McKendree maintains Wild Card lead

DOVER, Tenn. — The names atop the scoreboard remain the same while the strategies shifted for two teams from McKendree University leading the Carhartt College Wild Card presented by Bass Pro Shops. The tournament concludes Friday on Lake Barkley.

Remaining in first place after two days are Trent Robinson and Jordan Ledbetter with an overall weight of 28 pounds, 11 ounces. Within striking distance are classmates Phillip Germagliotti and Shane Campbell with 28-1.

“We have an early bite and the late start hurt us,” Campbell said. “Hopefully it won’t happen again tomorrow.”

The late start affected everyone, especially teams making long runs from the launch site at Lick Creek Recreation Area. Fishing time was cut short for everyone due to a nearly 2-hour fog delay that postponed the official start time of 5:30 a.m.

Robinson and Ledbetter faired better because they are fishing closer to the launch site. Today’s catch weighing 13-10 keeps them in the lead by the slim margin of 10 ounces.

“Probably what hurt us more was the current generation,” Robinson said. “The moving water seemed to pull the bigger fish out into deeper water.”

That’s not uncommon when fishing along shoreline cover during summertime. Moving water created by hydroelectric power generation stimulates baitfish activity. In turn, the bass move deeper to feed.

Robinson and Ledbetter returned to the same area Thursday. They chose not to gamble in search of a more productive pattern for a reason.

“Fishing deep water isn’t our specialty,” Ledbetter said. “We just don’t have the confidence to go there so it makes more sense for us to stick to our strengths.”

The persistence paid off with the Livingston Lures Day 2 Leader Award worth $500.

“We are fishing shallow but there is nothing special about the stretch of water where we are staying,” Ledbetter said. “There is so much water here that it makes more sense to us to find a confidence area, stay there and fish hard.”

Friday’s matchup of the top 20 teams concludes with a new challenge. The collegiate anglers will be joined by 50 pros competing in the Second Chance Tournament of BASSfest.

The top 13 teams in the final standings are invited to the 2015 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops. The championship is July 9-11 at Lake DuBay on the Wisconsin River. The top 20 teams from the Wild Card are invited to compete at the championship.

An online feed of the live weigh-in, angler blog entries, photo galleries and more are available at Bassmaster.com.