long and it obviously worked out pretty well. But I've never seen anything like it."

Using a Robo worm on a drop-shot, the team targeted bass in 30 to 40 feet of water for the remainder of the day. In the end, their catch was good enough to put them approximately 1 1/2 pounds off the lead.

"In the end, I'm really happy with the way things turned out," said White. "And to qualify for the national championship, that's great."

Chico State part deux

Chico State teammate Parker Moran shows off his catch en route to a third-place finish. The team of Moran and Marshal Smith were the second Chico State team to qualify for the finals.White and Shaw weren't the only representatives of Chico State to turn in a strong performance in today's competition. Another Chico State team, led by Parker Moran and Marshal Smith, managed to qualify for the finals as well - posting a two-day catch of 19 pounds to grab the third place overall.

"We did what we came out to do," said Moran. "We didn't catch the fish we wanted to on our big spots but we switched it up and everything worked out in the end. It's just been an awesome experience so far."

Clearly, it will be more awesome if the team can secure a win in Saturday's finals.

"I'm pretty confident right now," said Moran. "We should have had the same weight yesterday as we did today (10 pounds, 12 ounces). And our bite is only going to get better. And if our big-fish spot turns on, I'm pretty sure we'll win. I really think it's going to be between us and (Shaw and White) for the title. If our spot turns on, we'll win. But if their spot gets going, they'll win because I think they have bigger fish than us. Either way, it's looking good."

Chico State teammate Marshal Smith shows off his catch. The team of Moran and Marshall Smith were the second Chico State team to qualify for the finals.Moran believes his team possesses an advantage that no other team has - including Sacramento State.

"About two years ago, Folsom Lake water levels dropped to like a 40-year low. When the lake was down, we decided to try and map out the lake and try to find as many good spots as we could. Eventually we wound up with about 450 GPS points. We found rocks, ledges and a bunch of other good areas. And when we found out Folsom Lake was going to be the site of the regionals, we're pretty happy. We've been narrowing down our areas ever since. On this lake, all of the big fish hang out together. And we definitely have one spot where there are only 3- and 4-pounders. If that spot turns on tomorrow, we're going to be tough to beat."

San Jose State University nets fourth

Bolstered by a two-day catch of 18 pounds, 14 ounces, the San Jose State University team of Tyler Swasey and Anthony Lee managed a fourth-place finish in today's competition as well as a pass to the finals.

"Honestly, I'm feeling pretty good," said Lee. "Even though we broke off a 4- or 5-pounder today, it was another good day of fishing."

Like most teams, Lee and Swasey found Folsom Lake to be much tougher during today's competition.

"Conditions changed drastically," said Lee. "But we adapted. You have to make sure that you don't get discouraged when the bite shuts down. You just need to focus. Our goal all along was to get three big bites a day and we did that. So we're pretty happy right now."

Lee said the team once again relied on targeting man-made structure near steep drop-off points.

"We're fishing in about 30 feet of water and running about as far as you can run on this lake," said Lee.

San Jose State University teammate Tyler Swasey shows off his catch during todayIn addition to making the finals, the San Jose State team acknowledged that qualifying for the national championship is a great reward in and of itself.

"Really this tournament isn't about the money," said Lee. "It's not about winning boats. It's about qualifying for the national championship and representing your school."

Cal Poly grabs remaining finals berth

On the strength of a two-day, 16-pound, 4-ounce catch, the Cal Poly team of Scott Hellesen and Damian Bean landed the fifth and last qualifying spot for Saturday's finals.

"It's just incredible," said Bean. "Honestly, I didn't think we had enough to make the finals."

Cal Poly teammate Scott Hellesen shows off part of his team"It was definitely a little stressful but we got it done," said Hellesen. "I'm just thrilled to make the top five."

The duo said they primarily targeted bass in approximately 20 feet of water using a drop-shot rigged with a custom-made Robo worm.

"We're basically rotating between five different spots," said Bean. "We're just running and gunning all day."

The 2010 National Guard FLW College Fishing Western Regional Championship finals will commence Saturday morning at 7 a.m. Takeoff will take place once again at Folsom Lake Marina, located at 661 Green Valley Road in El Dorado Hills, Calif.

The top-five qualifers at the FLW College Fishing Western Regional Championship acknowledge the crowd shortly after day-two weigh-in.Related links:

Day-two results
Event schedule

Tags: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2010-10-07-western-regional-folsom-lake 

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