ULM Takes the Lead on the Red - Major League Fishing
ULM Takes the Lead on the Red
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ULM Takes the Lead on the Red

Soileau and Freeman sack ‘em on day one of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship
Image for ULM Takes the Lead on the Red
THOMAS SOILEAU & HUNTER FREEMAN Photo by Andy Hagedon.
May 30, 2018 • David A. Brown • Abu Garcia College Fishing

Thomas Soileau and Hunter Freeman knew the Red River would yield a shallow bite; but the University of Louisiana-Monroe anglers also knew 167 other teams probably had that figured out, so they went off-script, caught a limit of 14 pounds, 7 ounces and took the day-one lead at the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance C-Map Genesis.

Complete results

Top five patterns 

The leaders say they made a big run down to Pool 3, where they targeted offshore timber flats in about 8 feet of water. Putting themselves in position to win, Freeman says, meant working as far away from the crowds as possible.

“It was a lot of stuff that people weren’t fishing,” Soileau says. “There weren’t a lot of people around us but it worked for us.”

Freeman points to his pre-practice effort as the revealing moment when he realized what was possible during this otherwise lean pickings.

“I came here three weeks ago and it was on,” he says. “They were pulling water, everything was flowing through the timber and it would have taken 15 pounds a day to win, no doubt.

“We came here the first day of practice and it wasn’t the same. I told (Soileau), ‘The water is 95 degrees, it’s 2 1/2 feet, let’s back up.’ We did that and found them.”

The ULM anglers say they fished shallow diving crankbaits for what Freeman describes as big postspawn female bass. This scenario, he says, is one with which he and his partner are very familiar.

“The water’s too muddy to graph, but we have a lot of shallow, dirty places back home, like Lake D’Arbonne, which taught us how to fish,” Freeman says. “These fish get offshore this time of year and it’s similar to the Red River so we’re used to fishing this muddy water.”

Essential to their success, Freeman says, was a variety of retrieve speeds and presentation angles. He knew this would be the case today, but given his practice results, he was pleasantly surprised at how quickly the fish cooperated.

“It’s been better in the middle of the day, but today we were done by 10:30,” Freeman says. “We were just rolling through the juice early. You just have to get around them; they’re not very hard to catch once you find them. You might look like a fool sitting out there, but if you can get one to bite, it turns on.”

Soileau says he and Freeman found their weight fish spread across four different spots. They caught approximately nine keepers today, but they intentionally avoided several promising areas.

“We left it alone today, hoping we could get back on it tomorrow,” Soileau says. “We got on that bite the last day of practice and then we started running around finding more areas. The way the weather’s setting up, if the wind blows, we should have more fish coming to us every day.”

 

Top 10 teams

1. Thomas Soileau and Hunter Freeman – University of Louisiana-Monroe – 14-7 (5)

2. Charlie Deshazer and Jackson Ebbers – University of Nebraska – 13-11 (5)

3. Logan Smith and Payton Morgan – Kennesaw State University – 12-7 (5)

4. Nick Hatfield and Corey Neece – Tusculum College – 12-1 (5)

5. Hunter Malmay and Robert Jones – Northwestern State – 11-14 (5)

6. Cole Thomas and Via Thao –  California State Long Beach – 11-6 (5)

7. Garrett Addis and Aaron Banquer-Glenn – Clemson University – 10-15 (10)

8. Tyler Nekolny and Hunter Whiteley – Kansas State University – 10-12 (5)

9. Triston Crowder and Lake Blasingame – University of North Alabama – 10-10 (5)

10. Nathan Quince and Ryan Kozlowski – Slippery Rock University – 10-8 (5)

10. Josh Worth – Colorado Mesa University – 10-8 (5)

10. Michael Dunn and Henry Colberg – University of Pittsburg – 10-8 (5)

Complete results