On the first day of the 2017 Cabela’s Collegiate Bass Fishing Open, the powerhouse bass fishing club of Murray State University has three of their teams sitting in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places. Currently in 7th place in the Cabela’s School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia race, it comes as no surprise that the Murray State teams were going to perform strong on Lake Dardanelle in Russellville, Arkansas.
On the eve of the first day of the Cabela’s Collegiate Bass Fishing Open, Lake Dardanelle and surrounding areas received over an inch of rain. Anglers were greeted Saturday with much more stained water, winds out of the north, and cooler temperatures than they had seen in practice, causing concern around take off.
Hundreds of anglers set out on day one to try to overcome the changes that Mother Nature had thrown at them. During practice, most of the anglers had been targeting shallow grass near spawning areas. Water temps had been holding steady all week around the 63-degree mark and with the New Moon only a couple days away the anglers knew the fish were about push shallow to spawn.
With many of the top college anglers in the country competing at this event they did not let the changes affect them and fish catches started being reported before 8am. The early bites were showing the anglers that the shallow pattern was still going to be a key factor in bringing in a limit to the scales. Most all of the teams we were hearing from and watching were using a variety of reaction style baits from frogs, buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, a-rigs and small square bills. Most of the bass had not pulled back out to deeper water with the cooler temps and were still shallow and still feeding aggressively.
Murray State University came out firing on all cylinders. After a lengthy run, Brock Spencer of Murray State caught two fish early in shallow grass, both of those fish weighed over 6lbs, and not too much later, he added a third fish to fill out his limit. The second boat in his team, made up of Nick Montilino and Nick Inzeo, was able to catch three keepers to bring their first day team total to 27.19lbs. Following the 1st place team, the Murray State University team of Hunter Mills, Hunter McKinley, Mike Lowry, and Brian Koch brought in 26.71lbs to end the day in 2nd place; and the Murray State team of Joe Bardill, Luke Ripple, Boris Moskoff, and Ryan Lancaster brought in 24.69lbs for current 3rd place.
Rounding off the top five is the University of Louisiana – Monroe with 23.86lbs and Louisiana State University with 20.92lbs. Murray State University is trying to make a big jump in the Cabela’s School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia race and they have the opportunity to move way up in this race.
Day 2 is going to bring completely different conditions that the anglers are going have to figure out and adapt to the changing conditions. With temps expected to reach the upper 70’s with an abundance of sunshine, we may see fish move and hold more tightly to the cover. The other big difference the anglers are about to see is the wind or lack of wind. The forecast shows to have calm winds at launch and winds climbing to only 6mph out of the south by three o’clock. The USGS released over 39,000cfs from 7am till 9pm with the lake continuing to rise and the anglers may see water still being released tomorrow which equals current and thus meaning better fishing.
Day 2 weigh-in will start at 3pm at the Lake Dardanelle State Park.