Live Blog: Thursday, May 24th – 2018 Championship Day 1 on the Water!


Thursday, May 24th 2:30 P.M.

The first flight is starting to show up at McFarland Park here in Florence to weigh in their fish. With our crew heading back to cover weigh-in, this will conclude blog coverage from on the water for day 1. The weigh in can be viewed live on both the website and our Facebook page.

Thursday, May 24th 2:05 P.M.

After not hearing from Scott Ellis and Chase Dawson since this morning, the anglers from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville are making their first cull of the day.  That looks like a pretty good size smallmouth to be returning back into Pickwick Lake.   This appears to be a good bag in the making for Ellis and Dawson.

Thursday, May 24th 1:55 P.M.

This fish for Dallas Baptist University accounts for an afternoon cull.  Ryan Wood and Reid Strobl are working on a good bag.  Due in at 4:00 pm, they still have a good hour and a half of fishing left to continue to upgrade.

Thursday, May 24th 1:46 P.M.

The anglers who locked up to Wilson this morning have all made it back, and are now out on Pickwick with about 40 minutes left until the first flight is due in.

Thursday, May 24th 1:38 P.M.

Boat 146 from Arkansas Tech University has completed their limit.  Taylor Morten and Bennett Pierce say their biggest one is about three pounds, and their best five should go about 13 lbs.

Thursday, May 24th 1:10 P.M.

The largest reported limit we have heard of today comes from the Bryan College team of Nathan Bell and Cole Sands.  They estimate their best five to weigh around 20 lbs.  That could be good enough to be on up in the top 10 at the end of the day.  We will find out starting at 2:30 pm.

Thursday, May 24th 1:06 P.M.

Army – West Point gets on the board.  Rocco Caywood and Nate Buss just landed their first keeper of the day.  They are thrilled to have their first fish in the boat.

Thursday, May 24th 1:00 P.M.


Grant Srajer and Travis Blenn from Kansas State University have a few good ones in the boat. Their bag is being boosted thanks to the two four pounders they have caught today.

Thursday, May 24th 12:55 P.M.

The 1:00 pm deadline for the anglers from Wilson Lake to lock through is fast approaching.  Our crew is staged at the lock, watching the teams come through.  If we receive word on how these teams faired, we will provide those updates soon.

Thursday, May 24th 12:40 P.M.

The mid-day lull has hit as the sun beats down and it is getting hot outside.  The reports of fish catches are sparse.  Most of the fish being caught right now are non-keepers.

Anglers have mentioned on numerous occasions that the bite has picked up each day around the noon hour.  With the first flight due back in at 2:30 pm, just two hours remain for some of the field to get the crucial bites they need.

Thursday, May 24th 11:50 A.M.

John Thigpin and Parker Davidson from the University of Mississippi say they had a good practice.  So far today they have just one small keeper.

Thursday, May 24th 11:40 A.M.

During a week such as this, there are always different storylines and things that pop up.  For two anglers from Missouri State University, this week has involved a lot of traveling.  During practice, Robby Moody and Michael Mills hit a submerged object while running out in the main channel.  This caused some damage to their boat and they had to scramble to find a boat to use during the tournament.

The two drove back north several hundred miles to meet up with family members and get a boat to fish out of.  This morning they launched the old Ranger for the first time and are out on the water fishing today.  So far, against all of the odds stacked in front of them, they have four fish for around 10 lbs.


Thursday, May 24th 11:30 A.M.

Boat #36, Nick Marsh and Jack Hippe from Adrian College just landed their 5th fish.  This is their biggest fish so far.  Their best five should be on into the double digits range.

Adrian College enters this event 6th overall in the school of the year race.  With a good showing this week, the team could crack the top 5 and cap off a great year.

Thursday, May 24th 11:20 A.M.

Burdeshaw and McCord from Auburn have three fish now.  Those three fish aren’t worth much weight though.

As a team, Auburn is trying to apply pressure to Bethel University as they work to make up ground in the Cabela’s School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia.

Thursday, May 24th 11:07 A.M.

To view the live footage of Northwestern St. fishing, click here.

Thursday, May 24th 11:02 A.M.

A team from Northwestern St. University has checked in with four fish for 14 lbs.  Johnny Ledet and Dustin Nash report they have three really nice fish and one average size keeper.  The pair seems to be dialed in on a good pattern, despite fishing amongst a crowd.

Thursday, May 24th 10:58 A.M.

