A fast start and a strong finish by FLW College Fishing veterans Andrew Loberg and Travis Bounds of Chico State proved to be too much for the competition to overcome in the Western Conference Championship on Clear Lake Oct. 17-18.
The Wildcat anglers stormed to first place on day one and opened an early 10-ounce lead over Chico State teammates Frank Tomasello and Jakob Conlan. The Chico sweep dissolved on day two, however, as Tomasello and Conlan weighed in only two bass for 3-4 and slipped to 11th.
Loberg and Bounds had better luck. They improved their opening-day performance with a five-bass limit weighing 20-7 for a tournament-winning total of 38-5.
Bounds and Loberg beat the runner-up team of Johan Eide and Colton Farquer of Cal Poly by a margin of 7 pounds, 9 ounces, thanks to a two-part strategy.
A Dual Pattern
Bounds and Loberg started both days with a 3/4-ounce black and blue jig on deep rock and ledges that held some morning fish and then moved to the north shore of the lake and targeted shallow and mid-depth grass. Considering they were contending with a major front on Saturday and the crisp and cooler aftermath on Sunday, the consistency they manifested was impressive.
The Wildcats’ grass tactics included flipping a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver with a punch skirt and winding a bluegill-colored Z-Man Project Z ChatterBait with a Keitech Swing Impact FAT trailer.
“One of the key deals was that we weren’t fishing big mat areas,” says Loberg. “They sprayed up north to kill the grass, and we found a few patches that had green healthy grass in them. We were throwing that ChatterBait around those individual clumps and through them.
“Another thing we figured out was to use braid,” Loberg adds. “We threw fluorocarbon too, and that worked well, but with the braid you could pop it out of the clumps a lot better and the fish really reacted to that. I’ve fished this lake so much that I kind of went off some of the history from what I’ve seen in the past. I know what to look for to win tournaments here.”
2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship Qualifiers
1: California State University-Chico – Travis Bounds and Andrew Loberg – 38-5 (10) – $4,000
2: California Polytechnic State University – Johan Eide and Colton Farquer – 30-12 (10) – $2,000
3: Oregon State University – Zach MacDonald and Zach Martinez – 30-1 (10) – $1,000
4: California State University-Chico – Chas Brannon and Michael Woods – 28-13 (10) – $1,000
5: Eastern Washington University – Cy Floyd and Travis Opel – 28-13 (10) – $1,000
6: University of Oregon – Jacob Wall and Dalton Taylor – 26-9 (10)
7: San Jose State University – Joey Fortina and Adam McAndrews – 24-13 (10)
8: Sonoma State University – Jake Banuelos and Brent Nelson – 22-13 (10)
9: Sacramento State University – Tanner Austin and Ethan Clark – 22-4 (10)
10: Humboldt State University – Tristan Merlaud and Rudy Directo – 20-11 (7)
Click here for complete results.