The Fresno State University team of Jeremy Pitts of Visalia, Calif., and Michael Cantu of Fresno, Calif., won the FLW College Fishing Western Conference event on New Melones Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 22 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and advanced the team to the FLW College Fishing Western Conference Invitational tournament.
The duo’s weight was anchored by a monster largemouth that weighed in at more than 12 pounds.
“Our day went very smoothly,” said Pitts, a senior majoring in Business. “We caught a couple of good fish on our first spot and we had four in the livewell by 9 a.m. We moved to our second area and a few casts in I hooked that 12-pounder.”
“The fish jumped and we saw it was a monster,” said Cantu, a senior majoring in Business Administration. “I saw that it wasn’t hooked very well and we were very nervous that it would get off. When Jeremy got it up to the boat, I just jammed the net in and was able to get it in the boat. We were pumped.”
“The very next cast, I caught a solid 3½-pound spotted bass,” Pitts continued. “After those two fish, we had a solid 18 pounds by 9:30 and I knew that we had probably won the tournament.”
The duo said that they caught 10 or 11 fish throughout the day, and that all of their fish came by drop-shotting a 4½-inch Prism Shad-colored Roboworm or dragging a sculpin-colored California Reservoir Lures jig. The 12-pound kicker came on the jig.
“We had been here practicing a few times a couple weeks ago and we were able to figure out that drop-shotting and throwing the jig was the deal,” Cantu said. “We were catching a lot of fish with the drop-shot, but the bigger bites were coming on the jig.”
Despite the top three finishing teams all coming from Fresno State, Pitts and Cantu said that there wasn’t much information sharing going on between the fellow club members.
“It’s really pretty ironic that the top three were all Fresno State teams,” said Cantu. “We all talked a little bit about what we had found in practice, but we didn’t have a team plan coming in or anything like that. It’s pretty cool, though.”
“The key for us is that we were fishing deeper than most teams,” Pitts went on to say. “We were just targeting three different areas and they were all pretty much the same – long tapering points in 25 to 35 feet of water.”
The top 15 teams that advanced to the Western Conference Invitational tournament on Clear Lake are:
1st: California State University-Fresno – Jeremy Pitts, Visalia, Calif., and Michael Cantu, Fresno, Calif. (five bass, 22-3, $2,000)
2nd: California State University-Fresno – Cory Kerber, Kerman, Calif., and Joseph Piedimonte, Salinas, Calif. (five bass, 15-13, $1,000)
3rd: California State University-Fresno – Victor Evans, Fresno, Calif., and Carl Nelson, Hanford, Calif. (five bass, 12-8, $500)
4th: University of Idaho – Tanner Mort and Austin Turpin, both of Moscow, Idaho (five bass, 10-5, $500)
5th: Humboldt State University – Tristan Merlaud, Sebastopol, Calif., and Rudy Directo, Alpine, Calif. (five bass, 9-13, $500)
6th: Eastern Washington University – Mackenzi Brunner, Cashmere, Wash., and Taylor Throop, Cheney, Wash. (three bass, 9-1)
7th: Sonoma State University – Brent Nelson, Santa Rosa, Calif., and Jake Banuelos, Pinole, Calif. (four bass, 8-9)
8th: California State University-Long Beach – Justin Gangel, Huntington Beach, Calif., and Tommy Tang, Long Beach, Calif. (five bass, 8-6)
9th: San Jose State University – Roberto Munoz, Hollister, Calif., and Andrew Sumi, Hercules, Calif. (five bass, 7-2)
10th: Utah Valley University – Weston Probst and Maegan Birdsey, both of Orem, Utah (five bass, 5-10)
11th: California State University-Sacramento – Jeff Taluban and Greg Taluban, both of Salinas, Calif. (four bass, 5-7)
12th: California Polytechnic State University – Clayton Lauchland, Lodi, Calif., and Jonathan Fagot, South Lake Tahoe, Calif. (four bass, 5-4)
13th: San Jose State University – Adam McAndrews, Santa Clara, Calif., and Joey Fortina, San Jose, Calif. (four bass, 5-1)
14th: Humboldt State University – Alex Robbins, Novato, Calif., and Joseph Schiavoni, McKinleyville, Calif. (four bass, 4-12)
15th: California State University-Chico – Michael Woods, Olivehurst, Calif., and Chas Brannon, Santa Maria, Calif. (five bass, 4-9)
Complete results can be found at CollegeFishing.com.
FLW College Fishing teams compete in three qualifying events in one of five conferences – Central, Northern, Southern, Southeastern and Western. The top fifteen teams from each regular-season tournament will qualify for one of five conference invitational tournaments. The top 10 teams from each conference invitational tournament will advance to the 2015 FLW College Fishing National Championship.
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.
This FLW College Fishing Western Conference tournament was hosted by New Melones Lake Marina and was the third and final regular-season tournament. The next event for Western Conference anglers will be the Invitational scheduled for Oct. 11-12 at Clear Lake in Lakeport, Calif., and is hosted by the Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina.
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