NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The old adage "Redemption is Sweet" fits perfectly after Day Two of the Under Armour College Bass National Championship.Northwestern State University anglers Zach Gagnard and Paul Rini lead the event going into the final after posting a 10.45 pound stringer that gave them a 20.20 total.It was a "sweet redeeming" change of pace for Northwestern State. In 2008, the team finished sixth getting bumped from the final-five playoff by University of Arkansas Little Rock by a half a pound.Gagnard and Rini had to sit on the sidelines and watch UALR win the Championship. This year, though, the team didn't leave anything to chance.They lead the five-team field in a one-day shoot out to determine the National Championship.Included in that field is Alabama's Montevallo University in second. Anglers Clent Davis and Chuck Holderfield weighed in stringers of 9.30 pounds and 10.39 pounds on Days One and Two respectively for a 19.69-pound total.North Texas University anglers Brandon Dickenson and Austin Hallowell are third with 19.25 pounds, followed by first-day leaders Cody McCrary and Justin Barmore of Louisiana-Lafayette in fourth with 14.76 and North Carolina State anglers Will White and Chris Wood in fifth with 14.54 pounds.
At this point those weights don't mean much. Each team begins the final with zero in the winner-take-all shootout that began with 60 teams vying for the title.The final five teams promise to provide plenty of fireworks. While most of the teams have never fished the Arkansas River before the event, they each were able to find something from their home states that helped them get to this point. Even if it was something as simple as Internet research from North Carolina.
"We have nothing like this in our state,'' said White of the North Carolina State team.
Instead they utilized their computers, Google searching tournament results and areas that they would check in practice. The team settled on a small creek in the Little Rock area and camped out there for two days.Then there is Northwestern. The school is located in Natchitoches, La., on the Red River, where Gagnard and Rini spend a lot of their fishing time.We had an incredible practice,'' Gagnard said. "We stroked then. But there was current in the river during practice. And when the tournament started it just stopped."That kind of change sunk many of the teams in the field. But the pair "knew how to change with the conditions."Davis and Holderfield of Montevallo had similar experiences but were able to find key areas along the main river and in the backwater. Their catch rates have been so good, the team, even though they have yet to catch a limit, quit fishing at 11 a.m. on Day Two, hoping to save a few bites for the final.
It's not out of the question that we can weigh in 15 pounds,'' Davis said. "But it's not out of the question that we could zero, either."Anglers launch from the North Little Rock ramp at 7 a.m. ET and weigh-in at the Academy Sports + Outdoors in North Little Rock, Ark., at 4 p.m. ET. Full coverage from the event can be found at ESPNOutdoors.com with live streaming from the weigh-in on CollegeBass.com.