St. Lawrence River Slugfest – Carhartt Bassmaster College Tournament #4

If you have never had the opportunity to fish the St. Lawrence River, this is a place to put on your bucket list. It is one of the most outstanding fisheries I’ve ever fished. If you like bass fishing – small or largemouth – this is the place. Kyle and I made the 16-hour drive competing in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Championship June 19th -21st. The tournament was a slugfest to say the least. Many anglers were catching their biggest small bass ever. It was pretty common to see everyone’s bag with a limit of 5 each weighing four pounds or better.

The St. Lawrence River was crystal clear and the bass were spawning which allowed everyone to weigh in heavy bags. On day one we were in 26th place with 23.6 pounds, but we were under the cut line of the elite twelve by only a little over a pound.

Going into the second day the weather conditions changed to steady rain and cooler temperatures throughout the day. I felt this might give us an advantage, plus on day one we were in the last flight out so we would be one of the first on the river starting day two. Down South it rains during the spring, and you just have to deal with it if you’re going fishing. Keeping focused and taking advantage of every bit was the mind set. At the end of the day most of the teams had experienced a little drop off from day one. We had to overtake fourteen teams and hold off the rest of the field to make it into the top twelve. For day two we posted a weight of 22.3 pounds, putting us in third place for a short time. We knew third wasn’t going to hold up, but we felt it could keep us in the top 12. It turned out to be a long, wet couple of hours until the last few minutes before the last of the leaders weighed in … and we made it!

We went from 26th place to 9th place. Fishing on the final day is what every team shoots for. This was the final event of the regular-season college tournaments for 2019 and the last opportunity to punch a qualifying spot qualifying into the 2019 Carhartt Bassmaster College National Championship held in August.

On day three all 12 teams had the river pretty much to ourselves, but most of the bass had been caught and moved out of the beds. 149 teams had been fishing for two days so lots of bass had been taken off spawning beds and spots fished out.

We had four bass in the tank early, all weighing around 4 pounds, but we needed something in the five-pound range to take the lead. All day we were culling by a few ounces and sweating each tick of the clock knowing time was running out. It was pressure packed day!

Bassmaster really makes a production out of weigh-in on the final day. Each team is brought up to the stage riding in their own boat, allowing us to take each fish out of the tank while everyone is watching. Friends, family members, teammates, coaches…everyone is watching. As Kyle and I stepped out of my Skeeter FX21 onto the main stage for the final weigh-in results we both were doing math in our heads of just what we needed to take over the hot seat. It seemed like it took forever for our active bass to settle down before the official weight was locked in and recorded. Twenty-one pounds and eight ounces – that’s what the announcer called out – for three-day total of 67.1! Good, but not enough to unseat the leaders.

Only a few teams remained to weigh in after us. We ended up in 6th place AND we qualified for the prestigious 2019 Carhartt Bassmaster College Championship held on Lake Chickamauga in Dayton, Tennessee, August 1-3, 2019. As they say, it’s not over yet….we live another day to fish for a National Championship. I won the 2016 Bassmaster College Classic Bracket my sophomore year and would love to finish my senior year in style as the 2019 Champion. That would certainly kick start my professional career.