Nolan Minor and Thomas Raines of West Virginia University have the day-one lead at the 2019 YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance at the Potomac River. The Mountaineers’ 18-5 bag gives them a 9-ounce cushion over second-place anglers Jarrett Martin and Nickolas Marsh of Adrian College.
Overall, the fishing was great on day one, and Minor (from Charlottesville, Va.) and Raines (from Oxon Hill, Md.) have three teams right behind them with 17 pounds or better and five more within 2 pounds.
“We didn’t have a good practice at all. We didn’t catch five keepers either day,” says Minor. “Tommy lives here, and I didn’t find anything better. I ran all over the place – north, south – trying to find fish in practice. And he had some areas where he said, ‘If we don’t find anything, this is where I would fish.’ So, we started at his spots today and caught three keepers, so we tried to just duplicate that.”
In addition to running a bit of a pattern, the anglers caught a near 6-pounder that separated them from the pack.
“The big one was a total Hail Mary, but that’s what I like about when you don’t have a good practice,” adds Minor. “It loosens you up, and you kinda fish free. You see something good, and you fish it, and a few of our fish were like that today. I wouldn’t call it junk-fishing, but it was close to it.”
Landing 12 keepers throughout the day and leaving fish biting at one point, the West Virginia duo seems to be pretty well positioned going into day two and the start of FLW Live.
“I’ve never led a tournament before. I’m pretty excited,” says Minor. “It’s pretty cool. I’d rather be behind a little bit, but from looking at the BFL [All-American] weights and local weights, what we had today was more than what it’s been recently. I feel good about that, but I’d like to figure out how to get that big bite again.”
1. Nolan Minor & Thomas Raines – West Virginia University – 18-5 (5)
2. Jarrett Martin & Nickolas Marsh – Adrian College – 17-12 (5)
3. Tristan McCormick & Dakota Pierce – Bethel University – 17-7 (5)
4. Patrick Durand & Benjamin Schultes – SUNY – ESF – 17-2 (5)
5. Jordan Burdette & Saxton Long – University of Tennessee – 16-15 (5)
6. Dillon Harrell & Taylor Harp – Sam Houston State – 16-15 (5)
7. Adam Puckett & Blake Albertson – Murray State University – 16-13 (5)
8. JT Russell – University of Montevallo – 16-7 (5)
9. Brian Pahl & John Coble Garrett – Bethel University – 16-5 (5)
10. Dominic Vitale & Henry Colberg – University of Pittsburgh – 16-0 (5)