The Eastern Illinois University team of Lee Buehnerkemper of Teutopolis, Ill., and Chase Sanford of Catlin, Ill., took the lead on day one of the National Guard FLW College Fishing Central Conference Championship on Carlyle Lake Thursday with a five-bass limit weighing 14 pounds, 8 ounces. The team holds nearly a 3-pound lead over their nearest competitor, Eastern Kentucky. The 20 college teams participating in this tournament are competing for a Ranger Z117 bass boat with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and a berth in the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship.
“It was tough out there today,” said Sanford, a senior in sociology and wildlife biology. “We should have had 16 or 17 pounds, but we lost a couple of good fish that really could have helped us. We are fishing a pattern that should hold throughout the weekend and we should be able to duplicate our bag tomorrow.”
Although both anglers live within two hours’ drive of the lake, neither had fished Carlyle much in the past. Sanford indicated that today was his fourth day on the lake, and Buehnerkemper did say that after qualifying for the conference championship he did fish the lake a few times throughout the summer in order to help prepare for this tournament.
However, conditions on the lake are continually changing. Water levels have come up considerably throughout the summer and are continuing to rise. The weather is a big factor. A storm rolled through the area Wednesday and produced a much more lucrative bite during practice than what was experienced today. Another system is expected to roll through Friday, and many anglers, including the team from Eastern Illinois, indicated they are looking forward to a change from the bluebird skies.
“It was a rollercoaster today,” said Buehnerkemper, a junior majoring in marketing. “We were catching them shallow, we were catching them deep. We caught them both in the morning and in the afternoon. We ran to about 25 different spots. The longest we stayed on one spot was probably about a hour.
“This lake fishes very uniquely,” Buehnerkemper continued. “It’s like a big bowl, and it is a race to see who gets to the good spots first.
Buehnerkemper and Sanford remained tight lipped about the pattern and baits they’re using, but they indicated they are doing something a little different than the rest of the field. Both came into the tournament believing that 10 to 12 pounds per day would put them in contention to be in the top five. They said they are very pleased with their 14-pound bag, and their goal now is to fish on Saturday.
The top 10 teams are:
1st: Eastern Illinois University – Lee Buehnerkemper, Teutopolis, Ill., and Chase Sanford, Catlin, Ill., five bass, 14-8
2nd: Eastern Kentucky – John Smith, London, Ky., and Kyle Raymer, Brandenburg, Ky., five bass, 12-11
3rd: Purdue University – Nicholas Schuetz, Loogootee, Ind., and Elliott Myers, Anderson, Ind., five bass, 11-11
4th: Indiana University – Dustin Vaal, Bloomington, Ind., and Steven Bressler, Fremont, Ind., five bass, 11-1
5th: Georgetown College – Mike Huff, Corbin, Ky., and Nick Huff, Georgetown, Ky., five bass, 10-7
6th: Winona State University – Cade Laufenberg, Stoddard, Wis., and Sam Schollmeier, Rochester, Minn., five bass, 9-11
7th: Southern Illinois-Edwardsville – Joseph Tischer, Edwardsville, Ill., and Jacob Hicks, Morris, Ill., five bass, 9-3
8th: Murray State University – Chad Branham, Murray, Ky., and Vincent Campisano, Louisville, Ky., four bass, 7-6
9th: Georgetown College – Clay Elliott, Georgetown, Ky., and Vincent Timperio, Corbin, Ky., four bass, 7-2
10th: Eastern Kentucky – Ethan Snyder, Vine Grove, Ky., and Matt Salmons, Bronston, Ky., three bass, 5-11
For complete results visit CollegeFishing.com
Anglers will take off from Dam West Boat Ramp located at 801 Lake Road in Carlyle, Ill., at 7 a.m. each morning. Weigh-ins will be at Walmart located at 2591 12th St., in Carlyle, Ill., beginning at 4 p.m. each day.
Fans will be treated to the FLW Expo at Walmart on Friday from 2–4 p.m. and Saturday from noon–4 p.m. prior to weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors. Fans can also learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public.
Four regular-season qualifying events were held in each conference – Central, Northern, Southeastern, Southern and Western – the top five teams from each regular-season event qualified for one of five conference championships. The top five teams from each conference championship advance to the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship.
College Fishing is free to enter and FLW provides boats and drivers for each competing team along with travel allowances. All participants must be registered, full-time undergraduate students at a four-year college or university and members of a fishing club recognized by their college or university.
Coverage of the Central Conference Championship will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs Nov. 11 from 1-2 p.m. EST. “FLW” is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 559 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
Image courtesy FLW Outdoors