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2006 Toyota Wins Cole Sands and Conner Dimauro College Series Bonus Bucks

Bryan College’s Cole Sands and Conner Dimauro led the 2019 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship for two days but ultimately fell to second place when competition concluded. While they narrowly missed winning the tournament, the Bryan Lions did win $500 from Toyota Bonus Bucks College Series.

Sands, who recently graduated with a degree in Business Administration drives a 2006 Toyota 4Runner to tow his 18-foot aluminum Tracker to lakes all around the country for college fishing competition.

“I’ve got about 210,000 thousand miles on that beast right now,” Sands said with a smile. “But she’s got another 200K in her I’d say… easily.”

Both Sands and Dimauro were praising of the old 4Runner, saying it was reliable as it is spacious. They pointed out how much gear they had packed in the mid sized SUV and said the enclosed vehicle was an advantage.
“Heck we’ve both slept in that car for fishing tournaments before,” said Dimauro, a junior studying Business Marketing. “We bunked at the boat ramp for a couple nights on Lake Seminole for an FLW college tournament earlier this year.”

Towing with the Toyota 4Runner has been a well thought out decision, not only for the qualities mentioned above, but more so to ensure they are eligible for the College Series segment of the Bonus Bucks contingency program.

“What’s not to love about Bonus Bucks,” Sands asked. “Any year tow vehicle qualifies you for the college program, which is awesome, and the extra winnings go a long way to pay for any expenses our school doesn’t cover. We’ve won Bonus Bucks in five or six events this year alone and that money has helped out a lot.”

Sands and Dimauro weren’t taking much time to celebrate their impressive 2nd place finish amongst the nations best college anglers. Instead, they were heading back to the house to pack for a drive to Kentucky Lake, so they could both serve as boat captains for their younger brothers in the Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Championship.

Taking time to support the next generation and give back to the sport they love proves that while they fell just short of hoisting the 1st place trophies, there is no doubt these two left the Dayton Boat Dock as champions in living life right.

To learn more, or to get registered for Toyota Bonus Bucks College Series, follow this link: https://www.toyotatrucksbonusbucks.com/college . Just like the official Bonus Bucks program anglers don’t need to win an event, they just have to be the highest finishing registered participant. If you’d rather call than click, give (918) 742-6424 a call and they’ll be happy to help you out.

Teigen Solves Changing Mississippi River for Bassmaster Central Open Win

LA CROSSE, Wis. — The Mississippi River delivered two surprises to Devin Teigen, who won the Basspro.com Bassmaster Central Open with a three-day total weight of 43 pounds, 3 ounces. The most significant delivery was the opportunity for the Nelson, Wis., angler to hold a first-place trophy in the first B.A.S.S. event he ever fished.

Wisconsin angler Devin Teigen wins the 2019 Basspro.com Bassmaster Central Open on the Mississippi River out of La Crosse, Wis., with a three-day total weight of 43 pounds, 3 ounces. Photo by Andy Crawford/B.A.S.S.

“It feels like a dream; can somebody pinch me?” Teigen said. “I never saw this coming.”

En route to claiming the win, Teigen had to reckon with changing river conditions that required a new game plan. After several weeks of high water, the Mississippi lost about 3 1/2 feet since the weekend prior to the tournament. This repositioned fish and shook up several of the patterns that had been working in the higher conditions.

“A week and a half ago, I felt pretty good with smallmouth stuff — until I saw the forecast for the river dropping,” he said. “The first day, I was going to run it and see what happened and I literally caught five smallmouth before 7:30. Luckily, four were good ones.”

Day 2, the river proved less generous and, with no fish in his livewell at 11 o’clock, Teigen shifted gears to a largemouth pattern — throwing frogs into shallow vegetation. Quickly securing three keepers in Pool 7, he returned to Pool 8 and finished his limit.

“I ran that pattern today and caught 15 keepers,” Teigen said. “They were all good quality fish. I only weighed one fish because the first four that I flipped into the boat, I thought they were all over 3 pounds.”

Teigen caught his winning fish on a Spro Bronzeye frog. He threw frogs with white, yellow and darker bellies, with the lighter baits producing most of his bites. Teigen fished a 7-6 heavy rod with braided line.

