LEESBURG, Fla. – Illinois’ McKendree University’s team of Nathan Doty and Jacob Louis moved to the top of the leaderboard Thursday on Day Two of the 2020 Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance at the Harris Chain of Lakes after bringing a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 20 pounds, 2 ounces. The Bearcat angler’s two-day total of 10 bass weighing 42-12 gives them a 5-pound, 1-ounce lead over the second-place team, Tennessee’s Bryan College, as the event heads into the third and final day of competition Friday.
“We had the exact same gameplan as yesterday – we went to our first spot and we sat there for the entire day,” said Doty, a junior majoring in Environmental Science. “We didn’t have to change our baits, but we definitely changed the technique. Yesterday we were catching quite a few fish on a Speed Worm – cranking it. This morning with the cold front, we had to really slow down.”
“It’d come in a flurry for about five minutes – bite after bite after bite – than it’d be dead for an hour,” said Louis, who recently graduated with a degree in Environmental Science. “It’s an offshore grass area with a transition into a little spawning bay. I think the fish our sitting are out there, waiting to pull up.”
The McKendree duo said that all of their keepers Thursday came on the Zoom Speed Worm, but mentioned that they had added a few key bass earlier in the week on a spinnerbait. They estimated that they caught around a dozen fish throughout the day and left early hoping to conserve fish for the final day.
“Everything that we caught today seemed to be the same quality-size of fish,” Louis said. “Once we had our weight we laid off them and were done fishing by 12:30.
“We’ve got a similar spot right across the lake that we caught a couple of keepers on yesterday as an option for tomorrow,” Louis went on to say.
“It’s Jacob’s last tournament, so we’re going to give it our all tomorrow, no matter what,” Doty added.
The three-day event features the top college bass fishing teams from across the nation competing in an internationally televised, no-entry fee tournament for a $30,000 prize package, including a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Suzuki outboard. In addition to the boat package, both members of the winning team will advance to the 2020 FLW Series Championship, Nov. 5-7 on Lake Cumberland in Burnside, Kentucky, where they will compete for a top prize of $200,000.
The full field of 156 teams competed on Wednesday and Thursday, with only the top-10 – based on two-day cumulative weight – advancing to Championship Friday. The National Champions will be crowned Friday based on the cumulative three-day weight total.
The top 10 teams that now advance to Championship Friday on the Harris Chain of Lakes are:
1st: McKendree University – Nathan Doty, Decatur, Ill. and Jacob Louis, Pinckneyville, Ill., 10 bass, 42-12
2nd: Bryan College – Conner DiMauro, Longwood, Fla., and Cole Sands, Calhoun, Tenn., 10 bass, 37-11
3rd: Sam Houston State University – Jayce Garrison, Willis, Texas, and Mason Hoke, Montgomery, Texas, 10 bass, 37-3
4th: Georgia College – John Garrett Pearson, Perry, Ga., and James Pearson, Columbus, Ga., 10 bass, 37-2
5th: Slippery Rock University – Nathan Quince, Imperial, Pa., and Cody Neal, Evans City, Pa., 10 bass, 36-6
6th: Stephen F. Austin State University – Christopher Harrison, Nacogdoches, Texas, and Ethan Legare, Allen, Texas, 10 bass, 35-13
7th: Gannon University – Nolan Pyle, Eastlake, Ohio, and Aaron Bunting, Champion, Pa., 10 bass, 34-15
8th: University of Wisconsin – Sam Medo, Stevens Point, Wis., and Colin Steck, Waunakee, Wis., 10 bass, 34-15
9th: University of Evansville – Noah Whalen and Blake Knies, both of Jasper, Ind., 10 bass, 34-15
10th: Bethel University – Kyle Palmer, McKenzie, Tenn., and John Coble Garrett, Union City, Tenn., 10 bass, 34-13
For a full list of results, visit FLWFishing.com.
Overall there were 626 bass weighing 1,516 pounds, 13 ounces caught by 143 college teams Thursday. The catch included 99 five-bass limits.
The final 10 teams will launch Championship Friday from the Venetian Gardens, located at 201 E. Lake Harris Drive in Leesburg at 7 a.m. EDT. Friday’s Championship weigh-in will also be held at the Venetian Gardens beginning at 3 p.m. The final takeoff and weigh-in are free and open to the public.
The Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship presented by Lowrance on the Harris Chain of Lakes is hosted by Lake County, Florida.
Television coverage of the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship presented by Lowrance will premiere in 2020 on YouTube and broadcast around the globe on the World Fishing Network.
Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI teams compete in regular-season qualifying tournaments in one of five conferences – Central, Northern, Southern, Southeastern and Western. The top ten teams from each division’s three regular-season tournaments and the top 20 teams from the annual College Fishing Open advance to the following year’s Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI on FLW’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, FLW and its partners conduct more than 290 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Namibia, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Zimbabwe.
FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show while Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. Acquired by Major League Fishing in late 2019, FLW is expanding its programming in 2020 to the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel as well as on-demand at MyOutdoorTV (MOTV).
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