Big Bass Take Center Stage on Day 1

Paris, TN (10/04/2019) – Day one of the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley is in the books.  Kentucky Lake proved to be a formidable adversary for college fishing’s best young anglers today.  A cold front greeted the anglers this morning which brought strong winds and clear blue bird skies for most of the day making fishing conditions tough on this famous body of water.  However, despite a slow start to the day as the sessions rolled on, these college anglers figured out a way to boat some of the giant bass that Kentucky Lake is known for.

Joe Bardill of the 4th ranked team from Murray State University got things kicked off with a bang this morning as he brought a 4.80 pound largemouth across the stage to claim first place in Session 1 presented by Engel Coolers.  Though he goes to a nearby college located not far from the ramp here in Paris, TN, Bardill did not enter this event with a whole lot of confidence.  “I was pretty worried about catching bigger fish coming into this just because it’s fall.  The timing seems to be a huge factor this time of year,” noted Bardill.

Many anglers today mentioned experiencing a strong topwater bite early this morning.  The Session 1 winner from Murray State credits a topwater bait for his session winning catch.  “Whenever we went out today, we just honestly knew we needed a bigger bite.  Threw topwater all day long.  That one fish that I caught for that first session, it hit a Whopper Plopper at the boat,” added Bardill.  Session 1 proved to be the easiest session of the day to claim a prize.  It took only 1.82 pounds to claim 10th place in the session presented by Engel Coolers.

Once Session 1 concluded, Session 2 presented by Bob’s Machine Shop immediately started.  Top prize for this session was an Action Series Jack Plate from Bob’s Machine Shop with a really cool American flag pattern.  Mason Cizek of the 16th ranked team from Bryan College brought in a bass weighing 4.84 pounds to claim that top prize.

Session 2 wound up being the most hotly contested session of the day.  There were five fish weighed in over the five pound mark.  This session also boasted the heaviest 10th place weight of all the sessions.  Chase Mundhenke of the 20th ranked Auburn University squeaked his way into that final prize earning spot of the session with 3.23 pounds.

Next up was Session 3 presented by Bass Pro Shops.  Another Bryan College angler claimed this session, when Rob Lindsey tipped the scales with a largemouth bass weighing 4.85 pounds.  That fish netted Lindsey a $1,000 Bass Pro Shops gift card that he is eager to spend.  “It’s amazing and I can’t wait to spend it,” said Lindsey.

This fish also ended up being big fish of the day.  Fishing his first college tournament ever, Lindsey is excited about the prospects of going out on the final day holding the overall lead.  “I’m looking forward going into day two.  We found a good bank that we’re going to run tomorrow, we found a good pattern that we can replicate across the lake,” commented Lindsey.  Being his first tournament and that he’s in contention, there’s also a lot of emotion flowing going into the final day.  “It’d mean the world.  This is my first ever college tournament, and it’d be a blessing form the Lord to take home the win for Bryan,” added Lindsey.

And finally, the final session of the day.  Day 1 Session 4 was presented by Garmin, and Jacob Welch from the 34th ranked Drury University claimed top prize with his lone keeper of the day.  “I got one keeper bite today and I ended up winning the period,” said Welch.  The day was a grind for the Drury University angler.  After fishing for nearly seven hours, this quality smallmouth decided to strike in the final moments of day one.  “I actually caught the fish about 1:50.  I had about a 25 minute run back to the boat ramp, so I was cutting it really close,” added Welch.

In typical fashion, the final session of the Big Bass Bash was one of the busier periods of the day.  A wave of two pound fish were brought to the scales, and the session was decided by exactly .01 of an ounce.  That smallest margin can go a long ways in boosting Drury’s chances at moving up in the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia.  “I was just hoping to get some school of the year points.  To come out on top, it’s really cool,” noted Welch.

Along with the session weights, the other main focus this week is the School of the Year race.  Many of the top schools entering this event like Murray State, Adrian College, Bryan College, Montevallo, and Bethel University all had anglers bring fish to the scales.  The one team that stuck out the most at weigh in today was Bryan College.  The Bryan team had a total of seven anglers place in the top 10 of a session today.  And for the School of the Year leaders, Adrian College placed an angler in the top 10 of three of the four sessions.  Going into tomorrow, we will be keeping a close eye on this race as teams will be eligible to earn points for their two highest finishing teams.

The first flight of boats will take off at 7:00 AM tomorrow morning.  Live weigh-ins will be available via the Outdoor Action TV app, and the Live Blog will begin prior to the first flight leaving the dock.