Appalachian State takes Eastern Regional lead

Not rain, nor wind, nor cold could slow Appalachian State’s Kelly Johnson and Jeremy Gilley, who added the heaviest bag of Day 2 weighing 15 pounds 12 ounces to their Day 1 weight of 13 pounds 3 ounces to take the Eastern Regional lead by 6-ounces on Lake Norman.

Johnson and Gilley have two patterns to thank for their 28 pound 15 ounce two-day total, which has them atop the Carhartt College Series Eastern Regional.

“We’re on two different deals right now,” said Johnson. “We have a shallow pattern going and a deeper pattern also.”

Ever changing conditions brought the air temps down from the 80s to the 40s, all the while introducing heavy rain and stiff winds to the area on Day 2. As the front blows through, Day 3 promises to be even colder, dropping to 25 degrees tomorrow night. Appalachian State will need both of their patterns in order to contend with the changing conditions and hold onto the lead.

“I think we should still be able to catch them doing what we’re doing,” said Gilley. “The weather slowed things down a little today from yesterday and might slow things down even more for tomorrow but I think we’ll still be able to catch them pretty good.”

This is the first tournament with the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series for Johnson and Gilley, who are grad students at Appalachian State. Although Johnson had never fished the lake before pre-practice, Gilley has a lot of experience on Norman and together the two have pooled their knowledge and fresh set of eyes to the lake to put themselves in prime position headed into the final day.

For leading after Day 2, Appalachian State’s Kelly Johnson and Jeremy Gilley were awarded the Livingston Lures Leader Award.

Consistency puts Austin Neary and Alex Frazier of Western Carolina University in second place headed into the final day. With back-to-back performances in the 14-pound range, Neary is hoping to up the ante a bit tomorrow.

“We’ve had some bedding large mouth everyday,” said Neary. “We have five or six beds with 6-pounders on them. We’ve caught some of the bucks off of them but haven’t been able to catch the females yet.”

If those females are already locked on bed, there’s a chance one cold night won’t be enough to run the spawners off. So the potential is definitely there for a monster bag tomorrow.

The field was cut today to the top 20 who will compete one more day on Lake Norman, vying for one of the top 16 qualifying spots for the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship to be held later this year.

Cole Blythe’s 6 pound 10 ounce Carhartt Big Bass from Day 1 held strong on Day 2 and remains the big bass for the event so far.

UNC Charlotte’s Cole Blythe and John Auten also hold onto the Bass Pro Nitro Big Bag for the event with their Day 1 single day weight of 16 pounds 12 ounces.

Bass Pro Shops in Concord will host the top 20 weigh-in tomorrow starting at 4:30 PM Eastern. You can follow all the Day 3 action or catch up on what you’ve missed by visiting Bassmaster.com.