The University of Louisiana-Monroe team of Nick Ladart and Brian Eaton, both of Monroe, La., weighed five fish Thursday for 16 pounds, 9 ounces to take the first day’s lead at the FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by the Lowrance Insight Genesis College Cup on Lake Keowee. . Forty-nine college teams are competing for a top award of a Ranger Z117 and entry into the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing.

“After the day of practice we had I didn’t think we’d have 16 pounds,” Eaton said. “Real early the wind was rough and we were just throwing everything we could.”

The team said they got only five bites throughout the course of the day, but those fives bites were the right bites, as they brought a mixed bag of three spotted bass and two largemouth to the scales.

“They were down deep,” Ladart said. “We got only five bites out there all day, and it took eight hours to get them.

“I feel like we were in the right area,” Ladart continued. “We ran to five or six spots, maybe 30 or 40 miles, just trying to stay out of the wind.”

Ladart and Eaton said they know they will have to find something different to fish during the course of the tournament, as they aren’t confident they can hit the same spots as hard as they did on the first day.

“It’s a lot of pressure with ULM being the defending national champions knowing we could zero and blow it,” Eaton said. “The weather is going to change and make it tougher, but it could make our fishing better.”

The top 10 teams after the first day of competition are:

  1. University of Louisiana-Monroe – Nick Ladart and Brian Eaton, both of Monroe, La., five fish, 16-9
  2. CSU-Monterey Bay – Matthew Diaz and Sebastian Resendiz, both of Castroville, Calif., five fish, 15-6
  3. Young Harris College – Furman (Joe) Thompson, Clayton, Ga., and Grayson Payne, Blairsville, Ga., five fish, 13-8
  4. Hardin-Simmons University – Randy Sullivan, Breckenridge, Texas, and Hubbell Allen, Abilene, Texas, five fish, 12-1
  5. University Of Nebraska-Omaha – Ben Milliken, Bennington, Neb., and Ben Kroeger, Omaha, Neb., five fish, 11-9
  6. Eastern Kentucky – Ethan Snyder, Vine Grove, Ky., and Billy French, Hamilton, Ohio, five fish, 11-5
  7. University Of Minnesota – Austin Felix, Eden Prairie, Minn., and Chris Burgan, Minneapolis, Minn., five fish, 11-4
  8. University Of Evansville – Nick Uebelhor and Eric Kieffner, both of Jasper, Ind., five fish, 10-13
  9. Chico State – Nick Carrico, Oroville, Calif., and Andrew Loberg, Rocklin, Calif., five fish, 10-7
  10. North Alabama – Dawson Lenz, Peachtree City, Ga., and Evan Horne, Florence, Ala., five fish, 10-1

Anglers will take off from South Cove County Park located at 828 S. Cove Road in Seneca, S.C., at 7 a.m. each morning. Weigh-in will be held at South Cove County Park starting at 3 p.m. on Friday. Weigh-in Saturday will be at 3 p.m. at the Walmart located at 1636 Sandifer Blvd. in Seneca. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

The national championship awards the top team a $30,000 prize package, including a Ranger Z117 with a 90-horsepower engine and an entry into the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup. The team member fishing as a pro in the Forrest Wood Cup also receives the use of a wrapped Ranger Boat and Chevy Tow Vehicle. All prize money earned in the Forrest Wood Cup goes directly to the individual who earns it. The Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing, hosted by Capital City Lake Murray Country, will be held Aug. 14-17 on Lake Murray in Columbia, S.C., and will offer the collegiate anglers the opportunity to compete for a top award of $500,000.

Coverage of the 2014 FLW College Fishing National Championship, will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs May 31 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET. The Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.

College Fishing is free to enter. 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.

For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow College Fishing on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing. Visit CollegeFishing.com to sign up or to start a club at your school.

Logo courtesy FLW Outdoors

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