OKEECHOBEE, Fla. -- What many had hoped would be a record-setting tournament for weights, turned into a battle of grinders when the weather went cold. Kyle Oliver and Hunter McKamey of the University of Central Florida ground out 18-15 to lead after Day One of the Carhartt College Series Southern Regional on Lake Okeechobee.
Records were set however as the largest field in Carhartt College Series history hit the water Friday for the Southern Regional. One hundred and thirty boats in all braved air temps in the 40’s, which shut down the moving bait bite that many college teams found during practice when the air temps were in the 80’s.
The teams that found a flipping bite were, on average, the anglers who prevailed on Day One, though the leaders were on something a little different.
“We saw a lot of people flipping during practice so we decided to change it up and try a little different tactic,” said Hunter McKamey. “The fish seemed to like it Friday so we’re going to try it again Saturday.”
The cold front that rolled through the night before the tournament brought a drastic drop in air temps and 25 mile per hour winds out of the north. This combination dropped water temps and wrecked many places that anglers were counting on fishing on Day One. Such was not the case for UCF.
“We pulled up to our first spot and were kind of hesitant because of the cold front and the windy conditions,” said McKamey. “But we were surprised that the water was clear and in good condition so we stuck with it.”
UCF proceeded to catch their limit weighing 18-15 in the first 3 hours of the day, capping that stretch off with their biggest fish of the day that was around 5 pounds. After they boated their kicked they decided to leave the area and were unable to cull anymore throughout the day.
Sitting in second after Day One, only 2 ounces off the lead, is the team of Charles Conger and Demetrius Thomas of Abraham Baldwin Ag College who brought in 18-13. Third place belongs to Bo Larkins and Brian Rosso of the University of Georgia who had 18-10.
The Carhartt Big Bass on Day One belongs to John B Davis and Payton McGinnis of the University of Alabama who had an Okeechobee giant weighing 8-7.
Day Two begins at 7 AM ET Saturday morning at Scott C. Driver landing with on the water coverage via Bassmaster.com throughout the day Saturday including a live weigh-in starting at 3 PM ET.