Smith & Kulijof from 3rd Ranked Murray State Take Day 1 Lead at the AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open

Campbellsville University and King University sit in 2nd and 3rd places

RUSSELLVILLE, AR (October 14, 2023) – Day 1 of tournament competition is complete at the AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open.  Over 240 of the top teams in collegiate bass fishing competed on Lake Dardanelle in Russellville, AR for the no-entry-fee, nationally televised event.  This is the second stop of the 2023-24 season of the Bass Pro Shops Collegiate Bass Fishing Series.   This weekend’s event boasts a total payout of over $20,000 in prizes and contingencies, as well as double points to count towards the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia.

Taking the lead is Archer Smith and Jackson Kulijof from 3rd ranked Murray State University.  They staked claim to the Day 1 lead with a five fish limit of bass weighing 14.74 pounds.  The team from Murray, KY put together a pattern that has them atop the field that features 21 of the Top 25 ranked schools in the nation.  Smith and Kulijof have just a 0.02 pound lead over their next closest competitor from Campbellsville University.

Sitting in second place are Wyatt Pearman and Ridge Rutledge from 20th ranked Campbellsville University.  The anglers brought in 14.72 pounds of Lake Dardanelle bass.  That quality limit has them well within striking distance entering the final day of tournament competition.

Rounding out the Top 3 is a two angler duo from King University.  Hunter Barrow and Trey Marco weighed in 13.47 pounds.  That limit of fish has them less than a pound and a half behind the leaders.   Day 2 will likely be a shootout with so many teams this close in total weight.

For complete results & pics, view here:  Day 1 Results | Day 1 Photos.

The college anglers fishing in the tournament on Lake Dardanelle in Russellville, AR were met with prime fall time fishing conditions.  A strong cold front pushed through the Arkansas River Valley overnight on Friday, bringing with it cooler temperatures, gusting winds, and varying cloud cover.  The field of more than 450 plus elite anglers worked hard to crack the code on this Arkansas River fishery.  Anglers reported getting a lot of bites on a variety of baits, including soft plastics and crankbaits.  Weather conditions for tomorrow are forecasted to set up very similar to today, with temperatures being slightly cooler.  Look for anglers to have close to the same success tomorrow as they work to bring in the best five bass limit they can.

The AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open is the second ACA double points event of the season to count towards the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia.  As mentioned before, 21 of the Top 25 ranked teams are on-hand competing at Lake Dardanelle this weekend.  Several of the top ranked teams are represented in the Top 10 of the Day 1 tournament standings.  Murray State, Carson-Newman and the University of Montevallo each have multiple teams inside of the Top 10. Number one ranked McKendree University has one team in the Top 10, along with both UNA and Campbellsville being represented as well.

Day 2 of the tournament will be key in defining which teams have success at this major double points tournament.  Schools that are able to earn over 3,000 points this weekend will have a great shot at making big moves in the race for the 2023-24 Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia.

Live coverage for Day 2 of tournament competition will start early tomorrow morning with the live blog on the ACA website.  Then, official takeoff will be streamed live on the ACA Facebook page.  Starting around 1:00 PM tomorrow afternoon, live weigh-in will be streamed here.  Also, be sure to follow along with all of the ACA social media channels for additional coverage.