Jake Jacobs and Aaron English were a little late, holding up the weigh-in for the Arkansas College State tournament.
It was understandable. They had “boat issues,” then on their drive from Norfork Lake, where the competition was held Sunday, their rig got rear-ended. That delay didn’t matter as they weighed in 11 pounds, 13 ounces to win the event by 5 ounces.
“It feels like … I can’t even explain it,” said Jacobs, obviously shaken up. “I was so nervous because we had boat problems, and we barely made it here.”
With winds gusting up to 25 mph, the 12 teams from the state’s colleges battled it out on nearby Norfork before weighing in on the Bassmaster Elite Series stage. Jacobs and English wondered if they would even make it to the prelude for the TroKar Quest weigh-in.
“We swapped our fish to another boat, and that boat got rear-ended on the way over here.” Jacobs said.
The team made it, although the weigh-in had to be delayed several minutes. On the water, Jacobs and English capitalized on the areas they found in practice. Targeting wind-blown banks, the duo threw Strike King silent Series Crankbaits and Carolina-rigged a green pumpkin Zoom Centipede with a chartreuse-dyed tip.
“We knew the fish were in our area because we caught them in practice,” English said. “So we decided we weren’t leaving, and when the wind turned around, it was like turning on a light switch — they started eating.”
In second place with 11-8 was Jared Kennemer and Paul Lafluer of the University of Arkansas. Kenneth Anderson and Mitch Rausch of the University of Arkansas were third, and Tony Harrison and Dalton Littleton of Arkansas Tech University were fourth. Fishing by himself, Trent Gephart of the University of Arkansas Little Rock was fifth.
The Arkansas College State Tournament was held in conjunction with the TroKar Quest Bassmaster Elite Series event on Bull Shoals Lake this week to focus attention on the growing sport of collegiate bass fishing. Each of the teams also competes in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series.