(Jul 12, 2015 - STEVENS POINT, WI.)
Soon after Texas A&M University’s bass fishing team was crowned champions in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops, the top finalists went back to work Sunday in a quest for another trophy.
The “Elite 8” anglers from the Top 4 teams competed as individuals in the first round of bracket format fishing for an invitation to compete in the 2016 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Allstate.
Four survived their head-to-head matchups — coincidentally, one from each team.
Winning their bouts and moving on to Monday’s second round were Josh Bensema of Texas A&M, Jake Whitaker of UNC Charlotte, Trevor Lo of the University of Minnesota and Tyler Rivet from Nicholls State University.
For the Classic Bracket competition, the college anglers moved from Lake DuBay, site of the team championship, to the Wisconsin River Flowage. The change of scenery produced better fishing, as well; five of the eight anglers weighed in three-fish limits.
Following are results from the first bracket round.
Josh Bensema (Texas A&M), 5-7 vs. Andrew Helms (UNC Charlotte), 4-15
This was the closest matchup of the first round as both anglers brought three-fish limits to the scales. It pitted Josh Bensema of the 2015 National Champions against a member of the 2014 National Championship team, Andrew Helms of UNC Charlotte.
Bensema said he thought he would be eliminated after losing three good bass earlier in the day.
“My day started great, and I had a limit by 8:30 a.m.,” Bensema said. “I went looking for big fish after I had an early limit and I found them, but I lost every big fish I hooked. I lost three big fish and I figured I wouldn’t move on.”
Bensema will face Tyler Rivet from Nicholls State University in Round 2 on Monday.
Tyler Rivet (Nicholls State), 4-14 vs. Chris Burgan (Minnesota), 1-7
Tyler Rivet had the first limit of the day as the Louisiana angler capitalized on a morning bite that carried him into Monday’s semi-finals. Burgan searched for largemouth but couldn’t find any and had to settle for one keeper size smallmouth.
Rivet, who will fish against Bensema Monday, said he’s worried that his opponent had found bigger bass.
“Bensema said he was losing big fish so I’m definitely going to need better quality if I want to contend,” Rivet said. “Both of my best spots are morning areas so I need to choose wisely on where I go first.”
Jake Whitaker (UNC Charlotte), 6-13 vs. Matthew McArdle (Texas A&M), 3-15
Like the Bensema-Helms battle, this matchup pitted members of the 2014 ande 2015 championship teams. Jake Whitaker of UNC Charlotte was eliminated in the first round of bracket fishing last year, but he prevailed over Matthew McArdle of Texas A&M after weighing a 6-13 limit. McArdle lost a big bass with about an hour left in his day and believes that hurt his chances to advance.
Whitaker said he caught plenty of bass early Sunday, but most of them were too small to keep. “I didn’t have my limit until just after 10 a.m.,” he said. “I made a small adjustment and started to catch better quality fish later in the afternoon. I’m confident in my game plan heading into Monday’s semi-final.”
Whitaker opponent in the semifinal round will be Trevor Lo of the University of Minnesota.
Trevor Lo (Minnesota), 7-1 vs. Allyson Marcel (Nicholls State), 1-11
Lo brought one of the five limits to the scales and managed to eliminate Allyson Marcel, the first female angler to make the Classic Bracket. Marcel, competing for Nicholls State University of Louisiana, mustered up one bass weighing 1-11 on Sunday and was eliminated.
Bolstering Lo’s bag was a 3-pound, 2-ounce smallmouth, which also garnered the Carhartt Big Bass for the Classic Bracket segment.
“Today was basically my first day of practice on this lake for me,” Lo said. “I checked out Google Earth on Saturday night and tried to find areas that looked like they could hold fish and then I developed a pattern throughout the day.”
“It’s humbling to know that all the anglers who competed this week were the best in the nation,” he said. “Words can’t explain how I feel right now and there are so many emotions going through my mind.”
Lo takes on Whitaker for Monday’s semifinal round.
The final four anglers will take off from Bukolt Park at 6 a.m. Monday. Weigh-in will begin around 2:15 p.m. at Bukolt Park.
The Carhartt Big Bass award will be given to the individual angler who weighs the biggest bass during the Classic Bracket competition. For their efforts, a $500 Carhartt gift card will be awarded. Trevor Lo’s 3-2 smallmouth holds that mark heading into Monday’s competition.
Fans can follow all the action on Bassmaster.com. Features like the live weigh-in, live blog, leaderboard, photo galleries, articles, BASScam videos and much more.
2015 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Title Sponsor: Carhartt
2015 Bass Bassmaster College Series Presenting Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
2015 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Official Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, GoPro, Humminbird, Mercury, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha
2015 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Supporting Partners: A.R.E. Accessories, Dick Cepek Tires, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Power-Pole, Rigid Industries, Shimano
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The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series presented by Allstate, Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation events, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Costa Bassmaster High School Series presented by TNT Fireworks, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.
Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Presented by Bass Pro Shops
7/12/2015 - 7/14/
STANDINGS BOATER DAY 1
Name # Fish # Live Lbs - Oz # Fish # Live Lbs - Oz
Josh Bensema - Texas A&M University 3 3 5- 7 3 3 5- 7
Andrew Helms - UNC Charlotte 3 3 4-15 3 3 4-15
Chris Burgan - University of Minnesota 1 1 1- 7 1 1 1- 7
Tyler Rivet - Nicholls State University 3 3 4-14 3 3 4-14
Trevor Lo - University of Minnesota 3 3 7- 1 3 3 7- 1
Allyson Marcel - Nicholls State University 1 1 1-11 1 1 1-11
Jake Whitaker - UNC Charlotte 3 3 6-13 3 3 6-13
Matthew Mcardle - Texas A&M University 2 2 3-15 2 2 3-15