Lucas Murphy and Mitchell Gunn of Grand Valley State University win the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series at Smith Lake presented by Bass Pro Shops out of Cullman, Ala., with a three-day total of 52 pounds, 7 ounces. Photo by Chris Mitchell/B.A.S.S.
CULLMAN, Ala. — When the Smith Lake bass began transitioning into spawning stage earlier this week, many of the teams competing in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series tournament presented by Bass Pro Shops switched their fishing tactics hoping to keep pace.
Lucas Murphy and Mitchell Gunn of Michigan’s Grand Valley State University, however, stuck to their original plan, which was to throw swimbaits underneath docks hoping to land prespawn spotted bass.
It was a risky move, especially as the weather steadily grew warmer and bass headed for the shorelines to spawn. But Murphy and Gunn were consistent through all three days of the tournament, and that was enough to win on this 21,000-acre fishery here in north central Alabama.
The duo caught 15 bass in three days for a total weight of 52 pounds, 7 ounces. They were in second place heading into Saturday’s final day of fishing, but an 18-2 limit vaulted them past Day 2 leaders JT Russell and Porter James of the University of Montevallo, which is located about 90 minutes south of Smith Lake.
Photo courtesy B.A.S.S. James Overstreet
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — For decades, it seemed almost impossible for an angler to win the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods in his home state.
Now it’s happened four times in six years.
Tennessee pro Ott DeFoe, who makes his home in Knoxville, caught five bass Sunday from the Tennessee River that weighed 18 pounds, 14 ounces to win the Super Bowl of Bass Fishing and the $300,000 prize that goes with the iconic trophy.
His three-day total weight of 49-3 helped him slip past second-place angler Jacob Wheeler before a raucous home crowd at the University of Tennessee’s Thompson-Boling Arena.
The world-championship bass tournament drew a record-total attendance of 153,809 to tournament venues, including daily weigh-ins in Thompson-Boling Arena, the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo consumer show presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods in the Knoxville Convention Center and World's Fair Exhibition Hall, and morning takeoffs at Volunteer Landing. Attendance counts, including as many as 6,500 at Saturday’s early-morning takeoff, were provided by officials at each of the venues.
“This is a dream come true — a dream I’ve had since I was a 9-year-old kid,” said DeFoe, who now has six career victories with B.A.S.S. “When we came over here and did the walk-through the day before the tournament, I actually imagined hearing my name after the words ‘Bassmaster Classic champion.’
Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tenn., took the lead on Day 2 of the 2019 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK'S Sporting Goods with a two-day total of 32 pounds, 6 ounces. Photo by Andy Crawford/B.A.S.S.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — During the early portions of practice for the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, Jacob Wheeler discovered a pattern that he knew would put bass in his livewell.
But since it seemed a little too obvious, he spent the latter portions of practice looking for something he thought no one else would find.
He ultimately went back to the obvious — and it has him in position to win the Super Bowl of Bass Fishing.
fter landing 14 pounds, 11 ounces during Friday’s opening round, Wheeler caught five bass Saturday that weighed 17-11 and sprang into first place with a two-day total of 32-6. His five-bass limit Saturday was one of the few weighed in this week that featured all smallmouth.
“I know this crew,” Wheeler said. “I knew they would figure out the same thing I had figured out. Even though there are miles and miles and miles of water, they were going to figure it out.