Fishing & Boating News

Northern Kentucky University Rallies to Claim First Place at the Collegiate Bass Fishing Open

University of Kentucky Claims Second and Bethel University Takes Third

by: Wade Middleton,

Northern Kentucky University
Photo by courtesy CBAA
2nd - University of Kentucky - Ryan Collins and Hunter Fulcher
Photo by Courtesy C.B.A.A.
(Apr 20, 2015 - San Antonio, Texas) Not to be discouraged by the extreme rain conditions, 146 boats combined into a total of 86 teams braved the pouring rain in search of giant Lake Chickamauga bass with one single goal in mind and that was to claim the honor of Collegiate Bass Fishing Open Champion. In the end, it was a motivated Northern Kentucky University Bass Fishing Team that rallied from third place on Day 1 with a Day 2 weight of 28.18lbs and a cumulative weight that ended Day 2 with 45.06lbs to claim the title with the University of Kentucky in second and Bethel University in third.
With over a three and a half hour fog delay starting out Day 1 of the Collegiate Bass Fishing Open, anglers were motivated to get on the water and hoped to leave the fog delay of Day 1 behind them as just a memory; however, anglers were greeted by buckets of rain at takeoff of Day 2 thus once again forcing some teams to change their fishing plans.
Northern Kentucky University Claims First
Northern Kentucky University was determined to catch a big bag of fish regardless of the challenging conditions. The three man team was able to bring in an astonishing 6 fish bag weighing 28.18lbs, making their two-day total 45.06lbs - almost nine pounds above second place.
The Northern Kentucky Bass Team expected the rain and had created a strategy to compensate for the rough conditions.
"[The rain] made the fishing better for us," said Northern Kentucky University angler Christopher Decker. "We were able to come up on the beds closer and not spook them because of the muddy water."
Decker's partner, Darian Finter, added that their method of catching bedding fish was one to stick to all day long.
"We fished shallow sloughs off of the main river about five miles away from the takeoff. We stayed twenty yards from the bank and caught bedding fish all day," said Finter.
"I'm happy about our team's performance," Decker stated. "The first day was hard because of the fog delay, but we rallied at the end to put together a solid day. We came out on the second day and did what we needed to do. I'm very proud of my guys!"
For taking home top honors at this event, the Northern Kentucky Bass Team was awarded $1000 in Cabela's gift cards and $1000 cash.
The University of Kentucky Seizes Second

Starting Day 2 as the Collegiate Bass Fishing Open leaders, the University of Kentucky one boat team of Ryan Collins and Hunter Fulcher packed on their rain gear and prepared to battle the conditions to bring in six big largemouth bass to the scales. The team did just that and brought in 17.43lbs on Day 2, giving them a total of 36.90lbs.   
The team's main pattern was flipping laydowns in main sloughs and creeks with Texas rigs following up their bite with a shad patterned rattle trap.
"The rainstorm was expected, the water muddied up, and the lack of sun didn't help our flippin' bite at all," said Collins.
"The rain did everything it could to kill our spirits, along with having only one fish for a majority of the day, but we kept at it, and are very pleased with the overall result," added Fulcher.
The University of Kentucky duo came prepared to the event, despite the conditions, and battled an additional factor that only few teams experienced. The team was a one boat, two angler team rather than the three or four angler teams that were so prevalent throughout many schools which is what makes the Open such a diverse tournament format.
"We are extremely happy with our finish since we were a one boat team," stated Collins. "We had two lines in the water compared to four that many other teams had. We essentially had to put ourselves on forty-five pounds of fish to win and we put ourselves on thirty-seven pounds and I'm very happy with that."
For their second place finish, the team was awarded $700 in Cabela's gift cards and $300 in cash. The UK team also cashed in on contingency money earning them $500 from Costa, $250 from the Association of Collegiate Anglers, and free hoodies from G2 Gemini Jerseys.
Bethel University Secures Third
As another top team that rallied to place in the top three, Bethel University's fishing improved as the weather deteriorated. The team came from a six pound deficit from the Day 1 leader to bringing in 21.32lbs on Day 2, giving the team a total of 35.25lbs.
Fishing almost a totally different pattern each day, the team struggled to find any consistency with the changing weather. From rattle traps to flippin' to Texas rigged worms, the four angler team was able to follow the changing pattern and earn the third spot in the Collegiate Bass Fishing Open, earning them $500 in Cabela's gift cards and $400 cash.
Completing the Top Ten Teams of the Collegiate Bass Fishing Open are as follows:

4. Murray State University - 32.05lbs -$400 Cabela's gift cards + $300 cash + $500 Yamaha  Contingency + $250 Cabela's Contingency
5. Middle Tennessee State University - 29.63lbs -  $250 Cabela's gift cards + $350 cash
6. Mississippi State University - 29.13lbs -  $200 Cabela's gift cards + $500 Ranger Contingency
7. Kennesaw State University - 28.91lbs -  $150 Cabela's gift cards
8. McKendree University - 26.95lbs -  100 Cabela's gift cards
9. Murray State University - 26.16lbs
10. University of North Alabama - 25.69lbs  

The Collegiate Bass Fishing Open is stop number two of the four major Cabela's Collegiate Bass Fishing Series events. Still ahead is the Collegiate Bass Texas Shootout on Lake Texoma on April 26th, and the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Series Championship on Lake Pickwick on May 20-22nd. We look forward to seeing you there!

Bethel University Secures Third
Photo by Courtesy C.B.A.A.