FLW College Fishing - Western
Western Conference Championship (Aug. 30-Sept.. 1, 2012)
OREM, Utah – They slipped a little in overall productivity, but the CSU-Long Beach team of Justin Gangel and Alex Cox put together one of the better sacks of day two and took over the lead in the FLW National Guard College Fishing Series Western Conference Championship on Utah Lake.
Understandably guarded in their details, the leaders did note that they've dialed in their attack to one particular bait, which shall remain anonymous until the event's conclusion. Cox said that although they have tried a few other things, the key bait was one that he identified prior to day one.
"When I came to practice on Wednesday, I looked at some of my (tackle) and said 'This would be perfect for that,'" Cox said. "It's what I use in this city park back home and it worked here. We shook off a lot of bites in prefish and when (day one) came around, we both caught good fish on it. We have an order that came in to our hotel and we have six more packs of this bait. We're pretty confident in it."
The pond to which Cox referred sits in Long Beach's El Dorado Park. A short walk from his home, the pond's tule cover resembles the vast stands of reeds flanking long stretches of Utah Lake's shoreline. Capitalizing on this familiarity, the guys from "The Beach" sacked up four bass for 5 pounds, 14 ounces and tallied a two-day total of 14-3.
Gangel said that today's productivity was geographically isolated. "We stayed in one stretch of bank the entire day. We just went back and forth and grinded it out because we knew the fish were there; we just had to get the bites.
"I found this spot when we came out to prefish about two weeks ago and put it in the back pocket. We had some other spots we wanted to hit first. When practice came, I said 'I want to leave my good spots and check out my secondary, in case the (primary spots) don't work out we have something to do. We went there and we were shaking off bites left and right and we thought this might be better than what we were going to do originally. On the first day, we went to our first spot and it didn't work out so we went to (the secondary spot) and did pretty good so we stayed in there."
The leaders again spent their day in the lake's south and. Gangel said that the key to their success was getting away from crowded and over-worked water. None of the event's 20 teams caught limits today and Gangel said his team came close to bagging No. 5 several times. In tomorrow's final round of five teams, limits may be a little more realistic.
"We had about four fish that were about ¼-inch too short," he said. "It would have helped a little bit, but we'll have to see tomorrow how key that was. We're hoping we get five tomorrow. I think we have five more bites waiting for us."
Chico State slips to second
Chico State's Anthony Dayton and Nick Carrico led day one with the event's heaviest bag, and the only double-digit weight – 10-5. Day two brought a reversal of fortune, as the teammates joked with the weigh-in crowd by jointly lifting their lone fish from their bag. Today's fish went 2-1 and gave them a second-place weight of 12-6.
"I think the difference today was that our spot from yesterday got hammered by everybody," Carrico said. "It's basically a community hole and a lot of it was fished out. A few fish came off there early, but unfortunately, it wasn't us. But tomorrow, I think it could change because there will be a lot less pressure. Everybody was catching one or two fish out of that spot and those fish could go our way and we could come back with another 10-pound bag."
Dayton caught the team's lone day-two fish while flipping reeds with a modified mop jig. To affect the smaller presentation that he and Carrico found effective on day one, Dayton trimmed the mop jig's skirt to a short, bristly profile and used a Zoom Brush Hog that he had shortened.
"I didn't even feel the bite; I just saw the line moving," he said. "He just picked it up and we got that one."
Carrico said that yielding the lead was not their plan, however his team is taking the whole scene in perspective and planning accordingly for day three. "Our goal was top-5 and that's going to happen so we're happy. We're going to have to change up our game plan (for day three) because our spots were hit pretty hard."
Big bag lifts Arizona State to third
"We made a little move today and made sure we weren't fishing busy water that other people had been fishing the day before and in practice," Karseboom said. "We had a couple of spots in our pocket and we ended up making it happen today."
Fletcher said that he and his partner figured out a particular bait that worked for flipping in the reeds. Much of the lake's vegetation stands in shallow water, but they've located areas with deeper water and they're positioning their boat close to the reeds and varying their presentations with one angler pitching deep into the vegetation, while the other works the outer edge.
Oregon State holds at fourth
Oregon State University's Zach McDonald and Ryan Sparks have been the most consistent team, however, they're hoping to break out on day three. Days one and two saw them weighing just two fish, but both bags held a pair of quality Utah Lake Bass. Their two daily weights of 5-6 and 5-4 give them a total weight of 10-10 for a fourth-place spot they've held both days.
"We would like to have weighed a lot more, but we've been fortunate enough to get the bites we're getting in the boat," MacDonald said. "We're fishing where everyone else is fishing. We're just getting lucky."
Downsizing baits and weights on their Texas-rigged flipping packages was the critical adjustment, Sparks explained.
"We went out and bought some small, compact soft plastics," he said. "We had small baits, but we didn't think they would work. We thought that with the (murky) water quality, you'd want to go bigger just so they can see it. But right when I switched to something smaller I got a bite. I lost that one, but right after that, I got another one."
Sam Sayad and Chris Rhoden, of UC Santa Cruz caught four fish that weighed 6-4 on day two. Added to the first day's weight of 2-13, this effort increased their tally to 9-1 and raised them from eighth place to fifth. The anglers found their fish in the Jordan River at Utah Lake's north end.
"The difference today was the cloud cover and our spot replenished; we got some bigger fish in there," Rhoden said. "Yesterday, we had a lot of (undersized) fish, but today, we had cloud cover and the bigger fish were feeding."
Flipping reeds, the UC Santa Cruz anglers caught all of their day-two fish between 8:30 and 10:30 a.m.
Best of the rest
Rounding out the top-10 leaders at the Northern College Regional Championship:
6th: Joe Won and Shaun Maki, of Humboldt State University, 8-12
7th: Derrick Hicks and Jen Edgar, of Humboldt State University, 6-13
8th: Russell Behlings and Aaron Warner of Utah Valley, 6-8
9th: John Zeolla and Kyle Greenlaw, of Cal Poly, 6-4
10th: Keane Velez and Benjamin Robey, of Colorado State University, 4-15
Day three of FLW National Guard College Fishing Series Western Regional action continues at Friday’s takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7:00 a.m. (Mountain Time) at Utah Lake State Park, located at 4400 West Center Street in Provo, UT.