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

College Championship Top 5 Patterns - Day 1

College Championship Top 5 Patterns - Day 1
LOGAN SMITH & PAYTON MORGAN

Day one of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance C-Map Genesis was a challenge for many, but the top five teams all put together solid limits. The Red River gave up 14-7 for the leading University of Louisiana-Monroe duo of Thomas Soileau and Hunter Freeman, but a lot of teams are still in the hunt, as 37 teams managed at least 8 pounds. It’s likely that ounces will separate the eventual winners from second, and it’s almost a sure thing that ounces will determine who makes the cut to fish on day three, so getting off to a good start is only half the battle.

Many teams focused on main-river rock on day one, but that wasn’t the only way to catch fish. As the top five demonstrated, there are a number of patterns to be found on the Red River right now.

ULM’s leading pattern

Complete results

 

2. Jackson Ebbers & Charlie Deshazer – University of Nebraska – 13-11 (5)

“All’s well that ends well” may be a little tough for Jackson Ebbers and Charlie Deshazer or swallow right now, but considering the potentially crushing obstacles day one presented, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln team clearly came out ahead.

“We stayed in Pool 5 all day and it was tough; we had just about everything that could go wrong go wrong,” Deshazer says. “First, our main power switch went out, so we couldn’t use our live wells at all. Then our cranking battery died, so we had to come back and get (another) cranking battery. And our throttle is messed up, so we can’t get on plane easily.”

Despite these impediments, the anglers turned in a solid effort, with squarebills and spinnerbaits producing their bites.

“We caught them on main river rocks,” Ebbers says. “If there was a straight place where the current came into the rocks, that was big. And anywhere you had current blowing through the rocks, they’d be sitting in there eating shad.

Deshazer says their bites came right on the rocks, so tight boat positioning was essential to keeping their baits with a couple feet of the structure.

Without livewell pumps to keep their fish aerated, Ebbers and Deshazer kept dumping buckets of lake water into their wells. Fortunately, they were able to keep their fish alive until they came in about an hour early.

 

3. Payton Morgan & Logan Smith – Kennesaw State University – 12-7 (5)

The Red is a big river, but Kennesaw State University’s Payton Morgan and Logan Smith only needed a small piece of it to catch 12-7 and position themselves in third place.

“We got to our spot about 5 minutes after leaving take off and we had all of our weight within 10 minutes,” Morgan says. “We sat there all day and we could’ve caught fish all day, but we just stood our ground and protected out spot for tomorrow.”

Morgan and Smith caught their fish on reaction baits. They targeted a small current-washed rock point. The spot’s emergent section, Morgan says, belies the fish-laden subsurface structure.

“Throughout the day, we learned that we can get a finesse bite,” Morgan says. “The boat numbers flip flop tomorrow, so if somebody hits our spot before us, they’ll more than likely be throwing a reaction bait in the morning, but we can slide in after that and hopefully hit them with finesse baits.”

 

4. Nick Hatfield & Corey Neece – Tusculum College – 12-1 (5)

The brutal heat was tough on necks and noses, but Nick Hatfield & Corey Neece leveraged the day’s increasing sunlight to their advantage and put Tusculum College in fourth place with 12-1.

“We caught a few fish early, but as the day went on, the bite seemed to get better for us,” Hatfield says. “We’re fishing around grass, so I’d say it’s the sun that’s putting them in the grass.”

Targeting grassy cover in 5 to 6 feet, the anglers caught fish by flipping, fishing topwaters and dragging a worm. They made a long run, nearly to Pool 3 and fished way out of sight from passing competitors.

“We were way back in a pocket,” Hatfield says. “We had to use a push pole to get in. We got some good bites in there in practice, but we weren’t sure if we could get them today. But we went in there and it worked.”

 

5. Hunter Malmay & Robert Jones – Northwestern State – 11-14 (5)

Their day got off to a slow start, but Northwestern State’s Hunter Malmay and Robert Jones persevered and caught a fifth-place limit of 11-14.

“We didn’t have our first keeper until 11 o’clock,” Malmay says. “It was a grind and we struggled to establish a pattern early. We chased clear water all day and the fish that we did find held tight to cover.”

The Northwestern State anglers tried fishing rock banks, but found only shorts. Spending their whole day in Pool 5, they ended up catching their keepers by flipping shallow wood with a V&M J-Bug.

“We made our last cull in the last 10 minutes we could fish,” Malmay says.

 

Tags: david-a-brown  headline-story  2018-05-30-national-championship 

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