CARLYLE, Ill.- The Winona State team of Cade Laufenberg, Stoddard, Wis., and Sam Schollmeier, Rochester, Minn., jumped into the lead in a big way at the National Guard FLW College Fishing Central Conference Championship on Carlyle Lake Friday with the biggest sack of the tournament, a five-bass limit weighing 17 pounds, 13 ounces. Their sack was anchored by a 6-3 bass making their two day total weight 27 pounds, 8 ounces. They lead Purdue University, their closest competitor, by a mere 15 ounces going into the final day of competition. Teams are competing for a Ranger Z117 bass boat with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and a berth in the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship.
“We are pumped,” said Laufenberg, a sophomore in environmental science. “We hit the grass today with our `swagger’ (referring to their secret bait) and started catching fish. We pretty much stayed in one area all day, it’s a 150 yard stretch of flooded cover and the fish just seem to keep moving into the area. We were sharing the same water with the team from Purdue. It’s a pretty incredible spot.
“We are exactly where we want to be,” Laufenberg continued. “We came here to make the top-five, which we did, and now tomorrow we can fish the most relaxed and calm we have ever fished. We’re still here to win, but a lot of the pressure is off so it should be a lot more fun.”
Although fishing Carlyle Lake for the first time the team from Winona State seems to have figured something out. According to Laufenberg they are keying in on bait fish which the bass are following. Laufenberg believes that the area they are fishing will keep replenishing and he is confident they will catch another limit tomorrow from the same area on Saturday.
“We had our limit before 10,” said Schollmeier, a sophomore majoring in law enforcement. “We caught that kicker fish first thing, it was exciting. We did move late in the afternoon and caught one more nice bass that we were able to cull with. But we were targeting the same stuff, shallow grass.”
Believing their choice of bait is what is separating them from the rest of the teams; they remained closed lipped about what they are using. However, Laufenberg did indicate that he believes it is a bait the bass have not seen before and so are attacking it as soon as it hits the water.
The top five teams competing tomorrow and also qualifying for the National Championship are:
1st: Winona State University – Cade Laufenberg, Stoddard, Wis., and Sam Schollmeier, Rochester, Minn., 10 bass, 27-8
2nd: Purdue University – Nicholas Schuetz, Loogootee, Ind., and Elliott Myers, Anderson, Ind., 10 bass, 26-9
3rd: Georgetown College – Mike Huff, Corbin, Ky., and Nick Huff, Georgetown, Ky., 10 bass, 23-5
4th: Eastern Kentucky – John Smith, London, Ky., and Kyle Raymer, Brandenburg, Ky., 10 bass, 22-15
5th: Indiana University – Dustin Vaal, Bloomington, Ind., and Steven Bressler, Fremont, Ind., 10 bass, 22-12
Anglers will take off from Dam West Boat Ramp located at 801 Lake Road in Carlyle, Ill., at 7 a.m. Saturday morning. Final weigh-in will be at Walmart located at 2591 12th St., in Carlyle, Ill., beginning at 4 p.m.
Fans will be treated to the FLW Expo at Walmart Saturday from noon-4 p.m. prior to weigh-in. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors. Fans can also learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public.
Four regular-season qualifying events were held in each conference – Central, Northern, Southeastern, Southern and Western – the top five teams from each regular-season event qualified for one of five conference championships. The top five teams from each conference championship advance to the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship.
College Fishing is free to enter and FLW provides boats and drivers for each competing team along with travel allowances. All participants must be registered, full-time undergraduate students at a four-year college or university and members of a fishing club recognized by their college or university.
Coverage of the Central Conference Championship will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs Nov. 11 from 1-2 p.m. EST. “FLW” is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 559 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow College Fishing on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing. Visit CollegeFishing.com to sign up or to start a club at your school.