HENRICO, Va. — Maurice Hudson and Sean Cummins of Penn State University lead wire-to-wire to win the Carhartt College Series Eastern Regional on the James River with a four-day total of 42 pounds, 14 ounces.
The Nittany Lion teammates only brought four fish to the scales for the second consecutive day, but the quality was enough to overcome a hard-charging Ohio State.
"After Day 1 we thought we had something figured out and then we found out we had a cameraman and media coverage following us around and we got nervous," Hudson said. "We were a little camera shy and didn't fish clean at all. Coming in with four fish today had us worried."
The duo relied heavily on a crankbait bite and ran the changing tides to stay around the quality fish they needed to do well. Hudson, who fishes the Potomac River and Upper Chesapeake Bay, knows how the tides change and the impact it has on the fish so timing was the most critical thing in this event.
"Running with the tide is key," Hudson said. "Once you figure out a pattern you have to stick with it on that specific tide. We knew our key bites would come an hour later everyday so we had to stay patient and not fish a spot too early."
Throughout the transition of the tide they would throw crankbaits that varied in depth. When it was high tide they could catch fish on deeper running crankbaits, but with less water on their cover at low tide they could lean on a solid squarebill bite. They also added important fish on a jig over the last two days.
Hudson and Cummins rotated multiple main river spots throughout the event and believe their bite wasn't affected by the changing weather, which threw three different conditions at the teams this week.
The Ohio State team of Jacob Miller and Kyle Waller stayed consistent over the three-day event and cashed in with a 2nd place finish for the week. They weighed a final-day limit of 14-2 and pushed their total to 42-5, just nine ounces behind Hudson and Cummins.
Miller and Waller had two key areas and patterns that they could rely on throughout the entirety of the regional. Every morning the duo ran down river and fished a stretch of cypress trees adjacent to a spawning pocket to fill their limit. After catching numerous keepers they would run a grass pattern in the Chickahominy River when the tide started to get low.
"We didn't plan on our spots to hold up as well as they did this week," Miller said. "We would lay off of our cypress trees after getting a limit so we could conserve it throughout the tournament because we would catch a limit in the first 15 minutes of our day."
Their one-two punch helped them stay around the 13- to 14-pound range every day, but on the final day they couldn't get the big bite they so desperately needed.
Rounding out the Top 5 were Carson Orellana of Strayer Univeristy in 3rd, Tyler Woolcott and Cody Wilson of Emby-Riddle Aeronautical University in 4th and Sam Glenn and Cameron Baker of UNC Charlotte in 5th.
The Top 13 teams after the final weigh-in clinched their berth to the 2016 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship on Green River Lake in Campbellsville, Kentucky on July 28-30.
Maurice Hudson and Sean Cummins were awarded the Bass Pro Shops Nitro Big Bag Award after catching 17-2 on Day 1. They also won the Livingston Lures Day 2 leader award.
Jay Emmert and Logan Brewster won the Carhartt Big Bass Award after hauling in a 7-pound, 8-ounce largemouth on Day 1 of the Eastern Regional.