Western Illinois leads Day 1

Most anglers agreed this morning prior to takeoff in La Crosse, Wisconsin that smallmouth would beat largemouth on the Mississippi River this week. Kit Benson and Wes Lashmett of Western Illinois proved the theory at weigh-in today bringing in two near 4-pound smallmouths, one of those being the Carhartt Big Bass for Day 1 weighing 3-13.

“We caught those two big ones on back-to-back casts,” said Lashmett.

“My hands were shaking and my legs were shaking,” added Benson. “I was so pumped.”

Lashmett and Benson didn’t want to elaborate on what they were doing to catch their fish today, but like most anglers WIU welcomes the storm that is forecasted for tomorrow. Storms pelted this area with rain all through practice. Most teams that didn’t fair well on Day 1 look to get back on track when the conditions are similar to practice tomorrow.

Most of the teams in the top 10 scrambled today to catch their weight in the clear-sky conditions. Those near the top of the leaderboard viewed their bags as attempts at survival and believe the storms will get the fish they found in practice back to biting.

Justin Brown and Brandon Bissell of Northern Michigan University sit just 2 ounces back from the leaders with 14-13 for Day 1.

The full field of 82 boats will return to the Mississippi for Day 2 of competition tomorrow with the field being cut to the top 20 for the third and final day. The top 13 at the end of the event will move on to the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops. Troy Switajewski and Daniel Carlson of St Cloud State sit on the bubble after Day 1 with 12-2.

Day 2 begins at Veterans Freedom Park in La Crosse, Wisconsin with launch slated for 5:30 AM CT. Anglers will return to Veterans Freedom Park for weigh-in at 2:00 PM CT. The Day 2 and 3 weigh-in as well as photos, stories and video from on the water can be viewed on Bassmaster.com.