The Fab Five

The final day of the College National Bass Championship is next

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — If it feels good, go back for more.

For the five teams who will fish the final day of the Under Armour College Bass National Championship on Saturday, the key on Day Two was hitting the same areas on the Arkansas River that produced for them earlier in the week.

Despite cooler and even more blustery conditions than the 36-team field faced on Day One, several pools on the Arkansas River produced enough to reward perseverant teams such as Virginia Tech. The Hokies weighed in a tournament-best 26 pounds, 11 ounces over the first two days by "fishing fast and fishing rocks," and using one dependable bait, angler Scott Wiley said.

"We were fairly alone out there, which made us feel good," Wiley said of the four holes they were fishing.

The Virginia Tech duo felt good enough with their weights on both days that they stopped early in the afternoon, put down their rods and in the middle of the river, enjoyed a half-hour lunch break.

There won't be any advantage for finishing in first. Virginia Tech's weight will be zeroed for the final day, just as it will for the other four top finishers: Oklahoma (26-8), Louisiana-Lafayette (21-13), Mississippi State (18-0) and Iowa (17-12).
 

All five of those teams caught limits on Day Two, and all were in the top five after Day One, just in a slightly different arrangement.

"I'm a little nervous," Wiley's teammate, Brett Thompson, said. "I feel like a lot of guys have spots replenishing."

That was indeed the case for the Sooners, who led after Day One and fell 3 ounces shy of the Hokies for the first two days. Oklahoma's Matt Pangrac said he and teammate Chip Porche' are pounding "one main spot that's replenishing with quality fish."

It was where they started on Day One, after realizing that it was "a combination of everything we had caught fish on" in practice, he said.

He figured they needed 10 or 12 pounds to make the cut. Oklahoma's objective for Saturday? "Our goal," Pangrac said, "is just to whack 'em."

The Hawkeyes happened upon a similar area after having to scramble for a boat on what should have been their first practice day. John Haynes and Tyler Mehrl wound up borrowing an old boat from "some bait shop owner" and staying within gas-guzzling distance of the ramp. But they, too, know where they're heading first thing in the morning.

"We think this spot refills with quality fish," Haynes said, echoing Pangrac.

Mississippi State's Sam Lawrence and Cal Clark advanced despite having a barge delay them at the lock and trolling motor problems stall them further.

They said they caught their limit by keeping things simple, mostly flipping shallow jetties.

"We're just doing what we know how to do," Clark said, "which isn't much."

advertisement

advertisement