Penn State Takes Early Lead In Bassmaster College Eastern Regional

Maurice Hudson and Sean Cummins of Penn State University took an early lead Thursday during the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Eastern Regional presented by Bass Pro Shops on the James River after catching 17 pounds, 2 ounces.

The duo utilized most of their day by staying close to the takeoff site and fishing every stage of the tide. With three bass by noon, including their biggest fish, Hudson and Cummins were pleased with their start, but knew they needed to fill their five-fish limit if they wanted to take an early lead.

“We had a good first day of practice, a lot of bites, but no big ones,” Hudson said. “We got a little nervous after Wednesday’s practice, but today was better than practice. Not as many bites, but the quality was there.”

Their 17-2 weight was anchored by a 6-pound, 5-ounce James River largemouth, which was their second fish of the day. Repeating their first-day performance is a possibility with the signs they saw on the water.

“I think there are more fish where we caught them today, so we should be able to duplicate it,” Cummins said.

The Nittany Lion anglers fished numerous spots throughout the day, and although they didn’t run far to start, they did run the tide at crucial points in order to find feeding bass. And, this team is used to running tides, as they said the James River is comparable to their home water, the Chesapeake Bay.

They take a 5-ounce lead over the Ramapo College team of Andrew Annuzzi and Zachary Orsino who caught a weight of 16-13.

Annuzzi and Orsino took an opposite approach Thursday as they ran to a less pressured area and bounced around key stretches. At their first stop, they were greeted with two boats close to their main spot. After boating one quick bass, they made a move to their second spot, which yielded a couple quick keepers.

“The tide isn’t really affecting the area we are targeting, so we are confident that we can catch them no matter what the tide is doing throughout the day,” Annuzzi said.

They closed the day out by catching their biggest fish, and that put them on the fast track to second place.

Sitting just 1 pound, 7 ounces behind them with a weight of 15-6 is the third-place team of Josh Cannon and Alex Frazier of Western Carolina Universiry. Frazier is half of the defending eastern regional team from last year, who took the title on Lake Norman.

The weights are tight on the James River as a pound and a half separates third place and 10th.

The 78-team full field fishes Friday, and the Top 20 teams will advance to the third day of competition.

Daily takeoffs are at Osborne Park at 6 a.m., and Friday’s weigh-in will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday’s weigh-in will be held at Virginia Commonwealth University at 3:30 p.m.