Louisiana, Texas Teams Tied After First Round Of Bassmaster College Regional
LUFKIN, Texas —

Bass fishing teams from the University of Louisiana at Monroe and Sam Houston State University are tied after the first day of competition in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Central Regional presented by Bass Pro Shops on Sam Rayburn Reservoir.

Tyler Craig and Spencer Lambert of the University of Louisiana at Monroe and Dillon Harrell and Dustin Moreno of Sam Houston State share the lead with 24 pounds, 8 ounces each. That gives them a 1-12 margin over third place.

The weather wasn't what anglers expected in Texas with the unseasonably warm temperatures. Winds stayed at a constant 10 miles per hour clip and temperatures were in the low 40s at takeoff. A weather front passed through the Sam Rayburn area late Wednesday night and high winds came with it, but it didn’t seem to hurt the fishing.

Nine teams weighed in five bass limits heavier than 20 pounds to start off the 2017 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series season. The fishing started hot for the Louisiana-Monroe anglers as they caught their weight by 8 a.m. and left their best spot to save it for the rest of the tournament.

“I found these fish two weeks ago and my first five casts of 2017 were all 3-pounders,” said Craig. “Bigger fish have certainly reloaded there since then.”

Catching a hefty limit that early in the day allowed Craig and Lambert to search for more areas. They believe another quality five-fish limit is possible on Friday.

“It seems to be strictly a morning spot,” Lambert said of their hot spot. “As soon as the sun comes up, they start biting.”

Meanwhile, Harrell and Moreno of Sam Houston State utilized knowledge of Sam Rayburn and a strong fishing connection to share the lead today. The teammates are also cousins and have fished together since childhood. When it comes to a tournament partner and strategy, Harrell thinks it’s hard to beat Moreno.

“The areas we had fish located were barren today,” Moreno said. “Being here so much helped us figure out where they went and how they reacted to the weather.”

Moreno and Harrell put all their eggs into one basket and made a gutsy call to stick it out in one or two areas before leaving in the afternoon.

“These fish have been moving a lot lately because of the weather this area has gotten,” Harrell said. “We swung for the fences and relied on one or two spots that had key fish for us.”

They also tried to manage their fish as they practiced on some newer areas and found places they could catch a quantity of bass if necessary.

Dawson Cranford and Charles Norris of University of Louisiana at Lafayette ended the day in third place with 22-12. Meanwhile, Reed Foster and Colt Benedict of Dallas Baptist University are sitting in fourth with 22-7, in large part because of the 8-14 big bass that anchored their bag. Rounding out the Top 5 is the team of Hunter Mills and Jordan Hartman of Murray State University with 21-14.

The entire 115-boat field will compete on Friday, but only the Top 20 teams will advance to the final day of the regional on Saturday. Hunter Freeman and Thomas Solieau of Louisiana-Monroe are on the Top 20 bubble with 15-15.

Takeoffs will happen at Cassell Boykin Park at 7 a.m. CT and weigh-ins will be at the park as well starting at 3:15 p.m.