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Bass Pro Shops Top Gear – Lake Hartwell

San Antonio, TX – The 2023 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops saw 181 of college fishing’s top teams compete for two days on Lake Hartwell in Anderson, SC. Almost every team in the event weighed in fish, along with several limits over 20 pounds. Two of the Top 3 teams in the final tournament standings weighed in one bag over 20 pounds during competition. In this write-up, we will break down the gear and baits each of the Top 3 teams used to catch their fish.

Tucker Smith and Hayden Marbut from 2nd ranked Auburn University won the event with a two-day total of 35.24 pounds. On Day 1, Smith & Marbut brought 21.06 pounds of Lake Hartwell bass to the scales, with their biggest bass going 5.78 pounds. Though their weight dipped significantly on Day 2, their limit for 14.18 pounds was enough for them to best 2nd place by just under two pounds.

“We focused on brush piles and points where the herring were spawning. There was more action in those places,” noted Tucker Smith, Auburn University angler. While focusing on brush piles and points where the herring were spawning, the Auburn anglers utilized a combination of drop shots, jigs, and topwaters to catch their fish.

Finishing the event in 2nd place were Drake Hemby and Ewing Minor from 3rd ranked Carson-Newman University. The duo was in 2nd place after Day 1 of tournament competition with 19.46 pounds. On Day 2, they too had a bit of a drop off in weight but managed to wrangle up 14.01 pounds and maintain their 2nd place position.

Hemby & Minor were running a herring spawn pattern on long clay points using forward-facing sonar to locate groups of fish. “We caught all of our fish on a Zoom Fluke on Seaguar 10 lb. Smackdown to an 8 lb. Tatsu leader,” said Drake Hemby, Carson-Newman angler. “Later on in the day, we targeted cane piles in 10-30 ft.”

Rounding out the Top 3 are Tyler Campbell and Parker Guy from 8th ranked Emmanuel College. After weighing in just 11.61 pounds on Day 1 and finding themselves in 33rd, Campbell and Guy brought 20.89 pounds of bass to the scales at Green Pond Landing on Day 2 to jump 30 places and finish in 3rd overall out of the close to 200 boat field. Like the other two top teams, the Emmanuel College anglers were focusing on the herring spawn along shallow points, as well as targeting offshore brush.

Here is a look at the gear Tyler used during the event:

Rod: FX Custom Rods Xtreme Angler Series 7′ 3” Heavy Fast

Reel: Shimano Metanium XG

Line: Sunline FC Sniper 16 lb.

Bait: Zoom Fluke in Pearl and 100 Swimbait Co. 10g

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