Murray State University Leads Opening Round Of Bassmaster College Tournament

Lance Freeman and Chandler Christian of Murray State University grabbed an early lead in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Midwestern Regional presented by Bass Pro Shops tournament on Clinton Lake with a five-bass limit of 19 pounds, 4 ounces.

They head into Friday’s competition with a 2-ounce lead and have high hopes of duplicating what they brought to the scales on Thursday.

“These fish change so much based on sunshine or clouds, so we are confident they will position like today,” Freeman said. “When the clouds roll in on Saturday, I’m not so sure what we will do.”

The day started fast for the Murray State anglers as they got their first bite much earlier than expected. They were able to put a limit in the boat before 8:30 in the morning.

“I think we caught 10 keepers today,” Freeman said. “We caught our five fish limit on one place and then left and caught some more in other areas. We tried to stay under the radar.”

Keeping a low profile may be the biggest key to their success this weekend because of the plentiful boat traffic and fishing pressure from 93 college teams on little Clinton Lake, which is only 4,900 acres. No other anglers shared their area today, which gives them confidence for another good catch on Friday.

The St. Cloud State team of Joachim Speldrich and Marcus Welk only brought four bass to the scales on Thursday, but they were the right ones as they weighed 19-2. The team trails the leaders by a slim margin.

Fishing was steady for the Minnesota natives as they plugged away all day and slowly put keeper after keeper in the boat. There was a buzz around this team soon after takeoff because one of their first bites of the day resulted in the big bass of the day.

“We didn’t really know what to expect coming into the day because our (practice fishing) was a little shaky,” Welk said. “We are just happy to be where we are right now; it’s very exciting.”

Happy is an understatement as this is Welk’s first week fishing solely for bass. The walleye angler saw that St. Cloud State had a bass fishing team so he decided to join. Today, Welk caught a 7-pound, 7-ounce largemouth that shot them up the leaderboard and set the bar for the Carhartt Big Bass.

Speldrich, the more experienced bass angler, was impressed with his partner’s ability to make an impact this early into the learning process.

The duo hit their primary spot multiple times throughout the day and each visit yielded a keeper bass. Their plan on Friday is to milk the spot for as long as they can so they can in hopes of putting together a heavy limit.

“We had No. 5 hooked up at the side of the boat,” Speldrich said. “It made one more run to deep water and it came off, but that’s fishing.”

The field of 93 teams will fish on Friday at Clinton Lake as they battle to make the Top 20 cut, which will fish on Saturday.

The anglers will take off from Clinton Lake Marina at 5:30 a.m. CT and will weigh-in there as well at approximately 1:45 p.m. CT.