Wednesday, March 10, 2010 - by Alex Craw, UTC Bass Anglers President
With more stable weather conditions, the collegiate anglers participating in the second qualifier of the 2010 Tennessee Collegiate Bass Fishing Trail on Kentucky Lake. Weather conditions had been very cold early in the week, but anglers were hopeful that three consecutive days of sun and highs in the low 50s would make the bass a little more aggressive. Kentucky Lake is a section of the Tennessee River that’s arguably one of the best fisheries in the country. It extends from western Kentucky down to southwest Tennessee, where it becomes Pickwick Lake. Kentucky Lake offers anglers a variety of structure and depths so that each angler can pretty much fish to their strengths. The majority of participants guessed that the winning weight would be somewhere in the 10-16 pound range in the weeks leading up to the tournament.
32 collegiate anglers representing 7 different schools blasted off last Saturday March 6th out of Birdsong Resort and Marina in Camden, TN to discover water temperatures in the mid 40s and air temperatures in the high 20s. After the first two hours of picking ice out of rod guides and reels as well as some fog, the sky turned sunny and the temperatures began to rise. Nearly nine hours later, twelve boats out of the field of sixteen brought keeper fish to the scales. Four of those twelve would bring in a bass weighing over five pounds! Tennessee Tech's Seth Davis and Joey Mallicoat ended up taking first place with a huge bag of five fish weighing 20.45 lbs! Their limit was anchored by a 6.58 lb largemouth and a smallmouth that easily went over four pounds. Taylor Massingill and Alex Craw, representing the host school UT-Chattanooga, finished in 2nd with a limit of keepers weighing 16.82 lbs. Their bag included a 5.20 lb largemouth which separated them from third place by over nine pounds. In third place, David Lambert and David Collins, representing UT-Knoxville brought in three fish tipping the scales at 7.42 lbs. MTSU anglers, Marcos Sanchez and Kyle Hillis, finished 4th with one largemouth weighing in at 6.72 pounds! This lunker bass took big bass honors, barely edging out a 6.62 lb largemouth caught by UTC’s James Childers. All in all twenty-four keepers were brought to the scales weighing a total of 78.68 lbs with all bass being released alive.
Complete tournament results and pictures can be found at: http://utcbassfishing.com/Results.html
Winning Strategies of the Top 3 Teams
Tennessee Tech’s Seth Davis and Joey Mallicoat with 5 keepers weighing 20.45 lbs
“At blast-off, we made a long run up north from New Johnsonville about 30-40 miles to the Paris Landing area to get to our first spot. We put the trolling motor down and fished hard for 4 hours before firing up the big motor again. We caught all of our fish targeting main river channel flats and structure away from the banks. We caught most of them on a jerkbait, with a few hitting crankbaits. After 11 O’clock, the bite practically shut down and we didn’t catch another fish or even get many bites. We only caught six fish all day and luckily they were all keepers!” – Joey Mallicoat
UTC's Taylor Massingill and Alex Craw with 5 keepers weighing 16.82 lbs
“Most of our Friday practice was unsuccessful until about four that afternoon. We found a shell bed in five to eight feet of water about thirty yards away from an island and about fifty yards from a creek channel. We caught two keepers on our first few casts and decided that would be the first place we tried on Saturday. After fishing in the back of Birdsong creek for awhile, we made the run to our practice spot. In the first ten minutes, I caught our first two keepers – one using a Choo Choo Lures brown 3/16 oz football/shaky head jig matched with a green trick worm and one with a Lucky Craft SKT Mini MR square-billed crank bait painted in the MOAB shad color by MOAB Custom Baits. With two keepers in the boat we looked up and saw we were fishing about 75 yards away from UTK’s third place finishing boat. About thirty minutes after that, Taylor caught a three pounder hopping a Stan Sloan’s Zorro Baits white jig. We fished that spot hard for another hour and then decided to move and fish a main lake river bar which had some shell beds leading into some ledges. We positioned the boat in twelve to fifteen feet of water and casted lipless crank baits and jigs onto those shell beds mixed in with a few stumps in 4-6 feet of water. About fifty yards down the bank Taylor caught a 5+ pound largemouth using a ¾ oz red eye shad in the brown/orange crawdad color. About one hundred yards and forty five minutes later, Taylor caught another 4+ pounder using the same lure. All in all it was a slow, yet productive day as we caught 8 total fish with five of them being keepers.” – Alex Craw
UTK's David Lambert & David Collins with 3 keepers weighing 7.42 lbs
“We caught all of our fish off ledges in secondary creek channels ranging from 6 to 13ft deep. We caught all of our keepers on a Norman's Deep Little N crank bait in a spring craw color. The fish just didn't bite as good for us as I was expecting. We also lost a really good fish and had a lot of boat traffic around us which hurt us. I couldn't believe seven and a half pounds would be good enough for third on Kentucky Lake this time of year!” - David Lambert
Sponsor Thank You and Information on Next TCBFT Event
The UTC Bass Anglers would like to especially thank our corporate sponsors: Triton, Mercury, Coca Cola, MoonPie, Joe's Custom Rods (Joe Burns of Cleveland, TN), Lowrance, Industrial Boiler & Mechanical, Equalizer Scales, Industrial Scale Systems, Choo Choo Lures, Stan Sloan’s Zorro Baits, Secret Weapon Lures, Vicious Fishing, Tackle Warehouse, Rejuvenade, Berkley, Scenic City Fishing Charters, Tony Sanders Outdoors, Nichols Marine, Sadler Signs & Awards, Incor Design & Promotions, Boat Seat Buddy, Chattanooga Fish-N-Fun, Chattanooga Fishing Forum, Chattanooga Bass Association, Chattanoogan, and Chattanooga Times Free Press.
All of the anglers enjoyed chocolate, vanilla, peanut-butter, and mint flavored MoonPies at the weigh-in. The UTC Bass Anglers would like to personally thank Joe Burns of Joe's Custom Rods for donating a custom rod as the prize for big bass as well as Choo Choo Lures for providing a nice lure package for our fourth place finishers. We also appreciate Birdsong Resort & Marina for letting us use their launching and weigh-in facilities. Thanks to all for helping make this such a great event! Even though the bite was tough, everyone did catch some fish and we had three bass weighing in over 6 ½ pounds each! We’d like to remind everyone that our next TCBFT tournament will take place on Saturday, April 24th on Nickajack Lake in Jasper, TN. More information on that event as well as the 2010 Tennessee Collegiate Bass Fishing Trail hosted by the UT-Chattanooga Mocs Bass Anglers can be found on their website, www.utcbassfishing.com.
Tournament Director and Club President, Alex Craw, also wants everyone to know that they have made a few changes to the points system so now that each angler may drop their lowest score among the four qualifiers. In other words, if you miss a tournament or have a poor finish you are allowed to remove that score and still be in contention for all angler of the year awards. The angler(s) who finishes first in the 2010 TCBFT will not only be awarded with a trophy, prizes, and bragging rights - but they can also select a TN lake or river that the TCBFT will fish as a qualifying event in 2011! In order for each school to be eligible for our championship, they must send at least one boat to a minimum of two out of the four qualifying events. Once this requirement is met, they may send an unlimited amount of boats to our two-day championship which will guarantee $1,500 for the first place finishers. The colleges that have already qualified for the championship are Tennessee Tech, Middle Tennessee State, UT-Knoxville, Freed-Hardeman, Georgia Southern, and UT-Chattanooga.