Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Liberty Leads College Championship

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Liberty Leads College Championship

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – A 22-pound, 2-ounce stringer anchored by a 7-pound, 9-ounce largemouth boosted Liberty University’s Travis Rulle and Caleb Eppler into the opening-round lead of the FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance Insight Genesis College Cup here on Lake Murray.

Rulle and Eppler were the last anglers to weigh in on day one, and their five-fish limit gave them a lead of more than 3 pounds ahead of Eastern Kentucky University veterans Kyler Raymer and Ethan Snyder, who had 18-15. The surprise team of the tournament so far is Colorado Mesa University’s Josh Worth and Kennedy Kinkade, who brought in 18-10 despite never having fished east of the Mississippi River before. Worth and Kinkade are in third place, followed by Cade Laufenberg and Wyatt Stout of Winona State University, and Ben Curry and Tim Ward of Auburn University, both teams with 17-8.

“I caught the 7-9 fairly early in the day, but we caught fish off and on all day and culled six or seven fish,” says Rulle. “We have a couple of shallow-water patterns going, but the bigger fish came from deeper water adjacent to the shallower water we’re keying on. I say shallow – it’s about 10 feet deep on average.”

Had Rulle not caught the biggest bass of the tournament so far, it would have cost them about 4 pounds and still kept them near the top, notes Eppler.

“We were a bit surprised they bit as well as they did,” adds Eppler, an exercise science major. “We thought the weather would set them back a bit, but even so we have backup plans for every condition we thought we might encounter. We feel pretty good about our chances of fishing Saturday [in the championship round of 10].”

The Liberty pair is fishing the main lake and creeks, but wouldn’t elaborate on the pattern or lures.

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