While baseball, softball, track and field and spring football dominate the college sports spring discussions and newspaper headlines, there’s another group of college athletes out claiming championships.
On March 14, 36 teams representing nine state colleges and universities dueled it out with rods and reels in the B.A.S.S. Nation Louisiana College Championship on Caney Lake in Jackson Parish.
In the end, it was the Louisiana-Monroe’s Jacob Andrews and Connor Nimrod who had it in the bag, or should we say “two bags.”
As the pair came to the weigh in, they started a buzz when they asked for two weigh-in bags, and when asked why they needed two, Andrews said, “Because our fish won’t all fit into one.”
He was correct. Andrews and Nimrod brought in a five-fish limit — four fish in one bag and one in the other. The total weight was 29.88 pounds. That second bag held the big fish of the day, an 11-pounder.
“We started off fishing grass, and Connor even caught one on the first cast of the day. We had a limit of 3-pounders pretty quickly, but we couldn’t get a big bite,” Andrews said. “We had marked some fish on the beds the day before, and the sun was out, so we tried them. We did that the rest of the day.”
That included catching the 11-pound whopper.
Landing the big fish
“We saw it on the bed, but it moved off,” Andrews said. “We went on down the bank for about 10 minutes and came back to her. She was locked on that bed. We threw up in there and she bit right away, but she broke off. It sounds like a fish story, but we missed that fish four times. Finally, Connor hooked it on a spinning rod with a 3-inch Mega Bass Spark Shad swimbait. He fought that fish for 7 to 8 minutes, and we couldn’t use a landing net. I was shaking the whole time. I knew it would come down to me lipping that huge bass. I got a good hold on her, and then I acted like I dropped her. Connor almost passed out. But then we got her in the boat and whooped and hollered. It was pretty exciting. And we knew it was ‘game over’ for the tournament. We didn’t think anybody would beat us then.”
Teammates Wesley Banks and Luke O’Neal were second with 21.60 pounds, and LSU’s Taylor Knowles and Hunter Walker brought in 19.88, including a 9.27-pound kicker for third place. Louisiana Tech’s Landon Meyer and Cooper Arthur were fourth with 18.99.
Teams from Louisiana-Lafayette, McNeese, Northwestern State, Southeastern Louisiana, LSU-Shreveport and Nicholls State also competed.
The win qualified Nimrod and Andrews for the B.A.S.S. Nation National Championships in June at a lake to be determined.