Teigen placed ninth on Day 1 with 13-15 and held that same spot a day later by adding 12-7. Adding 16-13 — the tournament’s heaviest bag — on Day 3 sealed the deal. Admittedly, a big loss earlier in the day had Teigen concerned he may have seen his opportunity wither.

“I started the day with three frog rods on my deck and after two hours, I had one left,” he said. “I messed up the reel on one and with the second one, I threw into a little pocket in the duck weed, the fish boiled on it one time and I could see it was a good one, so I threw back in there.

“He smoked the frog and when I gave it to him, my rod blew up in three places. It broke right at the reel seat, so I had no way to fight the fish. I tried pulling it in with my hand and it came off.”

Fortunately, Teigen amassed enough weight to secure the victory and a $39,600 prize by an 11-ounce margin.

Mike Brueggen of La Crosse, Wis., finished second with 42-8. He placed 15th on Day 1 with a limit of 13-9 and rose to fourth the next day by adding 14-15. Capping his performance with 14 pounds pushed him up two more spots.

Brueggen caught his bass on a 1/4-ounce white swim jig with a boot-tail trailer and a variety of topwater frogs. The week’s changing conditions pulled the fish out of more accessible areas, but Brueggen said he still had to mind his stealth.

“I had to stay away, cast far and get them to react to the moving bait,” he said. “I spooled the reel every time. Speed was key, but it’s hard not to tight-line them when they bite, so it was kind of a fine line.”

After leading for two days, Wes Logan of Springville, Ala., finished third with 42-4. After catching his fish on a 5/8-ounce Dirty Jigs Scott Canterbury Flipping Jig, Logan switched to a frog today when he realized his big-fish bait was unproductive.

“When I got bit today, it was a 2-pounder instead of a 3- or 4-pounder like the last two days,” he said. “I knew I probably couldn’t win the tournament on a frog, but I had to make sure I didn’t fall on my face. I thought I could catch some 2-pounders and I finally caught five.”

Kenta Kimura of Osaka, Japan, won the Phoenix Boats Big Bass honors with a 5-8.

Fernando, Lobato of Sparta, Wis., won the co-angler division with 20-8. His daily weights of 7-1, 6-11 and 6-12 earned him a $19,800 first prize.

“I think the key was that I practiced for this tournament by watching were I saw the pros practicing,” Lobato said. “I would go fish right behind them and try to figure out how to get bites behind them.

“I found a couple of baits that would get those extra bites. I fished a Zoom Speed Craw on the back of a 1/4-ounce swim jig and on a Carolina rig. I think that smaller profile was key.”

Thaddaeus Vettrus of Chippewa Falls, Wis., won the Phoenix Boats Big Bass lead among co-anglers with a 4-4.

The event was hosted by Explorelacrosse.com

2019 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Title Sponsor: Basspro.com

2019 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2019 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Premier Sponsors: Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha, Abu Garcia, Berkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Talon

2019 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Supporting Sponsors: Bass Pro Shops, Lowrance, Mossy Oak Fishing, T-H Marine, Carhartt

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 510,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For more than 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, BassPro.com Bassmaster Opens Series, TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

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Media Contact: Bryan Brasher, bbrasher@bassmaster.com. | Mandy Pascal, mpascal@bassmaster.com, 205-313-0955

2019 Basspro.com Bassmaster  Central Open Mississippi River 8/1-8/3
Mississippi River, La Crosse  WI.
(BOATER) Standings Day 3Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

