UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - James River

Arkansas Anglers Win College Open

Arkansas Anglers Win College Open
Drew Porto and Zachary Pickle

GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. – Anti-matter, anti-freeze, anti-social – now there’s anti-umbrella rig, thanks to Arkansas anglers Zachary Pickle and Drew Porto, who put together an umbrella rig-free tournament here in the FLW College Fishing Kentucky Lake Open to win the championship with 43 pounds, 12 ounces. The team won a Ranger Z117 with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and a spot in the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship.

The University of Alabama moved up one spot from Friday to second place with 43 pounds, 5 ounces while the University of Illinois wound up third with 43-0. Northwest Missouri State University, which held the lead on opening day, finished fourth with 41-14 and Bethel University’s team of Ty Dyer and Joseph Huggins was fifth with 38-1.

While virtually all of the other 193 teams in the two-day event were throwing umbrella rigs most of the time, the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville fishermen eschewed the rigs altogether, if only to prove that bass would hit something else beside the contraptions of wire and swimbaits. That something else for Pickle and Porto was an Xcalibur square-bill crankbait in shades of black back with chartreuse sides or blue back with chartreuse sides.

Though the pair had never seen Kentucky Lake before Tuesday, they made the most of their practice time and found a veritable trove of replenishing bass far to the south in the Big Sandy River portion of the lake below Paris Landing, Tenn.

“We were just fishing down a bank Thursday and then, on my Lowrance Gen2 Touch, I started seeing bass showing up in deeper water under us,” recalls Porto. “I told Drew, ‘hey, these fish are going to be moving up in the next few days. They did, because there were a bunch of gizzard shad ganged up there and the fish were pounding them.”

In fact, the Arkansas anglers caught a number of bass that had gizzard shad in their gullets, or coughed them up in the boat’s livewell. Porto and Pickle tried various models of crankbaits before settling on the Xcaliburs that produced the bulk of their catch.

“It was only about a 30-yard stretch of bank where there was chunk rock and current,” says Porto, a senior marketing major. “We stayed out in the deeper water and cast up in about 4 or 5 feet. We went back and forth all day for two days. We found out that we had to make our casts upstream at about a 45-degree angle and with the current. If the Xcalibur didn’t hit a rock, you didn’t get bit. It had to be a very precise angle of retrieve.”

There was only a 2-ounce difference between the five-fish limits Porto and Pickle brought in Friday (21-13, fifth place) and Saturday (21-15). Meanwhile, the rest of the top 10 was up for grabs. The University of Kentucky was in second place Friday behind the Missouri anglers, but didn’t have a keeper on Saturday and ended up in 34th place.

The Top 10:

1: Zachary Pickle & Drew Porto – University of Arkansas-Fayetteville – 43-15

2: Konnor Kennedy & Ethan Fleck – University of Alabama – 43-5

3: Qiurun Chen & Luke Stoner – University of Illinois – 43-0

4: Andrew Nordbye & Adam Almohtadi – Northwest Missouri State University – 41-14

5: Joseph Huggins & Ty Dyer – Bethel University – 38-1

6: Dalton Wesley & Zach Hartnagel – SIU-Edwardsville – 37-4

7: Grant Rutter & Kristopher Queen – Bethel University – 36-2

8: Alec Piekarski & Kyler Chelminiak – Bethel University – 34-9

9: Patrick Hoskins & Dillon Falardeau – UT-Chattanooga – 34-6

10: Zac Beek & Zachary Hartley – Iowa State University – 32-14

Complete results can be found here.

Tags: college-fishing  kentucky-lake  colin-moore  headline-story  2015-03-20-kentucky-lake 

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