A member of our team just pulled up on Jack Hippe and Nick Marsh from Adrian College.  They currently have a limit.  The five fish they have are smaller sized keepers, and they are in search of several kickers.

Thursday, May 24th 10:48 A.M.

As we’ve reported all morning, the Bethel University team of Hunter Louden and Cole Walker have been working on a solid limit.  Hunter is featured in the image above holding up two of their five fish.

Thursday, May 24th 10:42 A.M.

We are able to provide a better update on Crosley Welch and Matt Fielder from Missouri State University.  Here are three fish they have in the livewell.  From left to right, they weigh and estimated 5, 3, and 2 lbs.

Thursday, May 24th 10:38 A.M.

Pictured above are Connor Mcnabb and Brandon Boyd.  Our crew is live now on Facebook with this team from Mississippi State.  They have caught several short fish since we have been in their area.

Thursday, May 24th 10:35 A.M.

Our crew has left the UNA team of Pardue and Doss.  They were still sitting on four fish.  Throughout the morning they managed to catch a good number of bass, just a lot of shorts.

Thursday, May 24th 10:23 A.M.

It’s starting to get hot out there.  Anglers are beginning to complain about the heat, lack of wind, and no current.  As we sit at McFarland Park right now, it is dead calm and the air temperature is 87 degrees.  One thing of note, the current is beginning to pick up.  You can see the water moving more swiftly out in the main channel.  As the current moves throughout the system, the bite could really turn on in the next few hours.

Thursday, May 24th 10:15 A.M.

Checking in with their first fish is another team from Missouri State University.  Reece Crabtree and Hayden Lee box a quality keeper.  In the past hour or so, the size of the fish has started to increase.

Thursday, May 24th 10:08 A.M.

High fives all around!  Crosley Welch and Matt Fielder from Missouri State University net a good one.  This is their 2nd keeper on the day.

Thursday, May 24th 9:40 A.M.

The University of Kentucky team of Nathan Sheehan and Dustan Jones land a fish.  They have been catching fish all morning.  Currently they have five for 12 lbs.  Sheehan and Jones just caught another keeper and culled live on our Facebook page.

Thursday, May 24th 9:36 A.M.

Jackson Pardue and Nathan Doss from the University of North Alabama have four fish for around eight pounds.  This one pictured above is estimated at around three pounds.  That means the other three fish in the box are real small.  They have plenty of time to cull and upgrade their limit.

Thursday, May 24th 9:28 A.M.

Our crew following the Auburn University team of Peyton and Cole has moved on to find other boats in the area to cover.  When our crew left out, the team still had just the one fish in the box.

Thursday, May 24th 9:26 A.M.

Bethel University is having a very productive morning.  Hunter Louden and Cole Walker have culled four times so far today.  They are having one of the better days we’ve heard of to this point.

Thursday, May 24th 9:24 A.M.

Austin Keith shared this post through Instagram.  He and his partner Chandler South are fishing for the University of Mississippi.  That looks to be like one of the larger fish we’ve seen today.

Thursday, May 24th 9:11 A.M.

Christopher Decker and Luke Jenkins of Northern Kentucky University are pictured here posing with a nice keeper.  This makes their second keeper of the day.  A few more fish like that and they could be sitting in good shape at the end of the day.

Thursday, May 24th 9:00 A.M.

The University of Tennessee – Knoxville team of Scott Ellis and Chase Dawson boats their second keeper.  I spoke with Scott at the Yamaha Angler Appreciation Night on Tuesday and he sounded fairly confident entering this week.  He has had a chance to fish this event several times now and feels he is becoming more comfortable out on Pickwick Lake.

Thursday, May 24th 8:52 A.M.

Here is the final early morning update from up on Wilson.  The boats made their way through the lock just after 7:00 am this morning.  After talking with some of the pros on hand this week, it sounds like Wilson will not produce the winning bag unless the Wheeler Dam tailrace becomes a factor.  Once the competitors make their way back down to Pickwick at 1:00 pm, we will get an idea of how the bite is up there.

Thursday, May 24th 8:30 A.M.

There was a pretty good flurry of reports coming in around 8:00 am.  Anglers are catching a lot of fish.  It seems as though the good, quality size keepers have really yet to show up.

Thursday, May 24th 8:14 A.M.

Here is a good gallery of images from the University of Montevallo pairing of JT Russell and Jarret Brown.  While our crew was in the area, the team landed two keeper fish.

Thursday, May 24th 8:08 A.M.

