June 3, 2015
McKendree University Leads Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Wild Card
DOVER, Tenn. — McKendree University admittedly is playing its strengths on Lake Barkley, and the strategy is proving beneficial at the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Wild Card presented by Bass Pro Shops.
Leading the tournament with 15 pounds, 14 ounces, is the team of Jordan Ledbetter and Trent Robinson. Less than one pound behind in second place are fellow students Phillip Germagliotti and Shane Campbell, also of McKendree University.
“Fishing ledges is not our strength so we are staying focused on shallow water,” Campbell said.
Fishing around sharply contoured river channel dropoffs is the norm here during summer. On fisheries frequented by the leaders, deep-water fishing is a rarity. What is more common is fishing shallower water. The university is located in Illinois, near the Mississippi River and St. Louis.
The pattern for the leaders came together on the final cast of yesterday’s closing practice round. After landing a largemouth weighing 4 pounds, the team decided to make the spot their first of the competition day.
“We didn’t have a specific area better than any other,” Ledbetter said. “So we decided to start there.”
The day also ended in the same area, with persistence paying off.
“We’d go 150 yards and not catching anything at all, and then run into a quality bite,” Robinson added. “We caught all seven of our keepers there.”
Keeping up with the minimum length limit for this tournament is a must. A keeper largemouth must measure 15 inches. The minimum length limit for smallmouth is 18 inches and 12 inches for spotted bass.
Germagliotti and Campbell admitted to finding a new twist to their strategy. They understandably declined to share details.
“What we discovered should help us improve our catch for tomorrow,” Campbell said.
Lake Barkley, a Cumberland River fishery, is located adjacent to the equally sprawling Kentucky Lake. That Tennessee River impoundment is the site of another marquee event. Top pros are competing in the Zippo Bassmaster BASSfest at Kentucky Lake presented by A.R.E. Truck Caps.
The goal for the competitors is to qualify for the 2015 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops, July 9-11at Lake DuBay on the Wisconsin River. The Top 13 teams from the Wild Card are invited to compete in the championship.
On Thursday, the full field of collegiate anglers launch and weigh in at Lick Creek Recreation Area in Dover. On Friday, the Top 20 collegiate teams weigh in at the BASSfest venue at Paris Landing State Park, on the same stage as the pros.
An online feed of the live weigh-in, angler blog entries, photo galleries and more are available at Bassmaster.com.