Giant Spotted Bass Propels Chico State Team Into Lead In Bassmaster College Regional
REDDING, Calif. —

Loud screams echoed across Lake Shasta today during the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Western Regional presented by Bass Pro Shops. The reason for the elation was the enormous 9-pound, 10-ounce, spotted bass boated by the Chico State team of Tyler Firebaugh and Chad Sweitzer.

The huge bass anchored an 18-pound, five-bass limit that catapulted them from last to first place with a two-day total weight of 25-7. Sweitzer, who caught the bass, beamed as he held the potbellied fish up for the crowd that attended the weigh-in at Bridge Bay Marina.

Wednesday’s leader, Jacob Wall, from the University of Oregon, is in second place with 24-2. Wall is fishing without a team partner. The Chico State team of Nick Klein and Mike Klemm are third with 21-10.

All 16 teams competing in the tournament will fish Friday, which is the final round. The winning team will earn $4,500 for their college bass fishing team.

The greatest incentive for competing in the Bassmaster College Series is the chance to qualify for the world championship of bass fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

Making that happen is a long shot, but qualifying for the Classic can be a springboard into a professional bass fishing career.

Matt and Jordan Lee, brothers who are previous college champions, now compete as professional anglers on the Bassmaster Elite Series tour.

Jordan Lee won the 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic on Lake Conroe outside of Houston, Texas, in March.

Making the Classic is a big motivation for Chico State’s Nick Klein, whose major is communications with a minor in business. But there is much more to it.

“What drives me is that I get to fish against great anglers and learn how to compete without paying an entry fee,” Klein said. “I can learn from my mistakes so I can compete successfully on a bigger stage if I get that opportunity.”

For leading on the second day of the tournament, Firebaugh and Sweitzer received the Livingston Lures Day 2 Leader Award of $500 in merchandise.

After Friday’s weigh-in, the Top 2 teams will advance to the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship. This will put them one step closer to the dream of qualifying for the Classic. The site of the National Championship has yet to be announced.