Thursday, May 23rd 5:20 AM
The first day of tournament action is here! Anglers will officially begin making their way out onto to Pickwick Lake beginning at 6:00 AM. Many of the competitors are dumping their boats in the water as we speak.
We will have camera operators and staff start the morning covering the top four teams in the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia. In order of first through fourth that will be: McKendree University, Murray State University, Bethel University, and Adrian College. All four of these teams have veteran anglers that have put in a lot of time here over the past several years. The Bethel team we are covering will be Cole Floyd and Carter McNeil. The duo won this event just last year.
Several of the teams we are in the boat with will be running all the way down into Tennessee. So it may take 30-45 minutes before we get our first updates from them. Stay tuned to the blog for our live coverage today, as we will provide immediate updates when we receive information.
Thursday, May 23rd 5:45 AM
Pictured here are Nathan Adams and Jordan Hartman from Murray State University. Murray enters this event in second place for the School of the Year race. Jordan and a fellow team member finished in the top 10 at this event in 2018. We will have a camera boat with them to start the morning.
Thursday, May 23rd 6:00 AM
It’s almost go time! In just a few minutes boats will start filing out onto Pickwick Lake. Stand by for more!
Thursday, May 23rd 6:10 AM
And just like that we are under way! The first boat(powered by a Yamaha engine) is on its way down the lake. This will be the popular trail for teams leaving launch. Most of the coveted offshore spots out on Pickwick are located down the lake just a little ways. Some teams could be making runs as short as five minutes, while others may run for closer to 45 minutes as they make their way into Tennessee.
Thursday, May 23rd 6:30 AM
Within eyesight of the ramp we just witnessed what I would estimate to be one of the first keeper fish caught in this event. A team representing Adrian College dropped their trolling motor just outside of the no wake buoys, and has added a fish to the box. Adrian College is currently in fourth place in the School of the Year race.
Thursday, May 23rd 6:36 AM
Another keeper fish has been caught just outside of the launch site. I am not sure which school they are with. That makes two fish that we have seen be put in the livewell this morning. If this is any indication of how the morning is going to go out on Pickwick Lake, we should be receiving word of plenty of fish catches within the next hour.
Thursday, May 23rd 7:10 AM
We also have crew staged on Wilson Lake waiting for boats to lock through. The lock master was scheduled to send them through at 7:00 AM. Surface temperature up there is 73 degrees. There is absolutely no wind this morning. Several local anglers are up shallow fishing docks and have caught a few fish early.
Thursday, May 23rd 7:30 AM
Nathan Adams and Jordan Hartman from Murray State have made it to their starting spot. They have two fish in the box thus far.
Thursday, May 23rd 7:45 AM
That marks the third keeper for Nathan and Jordan. Looks like that fish is likely around the four pound range. Makes three keepers for the team from Murray State.
Thursday, May 23rd 7:55 AM
One of our photographers is in Coffee Slough. He reports seeing several teams fishing up shallow in this area. Believe it or not, it sounded like a lot of teams planned on going shallow this week. Now I did not get a great feel for exactly what they were catching, but they definitely had confidence in that bite.
Thursday, May 23rd 8:00 AM
A total of 25 boats locked through to Wilson Lake this morning. One of those teams is Zach Oswalt & Harrison Creel from Mississippi College. They currently have one fish in the livewell for roughly two pounds.
Thursday, May 23rd 8:00 AM
Nathan and Jordan from Murray State now have a limit in the well and are culling. We will try to provide a weight estimate when we receive one.
Thursday, May 23rd 8:20 AM
We have an update on a boat representing the fourth place team in School of the Year, Adrian College. Jack Hippe and Griffin Fernandes have three fish total.
Also of note, Jacob Louis and Nathan Doty from McKendree University have landed two keepers. McKendree is looking to win the School of the Year title this week as they come to Florence sitting in first place.
Thursday, May 23rd 8:35 AM
We’ve caught up with Garrett Brown and Hunter Moss from LSU-Shreveport. They are one of the 25 boats that locked through to Wilson. So far zero keepers to show for their efforts, but have missed several bites on a topwater.
Thursday, May 23rd 8:45 AM
We have a weight estimate for Nathan and Jordan from Murray State. They are believed to have a little over 16 pounds at the moment. They are culling. You can see Nathan pictured here using the Conservation Cull System from TH Marine. This non-puncture cull system reduces the stress and harm imposed upon the fish while being hauled around in the livewell.
Thursday, May 23rd 8:50 AM
Nathan Doty and Jacob Louis from McKendree University have filled out a limit and are now culling. All small fish so far. Those five will likely go for roughly 9-10 pounds.