1.  Devin Teigen           Nelson, WI              15  43-03  200  $39,600.00
Day 1: 5   13-15     Day 2: 5   12-07     Day 3: 5   16-13
2.  Mike Brueggen          La Crosse, WI           15  42-08  199  $21,300.00
Day 1: 5   13-09     Day 2: 5   14-15     Day 3: 5   14-00
3.  Wes Logan              Springville, AL         15  42-04  198  $13,200.00
Day 1: 5   16-10     Day 2: 5   15-03     Day 3: 5   10-07
4.  Daisuke Aoki           Minamitsurugun Yamanash 15  42-03  197  $11,880.00
Day 1: 5   14-07     Day 2: 5   12-15     Day 3: 5   14-13
5.  Cody Bird              Granbury, TX            15  41-01  196  $10,560.00
Day 1: 5   13-07     Day 2: 5   13-07     Day 3: 5   14-03
6.  John Engler            Vinton, IA              15  40-03  195   $9,240.00
Day 1: 5   12-12     Day 2: 5   16-00     Day 3: 5   11-07
7.  Kyle Dorsett           Odenville, AL           15  38-02  194   $8,580.00
Day 1: 5   14-09     Day 2: 5   14-10     Day 3: 5   08-15
8.  Joseph Hardy           Hewitt, TX              15  37-11  193   $7,920.00
Day 1: 5   12-15     Day 2: 5   13-01     Day 3: 5   11-11
9.  Colby Cotterill        Houston, TX             15  37-04  192   $6,600.00
Day 1: 5   14-08     Day 2: 5   12-04     Day 3: 5   10-08
10. Steven Caldwell        Whitesboro, TX          15  36-06  191   $5,280.00
Day 1: 5   11-08     Day 2: 5   14-04     Day 3: 5   10-10
11. Chandler Stewart       Spring Branch, TX       14  34-15  190   $4,620.00
Day 1: 5   12-12     Day 2: 5   13-02     Day 3: 4   09-01
12. Jeff Ritter            Prairie Du Chien, WI    10  27-00  189   $4,960.00
Day 1: 5   12-15     Day 2: 5   14-01     Day 3: 0   00-00
———————————————————————–
PHOENIX BOATS BIG BASS
Kenta Kimura             Osaka JAPAN         05-08        $750.00
———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1       115       792      1713-07
2       101       700      1535-01
3        10        54       132-08
———————————-
226      1546      3381-00

2019 Basspro.com Bassmaster  Central Open Mississippi River 8/1-8/3
Mississippi River, La Crosse  WI.
(NON_BOATER) Standings Day 3

Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

1.  Fernando Lobato        Sparta, WI               9  20-08  200  $19,800.00
Day 1: 3   07-01     Day 2: 3   06-11     Day 3: 3   06-12
2.  Jeffrey Bauer          Merrillan, WI            9  20-07  199   $4,620.00
Day 1: 3   06-07     Day 2: 3   06-09     Day 3: 3   07-07
3.  Josh Crededio          Chicago, IL              9  20-01  198   $3,960.00
Day 1: 3   07-07     Day 2: 3   06-09     Day 3: 3   06-01
4.  Edmund Remian          Schiller Park, IL        8  19-13  197   $2,640.00
Day 1: 2   05-06     Day 2: 3   07-06     Day 3: 3   07-01
5.  Benny Stutzman         Caledonia, MN            9  19-12  196   $2,508.00
Day 1: 3   06-05     Day 2: 3   07-08     Day 3: 3   05-15
6.  Rick Parker            Kaufman, TX              9  19-11  195   $2,626.00
Day 1: 3   07-02     Day 2: 3   06-13     Day 3: 3   05-12
7.  Ovee Marginean         Glenview, IL             9  19-04  194   $2,244.00
Day 1: 3   06-01     Day 2: 3   06-15     Day 3: 3   06-04
8.  John Goebel            Lumberton, TX            8  19-03  193   $2,112.00
Day 1: 3   07-10     Day 2: 3   06-06     Day 3: 2   05-03
9.  Kayden Tanner          Millsap, TX              8  17-05  192   $1,980.00
Day 1: 3   06-05     Day 2: 3   06-09     Day 3: 2   04-07
10. Richard Conrad         Arcadia, WI              8  16-13  191   $1,998.00
Day 1: 3   06-09     Day 2: 3   06-08     Day 3: 2   03-12
11. Lancia Kitabatake      Ota-Ku JAPAN             7  15-03  190   $1,716.00
Day 1: 3   05-07     Day 2: 3   08-03     Day 3: 1   01-09
12. Fritz Lubinski         Rochester, MN            6  13-01  189   $1,584.00
Day 1: 3   06-15     Day 2: 3   06-02     Day 3: 0   00-00
———————————————————————–
PHOENIX BOATS BIG BASS
Thaddaeus Vettrus        Chippewa Falls, WI  04-04        $250.00
———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1        60       339       676-12
2        66       309       631-08
3         7        28        60-03
———————————-
133       676      1368-07

Bethel University Makes Final-Day Charge To Win Bassmaster College National Championship

DAYTON, Tenn. — Carter McNeil and Cole Floyd of Bethel University were stuck in second place for the first two days of the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops.

