Live Blog: Friday, May 24th – Championship Day 2 On-the-Water!


Friday, May 24th 5:20 AM

Today is the culmination of a week long series of events that will crown one lucky team of anglers as Champions of the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops.  There are several very intriguing storylines that we will be keeping an eye on today.  The first will be the day one leaders, Cole Floyd and Carter McNeil from Bethel University.  Floyd and McNeil won this exact event just one year ago.  Today they will take to the water with a chance to become the first two angler pairing to win the Championship back to back.

The other major storyline today will be the chase for Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia.  I am not a professional mathematician, but I have done a little numbers crunching in regards to this race.  I will attempt to share that information later today.  As for right now, here’s what you need to know.  McKendree University enters today leading for School of the Year.  Their top two teams are in 21st and 22nd, weighing in just under 15.50 pounds each.

One of their biggest challengers today looks to be Bethel University.  After day one, their highest placed team is leading and the second best boat is somewhere around 40th overall.  The numbers will be tight coming down the stretch today.  Once the weigh-in is complete our staff will get everything tallied up and a winner will be announced.

There is a lot at stake today, and it’s going to be a great day full of fishing.  So be sure to stay tuned to the blog for the latest updates and information!


Friday, May 24th 5:55 AM

In just five minutes, official launch will take place.  The first flight of boats are done launching and standing by to take out onto Pickwick Lake.  Our crew will be following each of the top four teams following day one, as well as one boat representing the School of the Year leaders, McKendree University.


Friday, May 24th 6:05 AM

Teams are filing past the BoatUS tow boat now as they make their way out onto the main river channel.  Updates should start coming in soon.  Before they do, we will provide a quick look at several of the teams we are starting our coverage with today.

Friday, May 24th 6:15 AM

One set of our crew will start today with the third place team of Heath Pinell and Taylor Cranford from Louisiana State University.  These two young anglers took big bass honors on day one with a largemouth bass weighing 8.90 pounds.  On the weigh-in stage yesterday they said that big fish was caught on a spinnerbait up shallow.  We will find out soon exactly how they’re fishing and where they’re getting bites.


Friday, May 24th 6:20 AM

As to be expected, we will have coverage of the day one leaders Cole Floyd and Carter McNeil of Bethel University.  They are looking to repeat as champions this year.  After weigh-in yesterday, I had the opportunity to talk with them a little bit.  On day one they had to work hard to find the fish that they did.  They are not running all of the same spots that won them the title last year.  Yesterday they made a decent run down the lake.  So it may be just a little bit before we hear something from them.

Friday, May 24th 6:35 AM

We have our first reports of a keeper.  A team representing Texas A&M – Commerce is on the board.

Also of note, a McKendree University pairing has started within sight of McFarland Park.  Trevor McKinney and Blake Jackson are chunking and winding just off the main river channel.


Friday, May 24th 6:40 AM

Taylor and Heath from LSU have made it to their starting spot.  No reports of a fish catch just yet.


Friday, May 24th 7:25 AM

Jacob Moore and Gilliam Tharpe from North Carolina State University have one fish for around two and a half pounds.  They entered today in fourth place.

The third place team from LSU, Pinell and Cranford, also have one small keeper.


Friday, May 24th 7:35 AM

Cole Floyd and Carter McNeil from Bethel University have three fish total.  One is a “solid keeper.”  Last year on the final day, they actually improved upon their day one weight.  We will see if they can do the same this year.


Friday, May 24th 7:50 AM

Pictured above are Gaige Blanton and Will Andrie from Kansas State University.  They are in second place after weighing in 22.42 pounds on day one.

We also received a text update from a team locking up onto Wilson.  Austin Ocwieja and Andy Wengender fishing for the University at Buffalo have two keepers.  I am led to believe that they caught those two fish near the lock on Pickwick before they closed the gates at 7:00 AM.


Friday, May 24th 7:50 AM

The action out on Pickwick Lake seems to be significantly slower today so far.  Anglers are noting that there is not much current moving through the system.  But this is the Tennessee River after all.  If the current gets to moving, competitors could get rich quickly.


Friday, May 24th 8:00 AM

The Campbellsville University pairing of Dustin Jones and Jordan Smallwood just sent a picture of this nice one they just caught.  Jones and Smallwood weighed in 11.47 pounds on day one and are in 84th.


Friday, May 24th 8:10 AM

New update from day one leaders Cole Floyd and Carter McNeil.  They just added this toad to the box.  Early estimates have their current weight around 20 pounds.


Friday, May 24th 8:20 AM

The third place team from NC State has three fish for about seven pounds.

One of our team members has located Nathan Doty and Jacob Louis from McKendree University.  They have around 12-14 pounds.  We will post photos from on-the-water with them soon.

Fishing near them are JP Kimbrough and Ryan Antee.  The team from LSU – Shreveport also has roughly 16 pounds.


Friday, May 24th 8:30 AM

Here is an action photo from on-the-water of Nathan with a solid keeper.  He is sporting the Buff Headwear special issue ‘Yellow Jersey.’  This week the current School of the Year leader was provided the yellow headwear to have during the event.  It is a great honor to be provided these to wear during the tournament.

