UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Pickwick Lake

Strategic thinking

Strategic thinking
Bright, sunny conditions may help and challenge anglers on day two.

AUBURN, Ala. - There may be some of that hero-zero stuff later in the day, but for most of the 20 teams competing in the FLW National Guard College Fishing Series Regional Championship presented by Evinrude, the smart move will be to play conservative until Lake Harding yields five legal fish.

Today's launch saw the gilded beams of a brilliant sunrise bursting forth from a cloudless sky to illuminate the day-two launch with postcard beauty. Nice for the tourism angle, but not exactly what anglers want to see.

True, sunlight tends to pull fish closer to cover, so anglers fishing docks, wood, grass or anything else that shades a bass' lidless eyes typically finds the fish easier to target. However, the high, bright "bluebird" skies that follow cold fronts can present challenging conditions, as the associated high pressure turns otherwise predictable bass into profoundly stubborn opponents.

That being said, anglers will likely do their best to secure a 5-fish limit before they go hog hunting forDay-one leaders Randy Tolbert and Chase Simmemon, of the University of Georgia, will start their morning with topwater baits. something with some shoulders. That's the plan for Randy Tolbert Jr. and Chase Simmemon, who sacked up a 10-pound limit on day one and earned the top spot for the University of Georgia.

"We're going to go look for a quick limit and then we're going to swing for the fences and try to upgrade," Simmemon said. "We're primarily fishing topwater and targeting offshore structure to catch a limit of spots and then we'll come in shallow and try to upgrade with largemouth."

Tolbert said he's hopeful that his team can break the 10-pound mark again today, but he's looking at day two as a step in the bigger picture.

"Seven pounds will get us into the top-5 and that's the ultimate goal - to make the College Fishing National Championship (with a top-5 finish at a Regional event) and then look for the win," he said. "Once we catch that, it would be nice to have a comfortable lead going into tomorrow, but you never know. It's just getting the right bites."

Kennesaw StateOne team that's especially interested in getting the right bites is the Georgia Southern duo, Wesley Maples and Jed Thigpen, who start day two with 7-4 - just one ounce out of the top 5. (The University of Florida's Mark Gipson and Travis Fledderman placed fifth on day one with 7-5.) Maples said to up their game, his team will have to step on the gas today.

"We have to move faster - our problem yesterday was that we spent too much time at one spot," he said.

Georgia Southern will again target shallow wood with soft plastics today. Thigpen said they'll forego any early topwater prospecting and instead devote all their time to targeted presentations.

"We're going to go shallow and look for a quality bite," Thigpen said. "We're going to move fast and see if we can luck up and hit a big one in the head."

Clemson's Andy Wicker and Harold Turner start day two in second place with 8-9, followed by two teams from Kennesaw State, third-place Chris Ellis and Brinson Roland (7-12) and fourth-placeKennesaw State Thomas Frink and Justin Marlow (7-9).

Tournament logistics

Anglers will take off from Po-Boy Landing located at 158 County Road 335 in Salem, Ala., at 7 a.m. daily. Weigh-in will be held at Ag Heritage Park located at 411 South Donahue St. in Auburn, Ala., beginning at 4 p.m. Friday and at 3 p.m. or upon completion of the Auburn University vs. Mississippi State Football game Saturday. Takeoff and weigh-in are free and open to the public.

Auburn University will also be hosting a College Fishing Festival throughout the three-day tournament. Students and fishing fans alike will be treated to the National Guard Warrior Challenge, a Ranger Boat simulator, tailgate games, a sports zone along with contests for cash and several prize give-aways. The festival will take place at Ag Heritage Park from 2-4 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 9 a.m. until the kickoff of the football game on Saturday.

College Fishing competitors and their observers pause for the national anthem.A National Guard Soldier Appreciation Tournament will also be held Saturday. Takeoff will be at 7 a.m. at Po-Boy Landing and weigh-in will be at 3 p.m. (subject to end of football game) at Ag Heritage Park.

The top five teams from each regional advance to the national championship where the first-place team will win $100,000 with $25,000 of that for their school and $50,000 cash and a Ranger 177TR bass boat wrapped in school colors and a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard for their fishing club.

College Fishing is free to enter and FLW Outdoors provides boats and drivers for each competing team along with travel allowances. All participants must be registered, full-time undergraduate students at a four-year college or university and members of a fishing club recognized by their college or university.


Friday's conditionsAnglers take off for day two of Southeast Regional action on Lake Harding.

Sunrise: 6:22 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 63 degrees
Expected high temperature: 79 degrees
Wind: NW at 5-10 mph
Max. humidity: 56 percent
Day's outlook: sunny

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2011-09-08-southeast-regional-lake-harding 

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