Round 1 Complete At College Classic Bracket

Just two days ago the 2017 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops concluded and Bryan College was crowned team champion. On Monday, the Top 4 teams were split into eight individual anglers and battled head-to-head in the first leg of the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Classic Bracket presented by Bass Pro Shops.

Cole Floyd was the third overall seed, but rose to the top of the leaderboard during the first few hours of competition as he boasted a limit worth 16 pounds, 1 ounce; taking the lead in overall weight. The Bethel University angler started slow in the first hour of the day, but began to catch quality smallmouth and largemouth and figured out a pattern he could work with.

“I was still in practice mode to start today,” Floyd said. “I didn’t really know where I was going to start, but I went to one place I thought was best from my four-hour practice session, and I didn’t catch a fish.”

Floyd was initially worried when his first spot didn’t pay off, but he didn’t get in a hurry. He covered enough different areas to piece together the puzzle. He later caught the biggest bass of the day at 4-0.

“I went to a few more spots where I got some bites, and I found out real quick that there were a lot more fish there than I had previously thought,” Floyd said.

After loading the boat in the first four-hour session, he found out he had a substantial lead on his opponent Tyler Firebaugh of Chico State University.

Jacob Foutz of Bryan College jumped on top of the leaderboard and capitalized with an excellent morning bite. He boated three of the first four fish of the event and eclipsed 10 pounds easily in the first hour of the day. His matchup pitted him against Bethel’s Brian Pahl, who fished in the 2016 College Classic Bracket as well.

Pahl didn’t get a limit in the first four hours of action and knew he needed a big comeback after the scoreboard revealed a 12 to 6 margin at halftime. Pahl made a valiant comeback and ended with 9-10, but it wasn’t enough as Foutz made two important culls late in the day to get to his 14-1 total.

“I knew there was a good school of smallmouth on one of my spots,” Foutz said. “I caught a 3-pounder there in practice and my (sonar) graph lit up with fish.”

Foutz’ fast start settled him down and allowed him to fish conservatively, but it also gave him the patience to upgrade late in the day to ensure that he would advance. His five-bass limit consisted of smallmouth exclusively.

Foutz’ teammate Jake Lee was matched against the reigning College Bracket Champion John Garrett of Bethel University, and the matchup was exciting all the way to the end. Lee started fast and had the first limit of the day, which was 10-11. After two hours, Garrett was in a significant hole, but climbed out with 8-1 at the halftime mark. Garrett went on to improve his limit to 9-9, while Lee couldn’t add any weight in the final three hours of action. Lee ended his day with four largemouth and one smallmouth in his five-bass limit.

In the final matchup, Chad Sweitzer of Chico State faced Carter McNeil of Bethel. It was a back and forth contest between the anglers as Sweitzer had a limit worth 10-9 by halftime while McNeil only had four fish for 7-15. The last three hours gave McNeil hope as he finished his limit with 9-6, but Sweitzer’s final upgrade put the match out of reach.

The eight anglers were cut to the final four for Tuesday’s semi-final matchup. Foutz of Bryan College will face Sweitzer of Chico State and on the other side of the bracket, Lee of Bryan College will fish against Floyd of Bethel University.

First cast on Serpent Lake will take place at 7 a.m. CT and anglers will compete until 11 a.m. when they have a halftime intermission. They will resume from 12 p.m. until 3 p.m. where the field will be cut to the final two competitors. The champion will be crowned at the conclusion of the head-to-head battle Wednesday.