Jacob Wall from the University of Oregon bass fishing team took home the honors of the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Western Regional presented by Bass Pro Shops on Lake Mead with a three-day total of 42 pounds — and he did it without benefit of a partner in the team tournament.
His 16-pound, 13-ounce limit in the final round propelled him to the top of the standings and gave him the win by 1 pound, 2 ounces.
While the rest of the colleges and universities represented in the Western Regional fielded two-angler teams, Wall fished solo. Except for a stroke of luck, he very nearly was out of the tournament before it began.
Wall suffered engine problems during the opening round on Saturday that threatened to sideline him, but a local angler came to his rescue and happened to have with him the very spare parts Wall needed. The repair job completed, Wall fished in the vicinity of the takeoff location and managed to catch 12 pounds, 6 ounces and that put him in third place.
Wall relied on multiple baits throughout the week, but a wacky-rigged 5-inch Gary Yamamoto Senko in pro blue was key throughout the week. He fished the setup early in the morning when the bass were roaming the middepth area and feeding on slow moving baits.
“Those fish were feeding every morning, but they were feeding on the bottom,” Wall said. “You couldn’t (find them) in the bushes — the best morning bite was just a little deeper.”
Fishing solo this week and without a big motor on Day 1 allowed him to explore different water depths because he had to rotate through the same creek for most of the day. Doing so showed him that bass were moving into certain areas and how they were affected by the changing angle and intensity of the sun.
“I realized a lot of the big fish were pulling up really tight to the cover with the sunny skies,” Wall said. “They were using every inch of shade they could find, and I was able to follow the fish as they moved shallower throughout the day.”
Wall’s monumental final day gave him the win and also made him the first angler to win a Carhartt Bassmaster College Series event as a solo competitor. With the win, he also took home the $250 Livingston Lures Leader award.
Travis Bounds and Andrew Loberg of Chico State made a run at the title as they rose from fourth place to fall just short of the win with a three-day total of 40-14. Bounds and Loberg claimed both the Nitro Big Bag of the tournament and also the Carhartt Big Bass award with their 17-7 final day limit. Their 6-7 Lake Mead brute took big fish honors and bested the previous big bass by more than 2 pounds. The team took home $500 for the Carhartt Big Bass and $250 for the Nitro Big Bag award.
That big bite came early on the final day and it gave them momentum that they carried throughout the final frame.
“It was thrilling catching that fish here because we haven’t seen a bass that big all week,” Loberg said. “We had two in the boat already, and I was casting a shaky head to a secondary point when the fish just started swimming with it.”
Bounds and Loberg are familiar with clear fisheries like Mead so they knew that no matter what weather changes they were presented with that they could possibly adjust.
“We’ve dealt with clear water before because we’ve fished lakes like Havasu and some of the California fisheries,” Loberg said. “We know how those clear water fish change based on the given weather conditions so we were pretty confident we could adapt.”
Gunnar Stanton and Gunner Campbell of Northern Arizona University fell to third with a three-day total of 40-1.
“I’m excited that we get to head to the National Championship, but I’m disappointed we slipped up,” Stanton said. “It’s my home lake, so I felt like we should’ve won it. But it was so impressive how Jacob won it. Congrats to him for pulling it off.”
Stanton and Campbell struggled to catch their limit in the early morning stages in the first two rounds, but on the final day the duo put a limit in the boat by 9 a.m. They relied on a weightless Senko, which they would throw into the patches of tules (reeds). Campbell also found success from the back of the boat by dragging a drop shot around shallow Lake Mead cover.
The Top 10 teams qualify for the Carhartt Bassmaster College National Championship. In addition to the Top 3 teams, qualifiers include Josh Worth and Kennedy Kinkade of Colorado Mesa, Tanner Mort and Austin Turpin of Idaho, Adam Deakin and Alex Stuart of Colorado State, Alex Robbins and Rudy Director of Humboldt State, Cy Floyd and Kyle Sittman of Eastern Washington, Travis McGuire and Layne Bynum of Texas Tech and Zachary Martinez and Joseph Billmaier of Oregon State.
2016 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Title Sponsor: Carhartt
2016 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Presenting Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
2016 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota
2016 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Premier Sponsors: Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha, Berkley, GoPro, Huk, Humminbird
2016 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Supporting Sponsors: Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Power-Pole, Rapala, Shell Rotella, Shimano, ABU Garcia, A.R.E. Truck Caps, Costa, Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels
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Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Western
4/2/2016 – 4/4/2016
Lake Mead – Calville Bay Marina – Henderson, NV
STANDINGS BOATER DAY 3
Today’s Activity Accumulative
Name # Fish # Live Lbs – Oz # Fish # Live Lbs – Oz
1 Jacob Wall – Dalton Taylor University of Oregon 5 5 16-13 15 15 42- 0
2 Travis Bounds – Andrew Loberg Chico State 5 5 17- 7 15 15 40-14
3 Gunnar Stanton – Gunner Campbell Northern Arizona University 5 5 13- 3 15 15 40- 1
4 Josh Worth – Kennedy Kinkade Colorado Mesa University 5 5 11- 3 15 15 37- 5
5 Tanner Mort – Austin Turpin University of Idaho 5 5 14-11 15 15 36-10
6 Adam Deakin – Alex Stuart Colorado State University 5 5 10-11 14 14 33- 5
7 Alex Robbins – Rudy Directo Humboldt State 5 5 11- 4 14 14 30-12
8 Cy Floyd – Kyle Sittman Eastern Washington University 5 5 10- 2 14 14 27-12
9 Travis McGuire – Layne Bynum Texas Tech University 5 5 9- 5 15 15 26- 8
10 Zachary Martinez – Joseph Billmaier Oregon State University 3 3 4-13 8 8 16- 5
11 Jessie Bass – William Hutchinson New Mexico State University 3 3 5-15 8 6 15-10
12 Joseph Smith – Donald Peters Texas Tech University 2 2 3-10 8 8 13-13
13 Justin Hettinga – Nicholas DiCamillo New Mexico State University 2 2 3- 7 6 6 10- 9
14 Michael Woods – Chas Brannon Chico State 2 2 3-12 5 5 9-15
15 Mike Harpell – Mitchell Rosandich Colorado State University 1 1 1- 4 2 2 3-11
16 Johan Eide – Alec Pitts Cal Poly 1 1 1-10
BIG BASS TOTALS
Day Name City,State Lbs-Oz Day # Fish # Live Lbs-Oz # Limits
1 Gunnar Stanton – Gunner Campbell Boulder City, NV 4- 6 1 59 58 130- 3 6
3 Travis Bounds – Andrew Loberg Roseville, CA 6- 7 3 58 58 137- 8 9