CONWAY, Ark. — Although this Carhartt Bassmaster College Series tournament has advanced to individual competition, the four semifinalists decided Saturday morning at Beaverfork Lake will represent only two teams — Auburn and Alabama, just like in the classic "Iron Bowl" contests the schools have waged on the football field.
Auburn's Jordan Lee squeaked by Murray State's Justin Graben to advance. The margin was only two ounces. Graben was the only angler to catch close to a five-bass limit in the morning session, finishing with four that weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces.
Lee had only one fish in the boat with 30 minutes left. He then caught two on back-to-back casts, including a 4-9, to give him the big bag of the morning, 7-9. His last two fish came on a Spro Big John crankbait.
Lee's brother, Matt, caught the biggest bass of the morning — a 4-14 — with eight minutes left to clinch his victory over Murray State's Vincent Campisano. Lee used a spoon to attract the big bass, then had to battle it out of a brushpile.
"I thought it was a catfish at first, the way it was shaking its head," Lee said. "I had it on for at least a minute-and-a-half before I got it out of the brush."
Campisano had one bass that weighed 1-3. Lee finished with two that weighed 6-12.
Alabama anglers Logan Johnson and Dustin Connell also advanced. Johnson had two bass weighing 5-0 to top Oklahoma State's Zack Birge, who had one fish weighing 1-3. Connell caught three weighing a total of 3-14 to beat Flurry, who zeroed on another hot day of tough fishing in central Arkansas.
Oklahoma State's Birge and Flurry won the three-day Carhartt Bassmaster College Series national championship Friday.
The semifinals this afternoon will be held from 1 p.m. CT to 6 p.m. It's Alabama's Connell vs. Auburn's Matt Lee in one bracket, and Alabama's Johnson vs. Auburn's Jordan Lee in the other bracket.
The winners this afternoon will go head-to-head Sunday morning to determine which College B.A.S.S. angler advances to the 2013 Bassmaster Classic.
The weigh-ins at Beaverfork Lake, 80 Kinley Drive, Conway, Ark., are free and open to the public. This evening's weigh-in begins at 6:15. Sunday's weigh-in starts at 12:45 p.m.