Fishing & Boating News

Bethel Wildcats Take First-Round Lead At Bassmaster College Eastern Tour On Cherokee Lake

by: JamieDay Matthews,

Cully Scroggins (right) and Nathon Portch of Bethel University take the lead on the 1st day of the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Eastern Tour on Cherokee Lake, with 17 lbs, 7 oz.
Photo by Andy Canulette/B.A.S.S.
(May 10, 2018 - JEFFERSON CITY, TN.) While most other college bass fishing teams were pulling 2 1/2-pound bass out of Cherokee Lake today, Cully Scroggins and Nathon Portch were catching 3 1/2-pounders.

Scroggins and Portch, members of the Bethel University Bass Team, seized the first-round lead in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Eastern Tour presented by Bass Pro Shops with a five-bass limit that weighed 17 pounds, 7 ounces.

That was nearly 2 pounds better than the second-place team of Zeke Gossett and Hayden Bartee of Jefferson State (Ala.) Community College, who had a limit that weighed 15-9. Lee Mattox and Anderson Aldag of the University of Alabama are third with 15-7, and Lucas Murphy and Nolan Hitt of Grand Valley State (Mich.) University are in fourth with 15-1.

Behind those four tandems is a knot of teams that are wedged between 14-13 on the high end (good enough for fifth place), and 10 pounds (which is good for a tie for 108th place).

With so many teams within ounces of one another, competition should be heated as anglers try to get into the Top 32 here on Cherokee Lake. That’s the number of duos that will survive the cut and move on to the final round after Friday’s competition.

In all, 146 of the 263 teams competing in the College Eastern Tour event caught limits on Thursday. Many of the anglers keyed on a trifecta of largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass and the smorgasbord helped create that logjam on the top half of the leaderboard.

Scroggins and Portch said they went “junk fishing” on Thursday. Their bite came early in the morning, long before steady rain storms moved eastward across the Volunteer State. The duo weighed three largemouth bass (the largest of which weighed 3-13); two smallmouth rounded out the bag.

“We didn’t really have a plan,” Scroggins said. “We just went out there and fished. We’ll do the same thing tomorrow.”

Tyler Craig and Spencer Lambert of the University of Louisiana at Monroe continued their torrid season on the college tour with a 14-13 limit today. The duo leads the Team of the Year point standings, and their opening catch has them in good position to remain there when this event is complete.

The Eastern Tour stop on Cherokee Lake is the third of four regular-season events for college anglers this year.

Lambert said he and Craig will continue the methods they employed on Thursday, despite the fact that rainy weather is expected to give way to sunny skies and temperatures hovering around 90 degrees on Friday.

“I don’t think anything will change,” Lambert said. “We just have to go back out and catch them again.”

Lambert and Craig weighed a 3-14 bass which gave them the lead for the Carhartt Big Bass Award. The $500 Carhartt gift card will be presented to the duo that catches the biggest bass over the course of the three-day tournament.

The full field of 263 boats will compete again on Friday. After the cut, 32 teams will fish Saturday with the winning duo taking home $2,500 for their school’s fishing team.

Friday’s launch will begin at 6:30 a.m. ET at the TVA Dam Ramps in Jefferson City. Friday’s weigh-in will be held in the same location beginning at 2:30 p.m.

2018 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Title Sponsor: Carhartt

2018 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Presenting Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops

2018 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2018 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Premier Sponsors: Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha, ABU Garcia, Berkley, Huk, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota

2018 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Supporting Sponsors: Lowrance, Mossy Oak Fishing, Phoenix Boats, Livingston Lures

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (, television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation presented by Magellan Outdoors, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.