East Carolina, Ole Miss locked in lead

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Teams representing East Carolina University and the University of Mississippi are locked in a tie for the lead at the College B.A.S.S. East Super Regional, with both teams delivering 5-bass limits to the scales weighing 12 pounds.

The two-angler teams representing both universities are also equally as confident in their strategies going into tomorrow’s final round of competition.

“The fish are in transition between shallow and deep water, moving back to the river,” said Brock Mosley of Ole Miss, joined by teammate Andy Halford.  “We think we’ve got them figured out.”

On the East Carolina side of the equation is Brad Kimrey and Zane Bennett with this summary of their competition thus far.

“We’ve got it down, it just depends on whether or not they are running water or not,” Bennett said.

He’s referring to Alabama Power, which operates a chain of power generating dams on the river that influence how and where fish position in relation to habitat. Fish actively feed when water is discharged from the dam, causing bait to move and into the strike zone. Without current the fish are tougher to catch, requiring a flexible strategy that lasts all day.

“We can work it either way and fish the river or backwaters depending on the current,” added Bennett.

On the flip side, the Ole Miss team is prepared for what is expected to be more current flow on Saturday.

“We found quality fish on steep banks during practice, starting in practice going south,” said Mosley. “What we’ve done is just expand that pattern back up north toward the dam, so we’ve got most of the river covered.”

Ole Miss and East Carolina are tied, but their 12-pound lead is slim by comparison to the top team contenders down the leader board.

The University of North Carolina-Charlotte ranks third with 11 pounds, 14 pounds, while Auburn University is fourth with 11 pounds, 8 ounces.

Although the winner claims bragging rights, the ultimate goal at this competition is advancing to the College B.A.S.S. National Championship, July 7-9 in Little Rock, Ark. The top one-half of the teams from the East Super Regional field become eligible to send members from their respective collegiate clubs to the finals.

Through a rod-to-rod showdown between the top team at the national championship will emerge one angler to qualify for the 2011 Bassmaster Classic.

“To walk across the same weigh-in stage as Kevin VanDam would just be incredible in itself,” said a star struck Mosley. “I mean that is the ultimate goal of any tournament angler, and to have that chance would be a big honor.”

Tomorrow, Mosley and his Ole Miss teammate Halford will be one step closer to making a dream reality.