Sam Houston State wins College Classic

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Darren Jacobson

HOUSTON— Early this morning, Dillon Harrell and Colby Bryant pulled up on a fishing spot in Lake Houston and stayed nearly all day. The reason? A large school of bass began feeding on shad spawning in the area.

Editor's note: See weigh-in pics.

When it was all over the two anglers from Sam Houston State University came to Houston to show off their catch in the most unlikely of places. Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros. The catch weighed 17 pounds, 5 ounces, and included a largemouth weighing 7-12.

Harrell, 20, of New Caney, Texas, and Bryant, 24 of Houston, weighed the biggest 5-bass limit of the 13 collegiate teams to win the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Classic presented by Bass Pro Shops. The event was held concurrently with the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

“Driving into Minute Maid Park, where we usually come to see the Astros play, was just an awesome experience,” said Harrell, an agribusiness major.

“To stand on the same stage where the Bassmaster Classic will be crowned later today, and do that in our own backyard, is something we’ll remember for the rest of our lives,” added Bryant, who is majoring in animal science.

What they also will remember was the phenomenal morning of fishing on Lake Houston. Initially, the action was so fast and furious they were unable to set the hook on a bass.

“The bass were feeding so aggressively and so amped up on the shad spawn they were just slapping at our baits,” said Harrell. 

After each loosing 5-pound largemouth the anglers settled down and started the catching.

That happened on two similar topwater frogs made by Spro. Those were the Dean Rojas Bronzeye Poppin’ Frog and the Bronzeye Frog. 

The fishing area featured a sharp channel bend bordered by a large field of lily pads. Depth ranged from 3 to 8 feet. The spawn was underway on the shallow side and the bass came from deep water to feed upon the bait.

Bryant caught the big bass on a black 1/2-ounce Santone Lures Piglet Shaky Head. To that he rigged a 6-inch Xcite Slim X worm. The strike occurred as Bryant dragged the rig through laydowns along a steep dropoff from 1 to 8 feet.

Trevor McKinney and Dailus Richardson, of McKendree University, took second place with 13-15. Coincidentally, the two anglers were the 2016 B.A.S.S high school champions. 

Wyatt Frankens and Alec Castonguay, of Stephen F. Austin State University, took third place with 13-5. Fourth place was Trent Newman and Zackery Hines of Dallas Baptist University, with 11-11. Joshua Bensema and Bradley Fleming rounded out the Top five with 9-10. They represented Texas A&M University.