Wildcats conquer the Mississippi

LA CROSSE, Wis. -- The biggest bag of the week propelled Northern Michigan University to victory on the Mississippi River, crowning Justin Brown and Brandon Bissell Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Midwestern Regional Champions. With Bass Pro Shops presenting the event, it was only fitting that the Bass Pro Nitro Big Bag for the tournament sealed the deal for the NMU Wildcats.

The Wildcats brought in 44 pounds, 3 ounces over the course of three days, their final day weight accounted for 15-8 of that. Brown and Bissell frogged their way to victory, throwing hollow-bodied frogs around shallow vegetation in both Minnesota and Wisconsin waters along the Mississippi River.

“It was a tough day for us,” Brown said. “We didn’t get near as many bites today, but we were fishing for big fish so it worked out pretty great.”

Along with their win, Brown and Bissell advance along with the remainder of the top 13 teams to the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops. The event will be held on Lake DuBay in Stevens Point, Wis., in July.

“Lake DuBay is a tough smallmouth fishery, and we have a lot of tough smallmouth fisheries in Michigan so we’re looking forward to it,” Bissell said.

Bissell also took a moment to thank his grandparents.

“If any of you out there are grandparents, you have more influence on your grandchildren’s lives than you have any idea. I had a lot of truck troubles before heading up here. Funding was going to be a little short and we weren’t going to be able to make the tournament. If it wasn’t for Grandma Rudd and Grandpa and Grandma Riddle I wouldn’t be here, and look where we’re at now. Thank you so much, love you guys.”

Brown and Bissell bumped Day 2 leaders Cade Laufenberg and Wyatt Stout of Winona State University down one spot. Laufenberg and Stout finished the event in second place with a 3-day total of 41-2.

Austin Brimeyer and Anthony Riesberg of the University of Dubuque rounded out the top 3 with 39-8.

Troy Switajewski and Daniel Carlson of St. Cloud State took the Carhartt Big Bass honors with their 4-6 kicker from Day 2.

For a complete list of results or for more information on the upcoming National Championship, please visit Bassmaster.com.