Earlier this morning we teased that a camera crew would be out with Peyton and Cole from Auburn University.  They have just one fish in the box so far.  The fish is pictured above.  Not a giant by any means, but a good first fish to start the day.

Thursday, May 24th 8:05 A.M.

A lot of reports are starting to roll in now.  We will get them posted as fast as we can.

Scott Ellis and Chase Dawson from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville have been catching fish left and right this morning.  I cannot confirm how many fish they have in the box, but they do have at least one that is in the three pound range.


Thursday, May 24th 7:55 A.M.

The first reports of a 5 fish limit are in. The Bethel University team of Hunter Louden and Cole Walker have been catching fish at a fast rate this morning.  The current school of the year leaders are sitting in good shape this morning.

Thursday, May 24th 7:50 A.M.

Here are the pictures from the anglers locking up to Wilson this morning.  It is reported that around 15 boats made the journey on up there following launch.  Will be interesting to see what kind of weight is brought in from Wilson Lake this week.

Thursday, May 24th 7:45 A.M.

Just witnessed two fish catches over on our Facebook page.  Our crew is down near the Waterloo area, hopping around checking in on the anglers.  They are with a team from Texas now.  The action is picking up!  Facebook page

Thursday, May 24th 7:25 A.M.

Out on the water today, each angler has been provided a snack bag courtesy of TFO Rods.  These bags are filled with all kinds of good stuff that will come in handy out on the water.  Each one has two Gatorades, some breakfast food items, and snacks to eat throughout the day.

Thursday, May 24th 7:19 A.M.

This morning we went live on our Facebook page during the official launch.  To view that video, click here.

Throughout the day, we will continue to provide live coverage as the cell service allows.  Stay tuned for more!

Thursday, May 24th 7:10 A.M.

We have yet to receive word of any fish catches so far this morning.  That is not to say fish aren’t being caught somewhere out on Pickwick Lake.  The current moving through the McFarland Park area is very minimal.  Generation should pick up some throughout the day.  From the competitors I spoke to, they believe that if they can get some good current flow in their area that this could turn into a slugfest.

An update from up on Wilson:  one of our crew members was present at the lock this morning.  Roughly 15 or so boats had made their way into the lock at the last report.  7:00 am was the deadline to be present to lock through.  For the anglers making their way up onto Wilson Lake, they will be due back to the lock at 1 pm in order to make it back in time for weigh-in.

Thursday, May 24th 6:54 A.M.

The sun is starting to work its way up this morning, and there is not much wind to be had at all.  The forecasted high is 92 degrees.  Some cloud cover may move in throughout the day, but for the most part it will be a warm and sunny day.  It should be a perfect day for these bass to position well out on the ledges.

Thursday, May 24th 6:40 A.M.

The last boat has left the dock here in Florence.  Some of the field is fishing already and others are still running.  Hopefully there are some fish catches to be reported soon.

Thursday, May 24th 6:20 A.M.

Boat #119 is making their way out onto Pickwick Lake.  Jackson Pardue and Nathan Doss from the University of North Alabama are excited to get to fishing this morning.  We will have a crew following them early on today.  As a team, UNA enters this event in 3rd place for the Cabela’s School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia.

Thursday, May 24th 6:15 A.M.

Pickwick Lake has been on fire so far this year.  Back in the spring, during the early pre-spawn stage, anglers were catching a good number of quality fish just outside of the takeoff site below the Wilson dam.  So far this morning a good majority of the field is heading out to the right, on down the lake.  Only a handful of boats have veered off to the left to go fish near the tailrace.

Thursday, May 24th 6:08 A.M.

And they’re off!  The first boat has taken to Pickwick Lake and the 2018 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Cabela’s is underway!

Thursday, May 24th 5:58 A.M.

This morning we will have a crew out with Cole and Peyton from Auburn University.  As a team, Auburn sits in 2nd place overall in the Cabela’s School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia.  We will provide updates on this team as they come in.

Thursday, May 24th 5:45 A.M.

Boats are lining up at the dock.  The first boat will leave the launch site at 6:00 am.  We have just about 15 minutes before action officially starts!

Thursday, May 24th 4:50 A.M.

Good morning from McFarland Park here in Florence, Alabama!  Anglers are beginning to pull through the boat ramp on day 1 of the 2018 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Cabela’s.  The first flight of boats will head out onto Pickwick Lake beginning at 6:00 am.  Stay tuned to the live blog all day as we keep you up to date with the action out on the water!

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