MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The University of Mississippi’s Ole Miss Fishing Team edged local favorites Auburn University-Montgomery (AUM) to win the College B.A.S.S. East Super Regional with a winning weight of 28 pounds, 5 ounces.
AUM staged a strong runner-up effort, coming from sixth place on Day One with Saturday’s big bag of 16 pounds, 11 ounces to post a final weight of 27-8. The two-day competition wrapped up Saturday on the Alabama River.
Both teams are one step closer to the ultimate win in this collegiate bass fishing league, which is a history-making slot for one angler at the 2012 Bassmaster Classic.
The next step toward earning that goal is the Collegiate B.A.S.S. National Championship, July 7-9 in Little Rock, Ark., where the top teams from three regional competitions will compete in an elimination-format for the Classic berth.
“We had kind of a one-two punch in our strategy,” said Brock Mosley, 22, of Meridian, Miss. “We fished our strengths and mine was power fishing.”
“I was kind of the clean-up guy, mopping up behind him in places where he couldn’t hit with his baits,” added Ole Miss teammate Andy Halford, 23, of Columbus, Miss.
“We had a post-spawn bite with these fish being in transition from the shallow lake back to the river,” noted Mosley, a business marketing major at Ole Miss.
“We left the area yesterday at 9 a.m. with the 12-pound limit, knowing there would be more fish moving out,“ said Halford, a secondary education/social studies major. “Today we had another limit about the same time, including the five-pounder.”
The power-finesse approached involved covering an area the team described as a backwater lake off the Alabama River. The primary casting zone extended from the bank to a four-foot contour line and then dropping into 7 feet, a depth termed by the team as the deepest water in the area.
On the power fishing side of the boat, Mosley applied a chartreuse/black Strike King KVD 2.5 crankbait along the drop offs. With overcast skies much of this morning, he added to the equation a Heddon Super Spook, fishing the topwater classic over submerged cover along the drop off.
Halford’s clean-up bait was a 5/16-ounce Spot Remover shaky-head style jig with a green/pumpkin Zoom Trick Worm. He worked the rig along any wood cover extending from the bank to the deeper water.
The runner-up team from AUM was led by Corey Pierce, 20, of Prattville, Ala., and Henry Foster, 20, of Chelsea, Ala. The team’s post-spawn pattern focused on staging areas used by the outbound fish from shallow water.
The team strategy began each morning with a yellow/black Spro Frog fished atop submerged grass beds. Midmorning sunshine moved the fish to deeper water, forcing a switch to a watermelon/red Texas-rigged Zoom lizard, rigged Texas style with a ¼-ounce weight. Alternatively, they fished a white 3/8-ounce Strike King Kevin VanDam Swim Jig.
“We fished the ends of laydowns and the key was casting to the submerged side of the cover, places we couldn’t see but knew there was structure,” said Pierce, a business management major.
“The key was fishing the jig and worm on the deep side of the cover,” emphasized Foster, a business management major at AUM. “We never got a bite fishing the shallow end, making us believe the fish were on moving, post-spawn action.”
Two remaining events are on schedule leading up to the national championship. Up next is the Collegiate B.A.S.S. West Super Regional, June 2-3 in Russellville, Ark. The regional season wraps up June 27-28 at the North Super Regional in Syracuse, N.Y.