***I wanted to note an update on Louis and Doty’s weight estimate.  We originally posted that they had around 16 pounds.  That actual estimate is currently 12-14 pounds.  They are working on a nice limit that could allow them to hold their position in the tournament standings.  Entering today, that is the best case scenario they could ask for.  With Bethel having a team high up in the standings, McKendree will need to hold their ground or even improve upon their day one weights to secure the School of the Year title.


Friday, May 24th 8:35 AM

A member of our crew is near the tailrace emptying out of Wilson and into Pickwick Lake.  The tailrace serves as a buffet line for fish.  All sorts of bait and items wash down for these fish to eat.  You never know what you might catch!

The third place team from Kansas State just landed their first keeper of the day.


Friday, May 24th 8:48 AM

Cole Floyd and Carter McNeil are by far having the best day of the top teams we are following.  Last estimate had them sitting around 20 pounds.  That would put them over 40 pounds for a two day total.  At this event, it typically takes around 44 – 46 pounds to win.  They are definitely the team everyone is gunning for on this final day as of now.


Friday, May 24th 9:20 AM

Representing Stephen F. Austin University, Cody Barchenger & Austin Ellis enter today in a tie for 22nd place.  Right now they have one fish in the well that weighs about six pounds.  Yesterday they did not catch a majority of their fish until mid-morning.  We are approaching that time now, but they believe they are ahead of schedule.

NC State – Jacob Moore & Gilliam Tharpe, are up to four fish for eight and a half pounds.


Friday, May 24th 9:25 AM

Heath Pinnell and Taylor Cranford from LSU have just three fish for six and a half pounds.  Their big bass from yesterday outweighed today’s three fish combined.  They will need to find some bigger bites if they hope to push for the lead.

Friday, May 24th 9:40 AM

Trevor McKinney and Blake Jackson have made their way back near takeoff.  They have five fish for 13.50 pounds.  Since they’ve pulled up here, they have caught several fish.  One may have allowed them to cull up ever so slightly.


Friday, May 24th 9:50 AM

Calhoun Community College – Landon Nelson and Briana Tucker have a couple good ones in the boat.

Trevor and Blake from McKendree have caught several more fish here by launch.  One of those bass was big enough to cull and likely bump them up another half pound to a pound.


Friday, May 24th 10:00 AM

It seems as though the bite has really picked up within the last hour.  There have been plenty of updates rolling in.  Speaking of rolling, it looks as though the current has not picked up much.  If anglers can get in the right areas however, there are some fish biting.


Friday, May 24th 10:20 AM

Cole and Carter have culled up again.  They have moved to a new spot and are beginning to try some different baits.  Talking to them at weigh-in yesterday, Cole said this is about the time that their bite shut off.  If their bite does play out, they definitely made the most of a great morning.


Friday, May 24th 10:35 AM

Trevor and Blake just landed one that our crew estimates to be roughly four to five pounds.  That should get them closer to the 16 pound mark.  They are working hard to cull up their weight.

Entering today, they have a roughly 600 point lead over second place.  Bethel University is one of the teams looking to teach them down.  McKendree will likely need to place two teams inside of the top 30 to lock up the School of the Year title.  The wild card today are Bethel’s second and third boats.  There is room for them to improve today.  The second best team for Bethel enters today around 40th.  If they can catch a limit around 20 pounds, things could get real interesting come the end of the day.

Friday, May 24th 11:00 AM

Chase Christie and Jake Buchanan from the University of West Georgia caught this 5+ pound bass.  Pictured here is Jake with his catch.


Friday, May 24th 11:05 AM

Zach Oswalt and Harrison Creel from Mississippi College add this good one to the box.  That makes three fish total on the day.


Friday, May 24th 11:10 AM

NC State now has five fish.  Jacob Moore and Gilliam Tharpe  just landed this fish that weighs six and a half pounds.  They’ve lost several good ones today.  The current is picking up and they are starting to get more bites.


Friday, May 24th 11:30 AM

Could this be the fish that secures the School of the Year title for McKendree University?  We will find out in just a few hours! (This is video of the five pounder that they caught roughly 45 minutes ago.)


Friday, May 24th 11:40 AM

Greenville University – Ricky Huge and Cordell Beckmann with a solid mid-day cull!


Friday, May 24th 12:20 PM

Ty Cox has landed this bass today.  He says he lost this exact fish on day one.  When he got it in the boat today, the exact jig he was throwing during the first day of tournament competition was in this fish’s mouth.  Ty and his partner have around 17 pounds.  That is the second biggest limit we have reported among the top six teams.

NC State is up over 15 pounds.  And the third place team from LSU has five fish for around 10 pounds.


Friday, May 24th 12:25 PM

The Campbellsville University team of Dustin Jones and Jordan Smallwood just boxed up their fourth fish.


Friday, May 24th 12:45 PM

The live weigh-in can be viewed beginning at 2:00 PM.  It is going to be a tight race down to the finish.

Bethel University figures to have around 21 pounds.  Their closest competitors are likely 5-7 pounds behind them at the moment.

In regards to the School of the Year race, McKendree University has two teams with solid limits.  That greatly increases their odds at closing this out and taking home that crown.

A lot can change in the next few hours.  So get ready to tune in to the live weigh-in starting at 2:00 PM!