The University of North Carolina Charlotte “Bass Rats” are the champions of the 2012 Collegiate Bass Fishing Open, presented by Pepsi. The four angler team of Eric Self, Tyler Beam, Shane Lehew, and Adam Waters amassed a two day total of 41.07 lbs. They started Day Two in third place, less than three pounds behind the first day leaders, North Carolina State. In the end, the Bass Rats brought the largest six fish limit of Day 2 to the scales, at 21.41 lbs. Their haul was more than enough to take home the title, edging out NC State by nearly one pound.
In the true spirit of the Collegiate Bass Fishing Open, they claimed the victory through teamwork, sharing the best elements of each other’s patterns. One boat did their work to the south in the grass, while the other worked deeper ledges to the north. They each shared a secondary pattern discovered during practice, which included focusing on marinas when their bites slowed down in their primary areas.
According to Shane, “Adam and I started out Saturday in the grass down south, and when that slowed down we went into marinas and focused on docks and barges. We ended up flipping up some good fish on jigs, which allowed us to cull some of our smaller fish from earlier in the day.”
Their partnered team, Eric and Tyler, tried to join them in the grass on the first morning of competition but it just wasn’t happening for them, so they went back up the lake to ledges they had discovered in previous events and started to catch some fish. According to Eric, “Last night we decided to stay to the north where we could catch a few, and then head to some of the marinas in our area using their (Adam and Shane) pattern, which was producing. Sharing the ideas in different areas really paid off for our team.”
Shane went on to add, “We had a memorable trip. We had one barge that was so loaded with fish that while I was down in the boat culling, Adam boat flipped two fish into the floor while I was down there. When I got back up and made my next cast, I got a five pounder, so it was pretty amazing.”
That magic barge and teamwork certainly paid off for the team. Their victory netted them $2,000 in cash and prizes from the event purse. In addition, they picked up several contingency prizes courtesy of the ACA sponsors, including a $250 BoatUS Angler Weigh to Win bonus, a $1,000 Yamaha bonus, $250 in Cabela’s Angler Cash, a $500 Berkley tackle bonus, as well as $500 ACA bonus. Collectively they made a haul, both in terms of bass and in terms of cash and prizes, which ended up totaling $4,500.
Day One leaders, the NC State BassPack, slipped to second place with a total of 40.18 lbs. As runner up, the BassPack took home $1,200 in cash and prizes, as well as the Lazer Trokar bonus of $500 in product.
Third place went to the Bethel University team of Cody Ross, Dewey Swims, Dillon McGee, and Tanner Ellis, with a two day total of 36.61 lbs. Their catch netted the team $800 in cash and prizes.
The highest finishing two angler team, occupying fourth place, went to the Kennesaw State team of Gregory Childers and Chris Ellis who weighed 12 bass totaling 36.45 lbs., which was good for $800 in cash and prizes plus an additional $200 Yamaha bonus.
Rounding out the top five was the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, represented by Taylor Bolton, Parker Bacon, Trent Huie, and Ryan Houston. Each of their boats brought in three fish limits daily, totaling 34.57 lbs. Their fifth place finish earned $600 in cash and prizes.
Big Bass honors for the event went to the Dallas Baptist University team of Trey Bledsoe and Trent Newman, with a 6.77 lbs. lunker, which was caught by Trent on Day Two. That one bite was worth the Berkley Big Bass Award, which includes two new Revo reels and V series rods, as well as the Costa Big Bass Bonus of $1,000.
Full results and additional details can be found at:
Images courtesy BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship Series