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Kentucky Lake battle continues

Kentucky Lake battle continues
The second day of competition at the 2011 National Guard FLW College National Championship is under way.

HARDIN, Ky. - After a tough day of fishing during the opening round of competition at the 2011 National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship on Kentucky Lake, the field basically separated in three categories - the pretenders, the contenders and teams stuck right in the middle of the standings. For the contenders, their task is fairly straightforward today - produce a stringer in the 10- to 12-pound range and be virtually guaranteed a spot in Saturday's finals. For the pretenders, those teams who turned in limits less than 4 pounds, nothing short of a 20-pound-plus stringer in today's competition will give them any chance at qualifying for Friday's top-five cut.

However, the most interesting group is the teams mired in the middle of the standings. For those collegiate anglers, there will be plenty of opportunities to either finish the day in the top five or crash and burn and jump back in the car for the long road trip home.

With Kentucky Lake capable of yielding an abundance of 18- to 20-pound bags, today's contest should be as interesting as they come as nearly half the field still has a legitimate shot at making Saturday's all-important finals.

Jonas Ertel of Eastern Kentucky performs some last-minute equipment checks before the start of competition.One team that epitomizes the middle-tiered group is the squad from Eastern Kentucky. Considered one of the pre-tournament favorites, the duo of Kyle Raymer and Jonas Ertel could only muster a 7-pound, 12-ounce catch during the opening round of competition - good enough for a modest 10th-place finish. However, while the team was somewhat disappointed, they know that they can easily bounce back during today's competition.

"We're going to do the same thing we did yesterday," said Raymer. "The bite was really funny and we just didn't capitalize yesterday. A lot of fish came off before we had an opportunity to put them in the net. But today's a new day and the only thing we're worried about is making the top five. Today we're going to throw anything and everything we can at them. We've seen the fish that we need, now we just have to get them in the boat."

The Eastern Kentucky team said the additional cloud cover should help with their efforts to qualify for today's top-five cut.

"I think the bite will be better today," said Raymer. `We're going to try to throw a lot more moving baits because that's what you do when it gets cloudy. I definitely think you're going to see some bags bigger than 15 pounds today. I wouldn't be surprised if some teams come back with some 18- or 20-pound bags."

With some 5-, 6- and 7-pounders lurking in the waters of Kentucky Lake, teams can easily make a huge jump up the leaderboard.

"I think it's going to take 25 pounds over two days to qualify, so we're shooting for 17 or 18 pounds today," said Raymer. "Our goal is to make the cut. We just hope we can execute today."

So, just how important is fishing in 2011 FLW College Fishing National Championship?

"To win this would mean everything," said Ertel.

"It's awesome. It's just awesome," added Raymer.

Tourney format and event logistics

Takeoff commences on Kentucky Lake for the top 25 championship contenders.The entire FLW College Fishing National Championship field will compete for two days with the top-five college teams advancing to the third and final day of competition based on their overall accumulated weight. Teams are permitted to bring as many as five fish to the scales during each weigh-in. After the conclusion of Saturday's weigh-in, the tournament title will be awarded to the college team that has recorded the most combined weight over all three days of competition.

The national championship winning team will receive $50,000 cash, a Ranger 177TR with a 90-horsepower engine wrapped in school colors for their school's bass club and $25,000 for the school they represent - for a total prize package valued at $100,000.

However, a tournament trophy and a lucrative prize package aren't the only things at stake this week. The winning team in the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship will also qualify for the Forrest Wood Cup - one of the most prestigious bass-fishing championships in the nation which boasts a top prize of $600,000. The winning team member with the heaviest total weight in the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship will compete in the pro division and the other member of the winning team will compete in the co-angler division of the Forrest Wood Cup - scheduled to be held Aug. 11-14 on Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs, Ark.

Another beautful day appeared to be in store for collegiate anglers as they departed the Kenlake marina shortly after 7 a.m.Daily takeoffs for the national championship will be at 7 a.m. at Kenlake State Park Marina located at 888 Kenlake Marina Lane in Hardin, Ky. Daily weigh-ins will commence at 4 p.m. and will be held at the CFSB Center on the campus of Murray State University, located at 1401 State Route 121 North in Murray, Ky.

FLW Outdoors also will be hosting the College Fishing Festival, which runs from 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday (April 7-8) and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday (April 9) at the CFSB Center. Activities include a sports zone, tailgate games, climbing wall and Ranger boat simulator. Bucky Covington will perform a free live concert on Saturday, April 9 at 2:30 p.m. at the CFSB Center prior to the final weigh-in and crowning of the national champions.

Bass-fishing fans take note

Want to watch the inaugural national championship weigh-in live but can't make it in person? Then tune into FLW Live on FLWOutdoors.com shortly before 4 p.m. Central time to watch live streaming video and audio of today's opening-round weigh in.

Friday's conditions

Sunrise: 6:29 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 66 degrees
Expected high temperature: 81 degrees
Water temperature: 57-60 degrees
Wind: SSW at 8-11 mph
Humidity: 68 percent
Day's outlook: partly cloudy

Related links:

Live on-the-water coverage
Event schedule
Meet the 2011 FLW College Fishing National Championship teams
College Fishing Festival
National Guard FLW College Fishing rankings

Tags: gary-mortenson  morning-story  2011-04-07-national-championship 

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