Northern Arizona Maintains Lead In Bassmaster College Series Western Regional
Gunnar Stanton and Gunner Campbell of the Northern Arizona bass fishing team maintain their lead after catching 10 pounds, 15 ounces on Day 2 of the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Western Regional presented by Bass Pro Shops on Lake Mead. They have a two-day total of 26-14 as they head into the final frame on Monday.
Stanton and Campbell had their 3-pound, 5-ounce lead cut to just 12 ounces by Josh Worth and Kennedy Kinkade of Colorado Mesa University, who have remained consistent over the first two days.
On Sunday the conditions changed on Lake Mead, and the duo struggled throughout the day due to a breezy north wind, and with an hour left to fish, they only had two keepers in the livewell.
“Honestly, checking in at 2:15 p.m. killed our bite today,” Stanton said. “The north wind has been blowing in the morning, and it hasn’t let the water warm up as much, but this afternoon the wind died down and the water heated up fast.”
With the sun beating down on Lake Mead, Stanton and Campbell were able to efficiently bed fish and pick off some of their better keepers with just an hour remaining in the day.
“We are going to try and adapt because you never want to crash and burn,” Stanton said. “We are still going to try and lean on bed fishing as much as we possibly can though.”
The Northern Arizona teammates' familiarity with Mead has benefited them so far, as their primary area is one where they didn’t practice leading up to this tournament.
“We haven’t touched any of the stuff we found in practice,” Stanton said. “I knew the areas we found wouldn’t hold up for this three-day tournament. Sometimes our local knowledge can hinder us because Mead changes so much when you least expect it.”
After bringing in 13 pounds, 8 ounces Worth and Kinkdae cut their deficit by more than 2 1/2 pounds to stay in striking distance of the leaders. Like Stanton and Campbell on Day 1, the Colorado Mesa anglers brought a 4-pound largemouth to the scales to anchor their big weight on Sunday.
“I feel like if this tournament set up a little better to go for the win and throw a Hail Mary then we would,” Worth said. “We will probably try to stay with what we know and expand on the areas we are fishing.”
Like the leaders, Worth and Kinkade struggled with zero fish for most of the day, but around noon they figured out another pattern and were able to catch bass quickly enough to fill their limit late in the day.
“Our morning spot had a good population of smallmouth on it,” Kinkade said. “The water has warmed up and it seems the Gizzard Shad have moved into the area. I think those smallmouth are uncomfortable with that. We are going to leave that area and start on another spot we found success with in practice.”
Jacob Wall of the University of Oregon also inched closer to the leaders after he weighed 12-13 Sunday; he now sits just over 1 1/2 pounds behind. Wall is fishing this team tournament alone this week and overcame engine issues on Day 1 to stay in the hunt. Thanks to a generous local and a repaired engine, he was able to expand his area and also bolster his bag.
The full field will fish Lake Mead once again on Monday, but after the final weigh-in the Top 10 teams will advance and clinch their berth into the 2016 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship.
Final day takeoff will be Monday morning at 6:15 a.m. PT from Callville Bay Marina and championship weigh-in will be held at the same location at approximately 2:30 p.m. PT.