A Sluggish Saturday
The sluggish current of the Arkansas River reflected the pace of fishing for the teams on the final day of the 2007 Under Armor College Bass National Championship.
"These are current-driven fish," Elite Series pro Scott Rook said during a special college edition of the live Internet show "Hooked Up." "The fish need the current to position them correctly to stage and find baitfish."
In addition to the slower current in the river, another tournament also being held on the river had attracted much more fishing traffic, especially in key locations.
"We hadn't seen anyone all week on our spot," Cody said. "But when we got there today, there were already nine boats."
Every angler experienced a much smaller bite on the final day of fishing. Virginia Tech's winning stringer only weighed 8 pounds, 8 ounces.
During the National Championship tournament's three days of action, crowds saw many impressive fish being hoisted above a college bass angler's head. And every single one of them was a live fish.
The tournament experienced a rare 100-percent return rate.
With dead fish penalties costing a team key ounces, anglers studied up on the latest fish care techniques to make sure they didn't see a penalty.
William Carstens of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette explained how important fish care was for his angling team.
"Having one die would have really hurt us because we had got limits," Carstens said. "So we used this green gel on them in the live well that really kept them active."
And the Circle is Complete
The University of Oklahoma's Sooner fishing team had a rough start to their tournament experience.
It ended much like it started.
Only finding three keepers weighing 4-12 pounds, the team slipped into third place after a tie-breaking loss to the University of Louisiana - Lafayette team.
"But that's only number ten on our list of things that didn't go our way today," angler Chip Porché said.
When the team arrived Saturday at their A-spot, a blue BassCat sat there. The sewage discharge site — the same spot that had gotten them to the finals — had now attracted a striper angler fishing with live bait.
And the stubborn angler made it clear he wasn't moving.
"He didn't really care that we were college bass anglers fishing in a tournament for scholarship money," Pangrac said. "In fact, he caught a five-pound largemouth and a couple four-pounders and showboated them off."
"We were worried about that Oklahoma team."
— Virginia Tech's Scott Wiley
"Don't worry about that."
— Iowa Hawkeye Tyler Mehrl's response to BASS Federation Nation's Don Corkran, after Corkran had reminded the angler that he would have to re-qualify to return to next year's championship.
"We got that last spotted bass with a lure that was bigger than he was.
— University of Louisiana - Lafayette's Cody McCrary
"We all in Blacksburg have taken it all in, accepted the tragedy and moved on. Campus is back to normal again."
— Virginia Tech's Brett Thompson