Thursday, May 23rd 9:00 AM
Here is a look at the biggest fish we have reported this morning. Bailey Stover caught this fish early on today. It is estimated to be around the eight pound mark. Bailey and his partner Brandon Black are representing the University of West Georgia. They are believed to have over 15 plus pounds.
Thursday, May 23rd 9:20 AM
We had an update early on today from Zach Oswalt and Harrison Creel of Mississippi College.They had locked through to Wilson and landed one small keeper. They now have this solid smallmouth to add to their total as well. That makes two fish total for them.
Thursday, May 23rd 9:25 AM
Beau Ashcraft and Sam Ryan from Purdue have three fish for roughly nine pounds. They are also fishing up on Wilson.
Thursday, May 23rd 9:45 AM
The teams fishing up on Wilson have found some success today. A variety of cover is holding fish, including boat docks, bridges, and shallow grass. The bite has slowed down up there some, but there is always a potential for the bite to kick on and produce a quality bag. Our crew reports seeing a mixture of baits being used such as topwaters, wacky worms, swim jigs, and the Stupid Tube. Anglers fishing up on Wilson will have to be back to the lock by 1:00 PM to lock back to Pickwick.
Thursday, May 23rd 9:50 AM
This picture was sent in from out on the water. Justin Baxle from Wallace State Community College landed this nice fish!
Thursday, May 23rd 10:05 AM
The action has been pretty steady this morning. Both Pickwick and Wilson lakes are producing fish. Conditions are setting up well for fishing. There is a light breeze blowing across the lake now. High temperature are expected to reach into the mid 90’s. The first flight of boats are due in to the launch site at 2:00 PM.
Thursday, May 23rd 10:10 AM
Oswalt & Creel have added their third fish to the box. The anglers from Mississippi College are working on solid limit up on Wilson.
Thursday, May 23rd 10:20 AM
A team representing the University at Buffalo is fishing the tailrace at the upper end of Wilson Lake. Austin Ocwieja and Andy Wengender have two keepers in the boat.
Thursday, May 23rd 10:35 AM
Trevor McKinney and Blake Jackson from McKendree University just pulled in near the launch site at McFarland Park. They promptly caught a keeper fish. Not sure if it culled out their smallest one. Trevor reports that they do indeed have a limit, and it is estimated to be around 14 pounds.
Thursday, May 23rd 10:45 AM
Here is a mid-morning update from last year’s winners, Cole Floyd and Carter McNeil from Bethel University. They are mixing things up with a variety of baits and have culled several times. Estimates have their best five to be over 20 pounds.
Thursday, May 23rd 10:50 AM
Jack and Griffin from Adrian College are working an offshore spot out on the main river. They currently have a total of three fish.
Thursday, May 23rd 11:00 AM
The Blue Mountain College pairing of Ty Cox and Chandler Boman are culling and have a limit of 16 pounds. Blue Mountain enters this week in fifth place for the School of the Year race.
Thursday, May 23rd 11:10 AM
Our crew has caught up with the University of West Georgia. Brandon Black and Bailey Stover are strong contenders for big bass today. They caught one nearing eight pounds earlier today, and have over 15 pounds at the moment.
Thursday, May 23rd 11:35 AM
Cody Barchenger and Austin Ellis from Stephen F. Austin University sent this in from on the water. That fish goes about five pounds, and they say their limit will go 15-16 pounds.
Thursday, May 23rd 11:45 AM
The fishing up on Wilson Lake has slowed down as the morning progresses. Several teams up there have limits, while a majority of the teams are sitting on two to three keepers. Our crew says they have not heard of any limits over 15 pounds.
Thursday, May 23rd 11:55 AM
The Georgetown College team of Hunter Osborne and Sam Clark are now culling. They have roughly 11 pounds.
Thursday, May 23rd 12:15 PM
LSU – Shreveport’s JP Kimbrough and Ryan Antee have 14 pounds. They hope to upgrade to the 20 pound mark by weigh-in.
Samuel Kramer and Caleb Epperly from the University of Central Oklahoma just texted in. Fishing up on Wilson Lake, they have around 13 pounds.
Thursday, May 23rd 1:00 PM
Live weigh-in coverage begins at 2:00 PM. Download and tune in to one of these various sources to see some giant bass cross the stage!
Thursday, May 23rd 1:30 PM
Jacob Moore and Gilliam Tharpe from NC State are adding to their limit. From their text, they say they have around 20 pounds.
Thursday, May 23rd 1:45 PM
Will Herrington and Nick Churchill from Mississippi State are still catching fish. There appears to have been a late flurry this afternoon. We went several hours without many updates, and now we are receiving them at a more regular pace.
Thursday, May 23rd 2:00 PM
The first flight of boats are back at the dock. Weigh-in is beginning right now. We will continue to provide updates from on-the-water as we receive them.