San Antonio, TX (October 12, 2018) – The scales are closed as competition for day one of the AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open has come to an end. Lake Dardanelle provided a difficult test for nearly 400 of the best college anglers in the nation. Mother Nature played a part in today’s outcome as well. A steady rain pestered the anglers for most of the morning, and increased cloud cover provided a different setting than the past two days leading up to competition. None the less, this field of collegiate anglers found a way to catch them and fill their livewells with fish.
The team that figured out Lake Dardanelle the best today by bringing 15.99 lbs of bass to the scales is Ty Crutchfield and Alec Murphy from Rogers State University. The Oklahoma anglers feel very comfortable at this body of water. The Arkansas River runs just miles away from their campus in Claremore, OK. Crutchfield and Murphy are very familiar with this river system. They used this knowledge to their advantage by flipping shallow cover. Unlike many teams in the field who caught their fish in quick flurries throughout the day, the pair from Rogers State maintained a solid bite all day long. With a total weight of 15.99 lbs, Crutchfield and Murphy lead 2nd place by just 0.79 lbs.
Sitting in that 2nd place spot, less than a pound out of first, are Cole Lamb and Tristan Weaver. Representing Arkansas Tech University, the Arkansas natives wrangled up 15.20 lbs. “The day went pretty much as planned. We just stuck to our gameplan, and we caught fish pretty much all day long,” says Lamb. Lake Dardanelle is known for having a variety of cover. That includes rock, flooded timber, and shoreline vegetation. Lamb & Weaver fished all types of water focusing solely on shad and baitfish.
Being located here in Russellville, AR, one would assume that local knowledge played a key today. For these underclassmen, that was not the case. “We actually fished a spot we’ve never fished before. It helped a little, but we did some stuff today, places we’ve never fished, something we’ve never done,” adds Lamb. Going into tomorrow the team sounds fairly confident. They believe that if they can catch 15 lbs again that they will have a solid chance of claiming the title here at the AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open.
Completing the top three are Griffin Heffington and Mason Cizek with 15.10 lbs. Fishing for Bryan College, this duo was just one of four teams to break the 15 lb mark. Currently ranked outside of the top 20 for the Cabela’s School of the Year Presented by Abu Garcia, Bryan College is looking to regain their recent success. The team from Tennessee claimed the SOY title in 2017, a first for their university. With valuable points on the line this week, Heffington and Cizek will be looking to help their team by finishing high up on the leaderboard tomorrow.
For a complete look at the day one standings, click here.
Focusing on the current race for Cabela’s School of the Year Presented Abu Garcia, Grand Valley State University is the lone team in the top three of the SOY standings to have a strong showing today. Lucas Murphy and Bill Mathews weighed in 12.83 lbs to claim 10th place overall going into day two of the AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open. This is a double points event, and with GVSU only sending one team to Russellville, AR, they will only be able to earn points for one team. Bethel University, on the other hand, sent a total of 11 boats to compete this week. The reigning SOY champions are set up well to cash in on the double points format. Bethel has two teams inside the top 13 following today’s action. This gives them a good opportunity to end Saturday much higher up in the standings for Cabela’s School of the Year Presented by Abu Garcia. Entering the AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open, Bethel is 8th overall in the SOY race.
To see the current SOY standings, click here.
Day two is shaping up to be an exciting final day of competition. Weather will once again play a key role in tournament action. There is a 100% chance of rain forecasted for Saturday. The chance of rain is at its highest during the afternoon. With the top 10 separated by less than 3.5 lbs, there is a good chance to see change near the top of the leaderboard. Be sure to stay up to date through our live blog and social media channels tomorrow as we prepare to crown a winner for the 2018 AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open.