Carter McNeil and Cole Floyd of Bethel University win the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops at Lake Chickamauga out of Dayton, Tenn., with a total of 59 pounds, 11 ounces. Photo by Dalton Tumblin/B.A.S.S.

But during Saturday’s final round, they seized the spotlight and scored a come-from-behind victory on Lake Chickamauga.

McNeil and Floyd caught a five-bass limit Saturday that weighed 16 pounds, 3 ounces. That was their lightest bag of the week by nearly 5 pounds, but it gave them a 59-11 total, which was enough to sneak past Bryan College’s Cole Sands and Conner Dimauro for the title.

Sands and Dimauro led the first two days before slipping into second place with weights of 14-4 Saturday and 58-8 for the tournament.

McNeil and Floyd, who won a regular-season event on Arkansas’ Bull Shoals Lake earlier this year, collected $5,000 for the Bethel fishing team with the victory at Chickamauga, including $2,500 from B.A.S.S. and $2,500 from Carhartt. The Top 12 teams split a total purse of $24,000.

The victors jumped into the title fray with 22-6 Thursday, followed by a 21-2 limit a day later. While those weights positioned them for a shot at a championship, it was a spot on Chickamauga they didn’t fish until Saturday morning that proved to be the difference between winners and runners-up.

“If we don’t stop there this morning, we probably don’t win,” Floyd said. “Just the way it was laid out was good. It was the same depth we had been fishing (about 6 to 8 feet), but there was current there that came into play. There was grass. That place was the highlight of the tournament.”

McNeil and Floyd located their newfound water late Friday and headed their first thing Saturday. They quickly boated five keeper bass, using a Texas-rigged Zoom Ol’ Monster in plum and tequila sunrise colors.
They said those same worms were effective Thursday. But on Friday, a white and chartreuse spinnerbait was what the bass were biting.

McNeil said being in second place until the final weigh-in took the pressure off him and Floyd.

“Sometimes it’s easier being in second,” McNeil said. “You sleep a little better at night. You know you have nothing to lose.”

For Sands and Dimauro, however, second place was a disappointing end to what had been a phenomenal first two days.

The tandem from Bryan College, located in Dayton just a few blocks from Lake Chickamauga, jumped to the lead Thursday with a tournament-best bag of 24-9. They followed with a limit of 19-11 a day later, but their Saturday weight slipped like most of the 12 teams who made the cut.

The Bryan duo was gracious in defeat.

“It’s been an awesome week, but (McNeil and Floyd) deserve this,” Sands told the crowd gathered at Saturday’s weigh-in.

“A big shout out to those guys,” Dimauro added. “If we’re going to lose to anyone, it’s gonna’ be those guys. They’re the best in the game.”

The victory capped a fantastic week for Bethel, which is located in McKenzie, Tenn., about 250 miles west of Dayton.

McNeil and Floyd’s victory marked consecutive years that Bethel anglers won the College Series national title. Cody Huff and Garrett Enders won in 2018, and they finished third this week at Chickamauga with a three-day total of 55-2.

Also, Bethel’s KJ Queen and Dax Ewart were announced as winners of the Series’ Team of the Year for finishing first in the 2019 points standings.

The Top 4 teams in the championship (eight anglers in all) advanced to the Bassmaster College Classic Bracket event, which will be held Aug. 27-29 at Watts Bar Lake, also in Tennessee. They will compete individually in a head-to-head format with a berth in the 2020 Bassmaster Classic at Alabama’s Lake Guntersville going to the winning angler.

McNeil and Floyd fished in the 2017 Classic Bracket, and Huff and Enders competed in the 2018 event. It will be the first College Classic Bracket for the Sands/Dimauro team, as well as for Tyler Christy and Trey Schroeder of Illinois’ McKendree University, who finished fourth at Chickamauga this week. They were in 12th place heading into the final round, but jumped into the Final Four with an 18-7 limit that was the heaviest of the day.

Michigan State angler Riley Welch, who competed alone in the championship, won the Carhartt Big Bass Award and a $500 gift card for the 9-14 lunker he caught Friday. Sands and Dimauro’s 24-9 limit Thursday earned them the Bass Pro Big Bag Award and a $250 gift certificate.

