The Winona State University team of Cade Laufenberg of Stoddard, Wis., and Wyatt Stout of Winona, Minn., won the FLW College Fishing Central Conference Invitational tournament on Kentucky Lake Sunday with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 28 pounds, 1 ounce. The victory earned the club $4,000 and qualified the team for the 2015 FLW College Fishing National Championship.
The Winona pair caught one of only two five-bass limits on the second and final day of competition to vault from 14th place to first.
“Yesterday we were packing up our stuff and ready to head home when we found out we had made it into the top 15,” said Stout. “To go out and catch what we did today was unreal.”
“We were expecting to get knocked off (the hotseat), but it worked out,” said Laufenberg. “Towards the end of the weigh-in I felt like there was a 50-50 chance we’d get passed up, because I knew Eastern Kentucky University didn’t have a big bag. I was just up there praying and hoping, and trying to focus on the fact that’d we’d made the National Championship.
“On Saturday we ran south to Paris, Tenn., and fished a flat that was 3 to 6 feet deep, and had grass and shell beds scattered on it,” Laufenberg explained. “We were just looking for seagulls diving on bait and when we could get to them in time we could sometimes catch as many as 10 or 15 fish on consecutive casts with a lipless crankbait. The seagulls were kind of bouncing back and forth between two general areas and we just put marker buoys on them and hopped between them.
“Today it was sunny and the wind had really died down,” continued Laufenberg. “We had a topwater bite for a little bit in the morning and caught a few on a lipless crankbait. Later on, we actually started Carolina-rigging because the fish weren’t chasing bait on the surface to let us know where they were. On our way back we stopped at another spot where the fish were schooling and caught them working a Strike King KVD Sexy Dawg about as fast as we could.”
“I had caught one good one first thing in the morning, but we culled out four of our other fish where they were schooling,” said Stout. “Making that stop was a huge upgrade.”
A number of good decisions played a key role in the duo’s win.
“We wanted to make the long run down toward Paris and get way from the crowds,” Stout said. “We found a few spots that had fish on them and just devoted ourselves to them.”
“Because of the weather on Sunday it only took about 45 minutes for us to get to our spots and we had a lot more fishing time,” said Laufenberg. “It let us settle in and relax and make some really good decisions with the time we had to work with.”
The pair said that they Carolina-rigged a red shad-colored 7-inch worm and that their lipless crankbait of choice was a shad-colored Spro Aruku Shad.
The top 10 teams that advanced to the 2015 FLW College Fishing National Championship are:
1st: Winona State University – Cade Laufenberg, Stoddard, Wis., and Wyatt Stout, Winona, Minn. (10 bass, 28-1, $4,000)
2nd: University of Wisconsin-Platteville – Ryan Gilbert, Sterling, Ill., and Brett Daggett, Cottage Grove, Wis. (10 bass, 27-9, $2,000)
3rd: McKendree University – Dustin Pendegraft, Summerfield, Ill., and Phillip Germagliotti, Highland, Ill. (nine bass, 26-6, $1,000)
4th: Murray State University – Seth Brock, Cedar Hill, Tenn., and Lance Freeman, Eddyville, Ky. (nine bass, 24-1, $1,000)
5th: Western Kentucky University – Ryan Coleman, Utica, Ky., and Stephen Compton, Brandenburg, Ky. (nine bass, 23-4, $1,000)
6th: Eastern Kentucky University – Kyle Raymer, Brandenburg, Ky., and Ethan Snyder, Vine Grove, Ky. (nine bass, 22-14)
7th: Murray State University – Justin Graben, Murray, Ky., and Dan Schult, Millstadt, Ill. (nine bass, 22-13)
8th: University of Wisconsin-La Crosse – Pat Bowers, Hudson, Wis., and Sig Finley, Wonder Lake, Ill. (nine bass, 22-7)
9th: Kansas State University – Nathen Kozlowski, Junction City, Kan., and Lance Maldonado, Chapman, Kan. (nine bass, 21-10)
10th: University of Missouri – Christian Ponzetti, Excelsior, Minn., and Ben Verhoef, Osage Beach, Mo. (seven bass, 21-0)
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 15 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.
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.
Image courtesy FLW Outdoors