College anglers preview Smith Lake

Beautiful Smith Lake in Cullman, Alabama serves as the stadium for a full field of boats in the third stop of the 2021 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series trail. Around 500 college fishermen and women met at Smith Lake Park this evening for registration and are eager to get on the water in the morning. 

This event was originally scheduled for one month ago in mid-April, but flooding conditions forced Bassmaster officials to postpone the tournament until this week. Instead of dangerous high water, anglers will experience stable water levels with the lake at full pool. 

Smith Lake is absolutely full of spotted bass with a solid population of largemouth bass, too. Knowing which species to target and how to adapt based on the conditions and fishing pressure will be key for the eventual winners of this event.

Part of what makes college fishing so cool is the different stories each one of these anglers carries with them. They come from all corners of the country with vastly different backgrounds in bass fishing, but are all brought together for some fun and competition. We caught up with Hayden Gaddis, Jacob Schrimsher, and Riley Sells to learn a little more about them and pick their brains on what to expect from Smith the next two days. 

What year in school are you and what is your major? 

Schrimsher, Calhoun Community College – “I’m a junior getting my degree in Computer Science.” 

Sells, Georgia Southern University – “I just finished my sophomore year and am studying Construction Management.” 

Gaddis, Carson-Newman University – “I’m going to be a junior next fall and am majoring in Business with a Marketing minor.” 

What’s your school mascot and would they be good at bass fishing? 

Schrimsher, Calhoun Community College – “We’re the War Hawks (not to be confused with warthogs) and I’m thinking our mascot would have to be pretty good at fishing. I mean hawks are hunters, right?” 

Sells, Georgia Southern University – “We’re the Eagles so you already know our mascot can fish. Eagles are natural predators.” 

Gaddis, Carson-Newman University – “Hey, we’re the Eagles, too. Fishing comes natural to an eagle for sure. Heck, I’d bet our mascot can out fish me!” 

Based on your practice, what percentage of the fish do you feel are postspawn on Smith Lake right now? 

Schrimsher, Calhoun Community College –  “Honestly I’d put that number somewhere around 90%. Most of the fish here are done.” 

Sells, Georgia Southern University – “I’m going to say almost all of the fish are postspawn here on Smith Lake. Like upper 90’s in terms of percent.” 

Gaddis, Carson-Newman University – “Probably something like 80% are done with their spawning deal. Definitely the majority.” 

Will the eventual winners of this tournament weigh-in 10 largemouth, 10 spotted bass, or a mixture of the two?  

Schrimsher, Calhoun Community College – “We go to school about 45 minutes from here, so we fish Smith often. This time of the year, I’m going to say a mixture. I could see mostly spots with one or two nice largemouth mixed in winning. Somewhere around the 30-lb. mark for two days of fishing.” 

Sells, Georgia Southern University – “I think all largemouth will win it… Spotted bass are more of a safe bet here it seems, but I have a feeling with the water levels someone will figure out the largemouth.” 

Gaddis, Carson-Newman University – “Spots seem to be in a biting mood, so I’ll say 10 spots will win this thing. They are more consistent it seems for sure.”