FLW College Fishing - Central
Central Conference Championship (Sept. 6-8, 2012)
CARLYLE, Ill. – It quickly became apparent after day one that blue skies and light wind is not exactly the right combination of conditions to produce limits. Out of the 20 teams that are competing, only seven managed to bring a five-fish limit to the stage. The last team to hit the scales today was the team that now sits in the lead moving into day two.
With two teams representing Eastern Illinois University this week, it is Lee Buehnerkemper and Chase Sanford that brought the top weight of 14 pounds, 8 ounces. After a solid day one, the EIU team will start off day two with a 1-13 lead.
“Today was definitely a rollercoaster,” said Buehnerkemper. “We lost three good fish that would have helped; we might have had 16 or 17 pounds.”
“I have never fished this lake until I qualified for this event,” Buehnerkemper continued. “I managed to fish down here quite a bit over the summer. The bite has gotten a lot better since I was down here, but we got on a different pattern than we had found in practice.”
Despite the size of the lake, it seems as though many of the teams are fishing the same areas.
“This is a unique lake,” chuckled Sanford. “It fishes really small, even with 20 boats out there it seems like everyone has recognized the same pattern. We are fishing near many of the teams, but we figured out something that is a little different.”
Though they were confident coming into today, the team from EIU did not expect the bag they caught.
“We realistically were hoping for 10 to 12 pounds today,” said Buehnerkemper. “But we still have a lot of water to fish yet, our pattern stands out and should be able to hold up. The nice thing is that we have a shallow and a deep pattern going for us.”
Buehnerkemper and Sanford are keeping their baits if choice a secret for now. In a tight tournament like this, every advantage you have on the competition can be the difference.
Eastern Kentucky sits in second
Kyle Raymer and John Smith make up the team from Eastern Kentucky University that hauled in 12 pounds, 11 ounces worth of Carlyle Lake largemouths. That limit of bass is enough to sit the Eastern Kentucky team in second place and still in striking distance of the leaders.
“I made it down a few weeks ago for prefishing and I struggled to catch keepers,” said Raymer. “So with the conditions changing we scrapped what we knew and went to find new fish. We are running the trolling motor on 70 to 100 percent just covering water.”
Smith and Raymer did manage to find a few key areas that are holding fish. They are confident that those spots should hold up, but if not they are not afraid to figure something new out.
Purdue takes third
Representing Purdue University this week are Nicholas Schuetz and Elliott Myers who took third place after day one with a total weight of 11 pounds, 11 ounces. Bringing a limit to the stage was crucial to making it in the top spots today, but it didn’t come easy for Purdue.
“Well today was a lot different than yesterday,” said Myers. “It was a grind out there today. It felt good to get five (fish) though. We picked up a fish just junk fishing about every spot we went to. It’s just one fish here or one there. The wind blew just enough to position the fish in the right places today. Hopefully tomorrow it is lights out for us.”
Purdue has spots that are receiving pressure from other teams in the top 5. They do not seem too concerned about that, but do wonder if those spots can handle that kind of abuse.
Schuetz and Myers have yet to fish certains areas and may be reluctant to do so since the storm yesterday dirtied the water up. They say tomorrow they will shoot for 10 pounds and hope that the storms could help their bite.
Indiana at it again
Dustin Vaal is no stranger to doing well in conference championships, and along with his partner Steven Bressler, they hope to make it to the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship. The team from Indiana University got off to a good start to reach that goal this week when they showed off an 11-pound, 1-ounce limit that puts them in fourth place.
For Vaal, he has had a good feeling since the day he first came to this lake.
“I felt like I had this lake nailed down in pre-practice,” said Vaal. “I caught fish on a crankbait that were just loaded in certain areas with that lower water. Before I came here I heard the lake came up so yesterday I fished areas that looked terrible, mostly because they were too shallow, when I was here the first time. I caught a 6-pounder and stopped fishing around mid-day. After that I just drove around looking for similar areas.
“We should have had 15 or 16 pounds today but we lost five good ones,” Vaal admitted. “It just hurts because it takes three solid days of fishing to do well.”
In fact, Vaal should have been fishing alone since Bressler was supposed to be working. Bressler managed to make it so he could fish and brought a fresh look at this body of water for the team. Bressler tied on a bait that Vaal hadn’t thought about and caught one of their bigger fish early this morning.
The duo covered water today but has yet to fish off the areas they want to.
“We fished probably 20 spots today and ran from the dam to the railroad bridge,” said Vaal. “We still got four spots that we never touched and I know they are holding fish.”
The team did make a note that color seems to play a big factor in bait selection on Carlyle Lake. They also pointed out that there is a window of feeding activity around mid-morning that Vaal has observed every day of practice. And the best thing for Indiana, they have no other fishing pressure on any of their spots.
How do they feel about the chance of storms tomorrow?
“It should be a slugfest,” responded Vaal.
Georgetown holds down fifth
Rounding out the fifth spot was Nick and Mike Huff of Georgetown University with 10 pounds, 7 ounces. They are quick to point out how small the lake fishes, a common thought among the other anglers. Team Huff also points out how different the lake is now compared to when they were out here three weeks ago.
“Today we ended up running water we found a couple weeks ago,” said Mike. “But we really just used today as another practice day trying to figure some new things out.”
Georgetown feels comfortable about what they found out today and believes it can continue to produce fish for them.
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top-10 schools after day one of the Central Conference Championship:
6th: Cade Laufenberg and Sam Schollmeier, of Winona State University, 9-11
7th: Joseph Tischer and Jacob Hicks, of SIU-Edwardsville, 9-3
8th: Chad Branham and Vincent Campisano, of Murray State University, 7-6
9th: Vincent Timperio and Clay Elliott, of Georgetown, 7-2
10th: Ethan Snyder and Matt Salmons, of Eastern Kentucky, 5-11
Anglers will take off from Dam West Boat Ramp located at 801 Lake Road in Carlyle, Ill., at 7 a.m. each morning. Weigh-ins will be at Walmart located at 2591 12th St., in Carlyle, Ill., beginning at 4 p.m. each day. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.