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WADDINGTON, N.Y. — Steady rains soaked competitors today in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series at St. Lawrence River ... but the foul weather hardly affected what has become a record-setting event.
Logan Parks and Lucas Lindsay of Auburn (Ala.) University lead the slugfest with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 49 pounds, 2 ounces. The Tigers caught a five-bass limit Thursday that weighed 23-13, which was an outstanding compliment to the 25-5 limit they boated Wednesday.
The ability to catch big bass has been key to the leaders’ success so far. Parks boated a 6-5 smallmouth today, after landing the tournament’s biggest bass so far — a 6-7 smallie he caught Wednesday.
“Lucas is usually the ‘Big Fish Guy,’” Parks said with a laugh. “So the roles have switched a little bit. They like me more this week.”
Parks and Lindsay knew they were in good shape when they had a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds in the livewell less than an hour after take-off today. Parks caught the giant smallmouth at about 9:30 a.m., and that fish vaulted them from fifth place into the lead.
Lindsay said he’s not worried about finding a few more big bass. After all, the St. Lawrence has been extremely generous to anglers this week. Bass have been so plentiful that the Auburn team was able to find their entire catch in areas they had not scouted prior to today.
Many other teams are also catching heavy limits of bass, which is keeping the pressure on the leaders as they enter the final round Friday. The field was cut to 12 teams after the Day 2 weigh-in, and the remaining dozen teams should encounter much more agreeable weather than the wind, rain and chill they experienced today.
Brian Linder and Nathan Thompson of Minnesota’s Bemidji State University are in second place with a two-day total of 48-13. Thursday’s weather seemingly scuttled their spot of choice, so Linder and Thompson covered a lot of water, and expect to do so again Friday.
“Today, we went to our first spot and only caught one fish,” Linder said. “We switched it up and went to another place, but we only caught two there. Then we went to ‘new water,’ and things started happening. We caught a 5-5 and a 4 1/2-pound fish.”
“We have a few spots we’re going to hit that have had fish on them, but we’ll have to find new fish again tomorrow,” Thompson said. “I think we’ll find them. It’s unbelievable how well this place has fished the past couple days.”
Jackson Carrell and Bryton Kurtz of Sam Houston State University in Texas dropped from second to third with a two-day weight of 48-2. Day 1 leaders Nolan Minor and Casey Lanier of West Virginia University are in fourth with 48-1, and Jack Hippe and Chase Serafin of Michigan’s Adrian College are fifth, also with 48-1 overall.
Other teams surviving the cut are: Shane Nelson and Brayden Federer, Adrian College, sixth, 47-4; Ben Seaman and Dante Piraino, Clarkson University (NY), seventh, 47-1; Nick Ratliffe and Bradley Dunagan, Campbellsville (Kent.) University, eighth, 46-10; John Garrett and Kyle Palmer, Bethel University (Tenn.), ninth, 45-9; Lucas Murphy and Mitchell Gunn, Grand Valley State University (Mich.), 10th 45-5; Perry Marvin and Cantley Krafft, Virginia Tech, 11th, 45-0; and Tanner Ward and Rory Franks, Kent Sate (Ohio), 12th, 44-15.
After weighing a whopping 3,031 pounds, 3 ounces of bass Wednesday on the St. Lawrence River, the 149 tandems combined to haul 2,425-3 to the scales Thursday. That was the third-highest one-day cumulative weight in Bassmaster College Series history.
The highest total, of course, came Wednesday when the combined catch was nearly 600 pounds heavier than the previous one-day college series record of 2,439-1. That mark was set on the first day of the tournament at Arkansas’ Bull Shoals Lake in April.
There were 199 boats entered at Bull Shoals — 50 more than are fishing in upstate New York this week.
Parks and Lindsay maintain the tournament lead for the Carhartt Big Bass Award for the 6-7 smallmouth caught Wednesday. Minor and Lanier still lead for the Nitro Big Bag Award after posting a 26-6 limit Wednesday.
The St. Lawrence event is the fourth and final regular-season tournament of the 2019 Bassmaster College Series. The Top 10 percent of teams from each of the four tournaments will advance to the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship scheduled for Aug. 1-3 on Chickamauga Lake in Tennessee.
Teams also can qualify for the championship through their individual state tournaments or by finishing in the Top 25 of the Team of the Year standings.
Friday’s take-off is scheduled for 5:30 a.m. at Whittaker Park in Waddington. The final weigh-in moves to Clarkson University in nearby Potsdam and will begin at 2:30 p.m.