College: Wallace State takes Day 2

Conditions changed once again at Lay Lake as the full field of teams battled to not only take the top spot, but also to make the cut and fish on the final day.
Josh Butts and Reid Connor of Wallace State-Hanceville took the lead on Friday during the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Wild Card presented by Bass Pro Shops after bringing 15 pounds, 3 ounces, to the scales. Their two-day total is 29-14.
After the heavy rains earlier in the week, the generation schedule at Lay has created a lot of current on the Coosa River, thus bringing a lot of dirty water and heavy current into the fishery. Butts and Connor found themselves in second place Thursday, but after Alabama Power slowed the generation, they jumped into the top spot heading into the final day.
“We’ve been fishing a current break all week, and one big key has been baitfish,” Butts said. “They are pulled in there all day, but the bass seem to school up in the morning and feed heavy for 30 minutes or so before they disperse out deep.”
Butts and Connor had a limit in less than 45 minutes Friday and elevated their weight from 14-11 to 15-3 with efficiency being one big factor.
“We lost some fish on Thursday during the key time of the morning,” Connor said. “But today we landed everything and capitalized on the best part of the day.”
During three-day events, managing fish is a task sometimes. Deciding when to leave, stay or change your rotation is a tough task, but Connor and Butts have tried to make their best area last for three days. Their hope is another 14- to 15-pound bag of spotted bass will show up on the final day.
“After that big flurry in the morning, we can occasionally catch one that will cull for us,” Butts said. “Our other game plan has been to run south of our area and flip for a good largemouth bite. We got one on Thursday, but didn’t need one today.”
Right behind Wallace State in second place is the team of Hunter Louden and Cully Scroggins from Bethel University. They brought 15-2 to the scales to elevate from 11th into the runner-up position.
They have focused on spotted bass primarily, but have caught an occasional largemouth that has helped the cause. Fishing rock and current have been big players for much of the Top 21 and that isn’t any different for Louden and Scroggins.
“We only got six keeper bites on Thursday, and we got five in the boat,” Louden said. “I’m not sure why, but they were on fire this morning. We caught a quick limit and culled three or four times.”
While the leaders have focused on a reaction bite, Louden and Scroggins have worked slower moving baits through the water column to trigger their fish. After missing the National Championship cut by one spot and a few ounces at Cherokee Lake, they are certainly pleased to be well inside the cut with just one day left in the event.
Now their sights are set on a possible Bassmaster College Series victory.
JP Kimbrough and Jared Rascoe, the Day 1 leaders from Louisiana State University-Shreveport, fell to third place after a brutally slow day. After landing four keepers in the first two hours, the duo didn’t fill their limit until 1:30 p.m. with just one hour left to fish.
Their 9-pound limit has them 3-13 behind the leaders, but certainly in striking distance heading into the final day.
Kimbrough and Rascoe did major damage Thursday because of an early boat draw as their morning bite is crucial to their success. They headed out in the last flight Friday and it showed by their lack of a kicker. Leaving the dock in third place has them confident they can land a few bonus fish before the sun beats down.
Nolan Minor and Casey Lanier of West Virginia University hold down the fourth spot with 25-12, and Austin Mize and Parker Davis of the University of North Alabama round out the Top 5 with 25-7.
The 127-boat field was cut to the Top 21 after Friday’s weigh-in, and they will battle it outSaturday for a Top 18 National Championship berth.
The final day takeoff will happen at Beeswax Landing at 5:30 a.m. CT, and weigh-in will begin on the University of Montevallo’s campus (75 College Dr. Montevallo, Ala. 35115) at approximately 3 p.m.

The event is hosted by Discover Shelby County and the University of Montevallo Presidential Outdoors Scholarship Program.