Lance Freeman and Chandler Christian of Murray State University maintained the top spot after the second day of the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Midwestern Regional presented by Bass Pro Shops on Clinton Lake with a two-day total of 37 pounds, 1 ounce.
The teammates caught 17-13 on a tougher Friday on Clinton Lake and have a 6-ounce lead over their nearest competitor. The second round of this college fishing event is normally considered moving day, and as a result the leaderboard experiences a shuffle as teams look to string two consistent days of fishing together. True to form, several teams vaulted up the standings, but none could overtake Murray State.
“A big advantage for us tomorrow is that we actually have the ability to run around and fish different areas that haven’t been pressured,” Freeman said. “With 93 teams cut to 20, the lake will be less pressured, so we may have free reign for our pattern.”
Friday’s fishing was a little slower for the duo as they had to sift through nonkeepers for much of the morning to slowly upgrade their weight. They caught four bass by 8:30 a.m., and at 10 a.m., they left to let their area rest. Once they returned they caught one of their biggest fish of the day.
“I definitely feel that fishing offshore is an advantage for us because I don’t think a lot of people do it up here,” Christian said. “We actually feel at home this week because we are fishing like we would back at Kentucky Lake.”
Normally, fishing offshore structure is better with sunny skies and the last two days have proved that for Murray State. Championship Saturday, on the other hand, has thunderstorms and cloudy conditions in the forecast, but you couldn’t tell that based on the duo’s confidence.
“If you lose confidence, you’re out of the game already,” Freeman said.
The second-place team of Andrew Mlotek and Calvin Vang of the Universtiy of Wisconsin-Whitewater brought the biggest bag of the tournament to the scales on Friday and closed the gap. Their 19-15 weight gave them an almost 3-pound cushion over third place.
Mlotek and Vang utilized moving baits on Friday as they adjusted their presentation to catch the highly pressured fish on Clinton. Heading into the final day they know adjusting will be crucial as they feel like they have burned through some of their areas and caught too many fish. Championship Saturday brings a new set of conditions and possibly more fish to their primary areas.
“We saw some contenders catch a couple fish in our area that we were saving for tomorrow,” Mlotek said. “I think the weather is going to make us switch up our plan, but I definitely will be happy with a limit tomorrow. It’s going to be a grind for us.”
The biggest factor for Mlotek and Vang hasn’t been a specific bait or a specific area, but rather timing and decision making as they negotiate the fine line between catching as much as possible while trying to manage their areas.
The 93-boat field was cut to the Top 20 after Friday’s weigh-in, and those teams will now battle for the Top 14 spots on Saturday’s competition day. The Top 14 spots after Saturday will clinch a berth to the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship.
The final day takeoff will be at the Clinton Lake Marina at 5:30 a.m. CT while the weigh-in will take place at Forsyth Park in Forsyth, Illinois at approximately 2:30 p.m. CT.