A total of 116 teams from 62 schools competed in the Championship. Bryan College, the City of Dayton and Fish Dayton hosted the event.

2019 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Title Sponsor: Carhartt

2019 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Presenting Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops

2019 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2019 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Premier Sponsors: Abu Garcia, Berkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Skeeter Boats, Talon, Yamaha

2019 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Supporting Sponsors: Lowrance, Mossy Oak Fishing, TNT Fireworks

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 510,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For more than 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, BassPro.com Bassmaster Opens Series, TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

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Media Contact: Bryan Brasher, 205-313-0903, bbrasher@bassmaster.com | Mandy Pascal 205-313-0955, mpascal@bassmaster.com

2019 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops 8/1-8/3
Lake Chickamauga, Dayton  TN.
(BOATER) Standings Day 3

Angler                                       Club/School                       Pts

1.  Carter McNeil – Cole Floyd                   Bethel University- TN                 0
Day 1: 5   22-06     Day 2: 5   21-02     Day 3: 5   16-03   Total:  15  59-11
2.  Cole Sands – Conner Dimauro                  Bryan College- TN                     0
Day 1: 5   24-09     Day 2: 5   19-11     Day 3: 5   14-04   Total:  15  58-08
3.  Cody Huff – Garrett Enders                   Bethel University                     0
Day 1: 5   18-06     Day 2: 5   18-10     Day 3: 5   18-02   Total:  15  55-02
4.  Tyler Christy – Trey Schroeder               McKendree University- IL              0
Day 1: 5   18-02     Day 2: 5   14-06     Day 3: 5   18-07   Total:  15  50-15
5.  Jordan Hartman – Will Gentry                 Murray State University- KY           0
Day 1: 5   15-15     Day 2: 5   20-14     Day 3: 5   14-00   Total:  15  50-13
6.  Robert Gee – Saxton Long                     University of Tennessee               0
Day 1: 5   19-12     Day 2: 5   15-08     Day 3: 5   14-12   Total:  15  50-00
7.  Noah Boyett – Hunter Hanby                   University of Arkansas- AR            0
Day 1: 5   18-12     Day 2: 5   14-05     Day 3: 4   13-07   Total:  14  46-08
8.  Trevor McKinney – Ethan Jones                McKendree University                  0
Day 1: 5   15-07     Day 2: 5   17-09     Day 3: 5   13-00   Total:  15  46-00
9.  Will Andrie – Gaige Blanton                  Kansas State University- KS           0
Day 1: 5   14-08     Day 2: 5   19-02     Day 3: 5   11-01   Total:  15  44-11
10. Dalton Combs – Jack Rankin                   Drury University- MO                  0
Day 1: 5   15-05     Day 2: 5   22-11     Day 3: 3   06-10   Total:  13  44-10
11. Jarrett Brown – Elliot Torode                University of Montevallo              0
Day 1: 5   19-14     Day 2: 4   14-15     Day 3: 2   08-03   Total:  11  43-00
12. Perry Marvin – Cantley Krafft                Virginia Tech University              0
Day 1: 5   15-10     Day 2: 5   18-07     Day 3: 3   07-02   Total:  13  41-03
———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1        60       434      1185-03
2        53       400      1127-15
3         8        52       155-03
———————————-
121       886      2468-05

Drury University’s Smith and Breeden seek Five Bites and Toyota Bonus Bucks

Cameron Smith and Cole Breeden of Drury University only brought three bass to the scales on day one of the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship, but they weighed an impressive 13-lbs and 13-ounces which kept them in the hunt, sitting in 34th place.

Their 3-fish bag included one Chickamauga giant that tipped the scales at nearly 8-lbs. The big bass came off a spot that produced another behemoth for the duo in practice. It was obvious their optimism was running high when talking to them after Thursday’s opening round of competition.

“We are definitely around the right kind of fish,” Breeden said excitedly. “We just need to fish clean tomorrow and get five of them in the boat. If we can do that, we have the chance to weigh in one of those limits Lake Chickamauga is famous for.”

Smith and Breeden will be hunting those five bites today, in hopes their efforts will land them within the top 12 teams so they can keep their championship dreams alive and fish on Saturday. The native Missourians qualified for this event by finishing 4th in the first College Series regional on Lake Norman back in February.

