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Tennessee Tech Wins Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Classic Exhibition

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Matt Allen, left, and Caden Watson of Tennessee Tech University won Sunday's Carhartt Bassmaster Classic College exhibition on Lake Hudson with four bass that weighed 18 pounds, 1 ounce. - Photo by Darren Jacobson/B.A.S.S. Matt Allen, left, and Caden Watson of Tennessee Tech University won Sunday's Carhartt Bassmaster Classic College exhibition on Lake Hudson with four bass that weighed 18 pounds, 1 ounce. - Photo by Darren Jacobson/B.A.S.S.

TULSA, Okla. — Matt Allen and Caden Watson overcame a major handicap while scoring a runaway win at the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops.
 
Allen and Watson, students at Tennessee Technological University, caught four bass weighing 18 pounds, 1 ounce, in the one-day exhibition tournament held on Lake Hudson.
 
Matt McArdle and Josh Bensema of Texas A&M teamed up for second place with a catch of four bass weighing 14-5. Colten Hutson and Easton Ramsey of the University of Central Oklahoma earned third place with two bass weighing 5-12. The weights for the remaining eight teams were in the single digits.
 
Allen and Watson drove 10 hours from the campus in Cookeville, Tenn., to eastern Oklahoma to practice for the tournament. That plan went bust not long after they launched the boat.
 
Just after idling from the boat ramp, their boat struck a rock and bent the prop shaft of the outboard motor. They were unable to repair the engine before the tournament.
 
“We just spent the day practicing around the boat ramp,” said Allen, 23, a marketing and production operations management major. “Looking back, it was probably good after seeing the other weights.”
 
It wasn’t a bad idea at all. Allen boated a keeper within minutes of the tournament start time and as other boats left the launch site. The team focused on two areas within sight of the boat ramp.
 
The Tennesseans concentrated on a long stretch of rocky shoreline used for erosion prevention. The shoreline gradually sloped from 7 to 12 feet with the best fishing on the deepest side.
 
When the action slowed, they moved to a shallow cove adjacent to the main river channel. They suspect the bass used the deeper edge of the cove to stage before moving shallow to spawn.
 
“We fished it a couple of times on the practice day and bass were moving up from the deeper water,” said Allen.
 
Allen and Watson used a 1-ounce Zorro Baits Rattlin’ Aggravator Spinnerbait. The lure featured a white and chartreuse skirt with a No. 7 Colorado blade. 
 
“The breakdown was actually good since it forced us to find bass near the ramp and fish longer in the same area,” said Watson, 19, a civil engineering major.
 
College Classic anglers took the same stage at the BOK Center in Tulsa as the anglers fishing the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro. The College Classic weigh-in was the opening act for the final Classic weigh-in.
 
Top college anglers were selected to compete in the seventh annual exhibition tournament. Last year’s College Classic winners, Andrew Helms and Zander Monk of the University of North Carolina Charlotte, received an automatic invitation. So did Bensema and McArdle of Texas A&M, the reigning B.A.S.S. collegiate national champions. Top anglers from last year’s High School Classic now enrolled in college and several schools from the host state of Oklahoma were also invited.
 
Allen and Watson received an automatic invitation to compete in the event next year.

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