Lake Superior State Lakers Claim Second-Round Lead In Bassmaster College Bass Tournament

Nic Rand and Keegan Russell of Lake Superior State University took the lead on the second day of the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Midwest Regional presented by Bass Pro Shops on Lake of the Ozarks with a two-day total of 41 pounds, 6 ounces.

The Laker duo boated almost 22 pounds on Thursday to take a slim lead into the final period of the Midwest Regional. Rand’s and Russell’s 21-15 sack was the heaviest limit of the day Thursday, and it propelled them to the top spot.

The weather took a turn for the worse overnight as heavy rain, hail and wind ravaged the Osage Beach area and muddied up a good majority of the creeks on Lake of the Ozarks. The change in water color and the influx of cloudy conditions forced Rand and Russell to abandon their main spot after a few fishless hours on Thursday. They searched for clearer, stable water, and that paid dividends, propelling them into first among 138 teams.The move also proved wise because it enabled the teammates to find several other fishing areas that might help them in the final round Friday.

“We’ve been trying to ‘manage’ our areas after catching our weight,” Russell said. “That allowed us to practice for two to three hours in different areas today and find some spots for Friday.”

“We really needed the sun to shine for our best area to produce, and it didn’t today,” Rand said. “Catching fish in cloudy, windy conditions really helped our confidence heading into a different weather situation on the final day.”

The leaders’ nearest pursuer, the team of Louie Dazzo and Collin Cropp of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater boated 21-3. Those two teams separated themselves from third place by a 2-pound, 10-ounce margin. Dazzo and Cropp stayed with their game plan and it kept them in the runner-up position heading into the final day.

“We’ve been mixing in two different reaction bites throughout the week,” Dazzo said. “Today, though, we mixed in a slower presentation throughout the same areas and produced some fish too.”

They have worked the same part of the lake each of the first two days, but they are confident that bass are continuing to move into the areas they’re fishing.

Wednesday’s leaders Jacob Louis and JT Russell of McKendree University fell to third place, but are within striking distance going into the final frame. Chandler Robertson and Austin Culbertson of the University of Missouri moved up to fourth after weighing-in two identical 17-12 limits in a row. Hunter Mills and Hunter McKinley of Murray State University round out the Top 5 with a two-day total of 33-7.

The Top 20 teams now advance to the final day of competition where they will battle it out for the 19 available spots for the National Championship.

With 118 fewer teams competing the final day, the Wisconsin-Whitewater anglers think their chances will improve with less fishing pressure.

The final day takeoff will happen at Grand Glaze Marina at 6:45 a.m. CT and the championship weigh-in will start at 3 p.m. at the same location.