Not only did their Lake Norman finish get them in the National Championship, it also won them $150 from the Toyota Bonus Bucks College Series. Toyota launched the college portion of the popular contingency program back in 2016 and it’s been rewarding thankful college anglers competing in numerous college fishing trails with bonus money ever since.

Similar to the “official” Bonus Bucks program, College Series is paid out to the highest placing registered participant in Carhartt Bassmaster College Series tournaments. So you don’t have to win an event to get paid, you just have to finish in the top 50% of the field and place higher than other Bonus Bucks registered anglers.

The main difference is college anglers are eligible for the program if they tow their boat with ANY year Toyota tow vehicle. Also for the College Series, the vehicle can be in the angler’s parent(s)’ or legal guardian’s name.

Such is the case for Smith, a junior studying Biology, who’s Dad graciously lets him borrow his Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition. It’s not lost on the two Drury University Panthers how fortunate they are to be able to drive to their college tournaments in comfort and style.

“It’s hard not to love driving this Tundra,” Smith said. “It tows super well, has a ton of room inside for all our gear, and is just a super comfortable ride. Whether it was our 13-hour drive to Lake Norman or the 584 miles we drove to Lake Chickamauga, it has been great.”
If you are a current or future collegiate angler using a Toyota tow vehicle to drive to your tournaments, you’re leaving money on the table if you aren’t registered for Bonus Bucks. Follow this link to get yourself registered for FREE: https://www.toyotatrucksbonusbucks.com/college/registration or give (918) 742-6424 a call and ask for Kendell or Chip.

Cole Sands: Aluminum Boat and an MBA

Cole Sands and Conner Dimauro took the lead at the Carhartt Bassmaster College Championship with a 24-pound limit that included a 7 pound 15 ounce Chickamauga green piggy.

Sands already has two major college victories to his credit on “The Chick” – so his success Thursday is no great surprise, but his decision to fish from a smaller, slower, aluminum boat compared to his competitors, is worthy of an eyebrow raise.

Add the fact he’s just 22, and already working on a Masters in Business Administration degree, and Cole Sands quickly becomes a long tall lanky version of everything that is mega-impressive about college bass fishing.

“The fact Cole chose to self-report a rules violation back in late April on Day 2 at Bull Shoals to surrender his Day 1 lead, says everything you need to know about the character of Cole Sands,” says Hank Weldon, Director of College B.A.S.S. “He represents himself and college bass fishing in exactly the way we hope every angler will,” adds Weldon.

Local hard-core anglers around “The Chick” speak highly of Sands too, including BassQuest YouTube channel founder, Caleb Bell. “The crazy thing about Cole and his brother Corbin is how fast they locate fish. They’re absolutely among the most naturally gifted anglers I’ve ever known, and they’re great Christian guys on top of being incredible anglers,” says Bell.

By all accounts Sands seems as exceptional as the boat he and partner Conner Dimauro used to take the tournament lead. It’s an 18-foot aluminum Tracker with a 150 HP outboard that runs at least 10 mph slower than most of the boats in the field, but Sands says running a smaller ‘tin’ boat has several advantages. “You get more boat for your money when you buy aluminum, plus you get better fuel economy, and you’re less recognizable when you’re out there on your best fishing spots,” he grins.

That’s pretty mature logic for a guy just 22 years of age, who actually struggled to appreciate Tennessee at age 10 when his family moved here from his Alaska birthplace, mostly because it didn’t feel nearly as wild and free as The Last Frontier vibe of America’s 49th state. “I was pretty frustrated at first, but then I got involved in a junior bass fishing club, and it literally changed my life,” Sands says gratefully.

Sands admits he’s sharply focused on being a professional angler someday, but only after finishing his education at Bryan College on the shores of Lake Chickamauga. “I love college fishing. I love the team format and the teamwork. And I can work as a graduate assistant and get my MBA for free, so it only makes sense to enjoy the next several months here, before trying to fish for a living,” he concludes.

Faith, family, academics, and a superior talent for catching bass. That’s the mighty impressive young life of the tall, lanky Bryan College angler in the aluminum boat, who by all accounts may very well be one of competitive bass fishing’s next big things.

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