Bethel’s Huff And Pierce Maintain Lead At Bassmaster College Series Event On Toledo Bend
MANY, La. —

The weather changed dramatically on Friday, but Cody Huff and Dakota Pierce remained consistent on Day 2 of the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series at Toledo Bend presented by Bass Pro Shops.

The duo from Tennessee’s Bethel University caught a limit of five bass that weighed 19 pounds, 13 ounces and maintained their lead with a two-day mark of 39-8.

Huff and Pierce have nearly a 4-pound lead on their closest competitors heading into the tournament’s third and final day. The Top 12 remaining teams from the original field of 248 will compete for the championship on Saturday.

Huff and Pierce were confident the shift from Thursday’s rain to Friday’s sunshine would not affect the quality of their bites, and they were right. Their Friday bag was the heaviest of the tournament to date, and the bulk of it came from the same general area where they staked their Day 1 lead with a limit that weighed 19-11.

The bass they’re weighing at Cypress Bend Park have been consistently in the 3- to 4-pound range.

“The sun helped our bite a lot today,” Huff said. “We didn’t have to lean on them at all. A lot more fish moved into the area we’ve been fishing. Hopefully that’s the same deal tomorrow.”

The Bethel tandem hasn’t said much about its strategy this week, but both Huff and Pierce acknowledge they’re covering a lot of water on the vast 180,000-acre fishery that straddles the Louisiana/Texas border. They said a strong wind would be the only thing that might prevent them from maneuvering as frequently as they have during the first two days.

“It’s just a mixture of the right depth, the right bait and the right bottom contours,” Huff said. “It’s kind of a special spot.”

Huff has been finding plenty of those recently. He won the Bassmaster College Series Classic Bracket event last fall and qualified for the 2020 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk, which is scheduled for March 6-8 on Alabama’s Lake Guntersville with weigh-ins taking place in nearby Birmingham.

That is the biggest tournament in professional bass fishing, but Huff is focused on nothing right now but winning this week on Toledo Bend. “I think we can go do the exact same thing (tomorrow) we did today,” he said.

Pierce agreed, and said he’s not feeling pressure with a tournament title within reach.

“We’re from the same hometown (Ava, Mo.) and have been fishing together our whole lives,” he said. “Tomorrow is just another day.”

Behind Huff and Pierce are Brett Clark and Cody Ross of East Texas Baptist University in second place with 35-11. Charles Norris and Braxton Resweber of Louisiana-Lafayette are third with 34-6.

Schools from 26 different states were represented this week in the first Bassmaster College Series tournament of the year. Additional College Series tournaments are scheduled for Feb. 27-29 on Smith Lake in Alabama, March 26-28 on Lake Hartwell in South Carolina and May 6-8 on Lake Cumberland in Kentucky.

The Series championship will follow, with the date and location of that derby yet to be disclosed. The Top 25 teams from this week’s event will qualify for the championship.

Stevie Mills and Baylor Howell of Bethel kept the lead for the Carhartt Big Bass Award with the 7-8 largemouth they caught on Thursday. Huff and Pierce lead for the Bass Pro Shops/Nitro Boats Big Bag Award with their limit on Friday.

The Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series at Toledo Bend presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors will take place Sunday, as will the Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster Junior Series event.

All three events are presented by the Louisiana Office of Tourism, Toledo Bend Lake Country, the Sabine River Authority, Desoto Parish Tourist Commission and the Vernon Parish Tourist Commission.

Saturday’s action begins with a 7 a.m. CT takeoff from Cypress Bend Park. Weigh-in will be back at the park at 3 p.m.