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Posted By Hawgsrus

May 21, 2017--GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. – The Murray State University team of Zach Baker of Murray, Kentucky, and Micah Chessor of Paducah,Kentucky, won the YETI FLW College Fishing Central Conference tournament presented by Bass Pro Shops on Kentucky and Barkley lakes Saturday after weighing five bass totaling 19 pounds, 4 ounces. The victory earned the duo a $2,000 scholarship and an invitation to compete in the 2018 FLW College Fishing National Championship.

“This is an exciting win for our club – it’s nice to keep it in Kentucky,” said Baker, a senior majoring in Occupational Safety and Health. “It was a grind out there. We fought against some wind and waves, which definitely made things more tough. We just kept our heads down and fished.”

“We stayed on one ledge most of the day – a 70-yard stretch on the north-end of the lake at the mouth of Pisgah Bay,” said Chessor, a junior majoring in Wildlife Biology. “I found it in practice on Monday and the fish were stacked. I told Zach (Baker) that if we can get there first-thing Saturday morning, we’re going to stay there all day.”

“The ledge is basically a community hole,” said Baker. “The top of it is about 25 feet down and the bottom stretches to down about 30 feet. We just kept circling it and had a limit in the boat by 10:30 (a.m.), with our biggest fish coming in around 9:30.”

Baker said their biggest bass was caught on a Tennessee Shad-colored Keitech Impact FAT Swimbait with a 1-ounce head. He said their remaining four were brought in using a drop-shot rigged 4½-inch Morning Dawn-colored Roboworm Straight Tail Worm.

“We caught eight or nine keepers throughout the day,” said Chessor. “I caught some vertically out of the grass with the worm, and casted at them as well.”

“Patience was crucial for us,” said Baker. “We would hit a flurry of bites for around 45 minutes and then it would die off for around an hour. We just had to keep our focus and trust our instinct.”

This YETI FLW College Fishing Central Conference event at Kentucky and Barkley lakes was the second regular-season qualifying tournament of 2017 and was hosted by the Kentucky Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau. The next event for Central Conference anglers is their regular-season finale, scheduled for Oct. 7 on the Mississippi River in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.

YETI FLW College Fishing teams compete in three regular-season qualifying tournaments in one of five conferences – Central, Northern, Southern, Southeastern and Western. The top ten teams from each division’s three regular-season tournaments, along with an additional qualifier for every 10 teams over 100 that compete, along with the top 20 teams from the annual YETI FLW College Fishing Open will advance to the 2018 FLW College Fishing National Championship.

College Fishing is free to enter. All participants must be registered, full-time students at a college, university or community college and members of a college fishing club that is recognized by their school.

Courtesy of FLW Communications.


 
Posted By Hawgsrus

May 1, 2017--RIDGELAND, Miss.--Severe storms may have caused the postponement of the final round of fishing Sunday, but nothing could stop Bassmaster Elite Series rookie Dustin Connell of Clanton, Ala., from claiming victory in the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite at Ross Barnett.

Connell caught a five-bass limit weighing 12 pounds, 15 ounces today, pushing his four-day total to 64-13 and holding off a late-charging veteran Kevin VanDam, who ended with 62-10.

Hoisting the coveted first-place trophy overhead — and pocketing the $100,000 that goes with it — has been Connell’s dream since childhood.

“This dream was becoming a reality back in my college days, when I fished the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Bracket Challenge against Matt and Jordan Lee of Cullman, Ala.,” Connell said. “They fished for Auburn University, and I fished on the University of Alabama team. Matt went to the Classic that year, and now the three of us compete in the Elite Series.”

Jordan Lee won the 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods in March, and now with Connell’s Elite Series victory, the anglers who rose through the college ranks are proving their worth.

“I’m so thankful for the opportunity to get my start in big tournaments through the college fishing program,” he said. “It’s testament to Bassmaster’s seeding the future of professional bass fishing, and I’d say this to every college angler with a dream, ‘You can do this, too.’”

“I knew I needed to find something different and a long way from the crowds that would build on a smaller fishery like this,” the 26-year-old angler said. “When I arrived for official practice, I caught a 4- and a 5-pounder right away — and then I put my rods down.”

To save his bass for the competition days, Connell spent the rest of his practice viewing similar spots with his Lowrance sonar and GPS units.

“I caught probably 25 swim-jig fish on Thursday,” he said. His best five that day weighed 19-12. “But Friday was a turning point of this tournament. I didn’t have a fish before 10:30 because the Pearl River water rose and got muddier, slowing the pattern. I decided to go back and flip all of the same stuff, and I caught another 16 pounds in a short while. At that point, I knew I could win.”

“Today was definitely harder because of that weather system,” he said. “I really had to work for my fish, but thankfully I was able to catch two key fish this morning on a frog in a small pocket — locations that were critical for me throughout the week.”

Connell said winning an Elite Series event during his rookie season wasn’t expected, but something he’ll never forget.

“I can’t thank my family enough,” an elated Connell said. “They have supported this dream from the beginning, and to win one this early in my career gives me a lot of confidence that I made the right decision chasing after it.

“I love to fish. I fish every chance I get, and what I’m able to learn from fishing against the best in the world at these events is something I’m very grateful for.”

Rounding out the Top 12: Kevin VanDam (62-10), Jonathon VanDam (59-4), Bobby Lane (57-9), Mark Menendez (57-7), Dave Lefebre (56-14), Ish Monroe (56-1), Matt Herren (55-9), Skeet Reese (52-2), Fred Roumbanis (51-12), Keith Poche (51-4) and Brent Chapman (48-9).

Brandon Lester of Fayetteville, Tenn., won the Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award of $1,500 for the 7-2 largemouth bass he caught during Thursday’s opening round.

Courtesy of BASS Communications.