From BASS reports
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Oklahoma State’s Zack Birge and Blake Flurry needed only two hours on the Arkansas River Wednesday to practically assure themselves a spot in Friday’s Top 5 Final of the Carhartt Bassmaster College National Championship.
On a day when temperatures hit 102 degrees and there was little current in the river, Birge and Flurry caught a five-bass limit weighing 17 pounds, 4 ounces.
“We caught all five on a frog in one foot of water,” said Flurry. “By about 8:15, 8:30, we were shut down.”
Only one other team in the 57-team field totaled double digits Wednesday. Murray State’s Justin Graben and Vincent Campisano are in second place with 12-10.
The tournament moves Thursday to Lake Maumelle. The two-day totals will determine the Top 5 for Friday on an as yet unnamed “mystery lake.” The previous weights will be zeroed before Friday’s competition to determine the National Championship team.
A Bassmaster Classic berth will be decided among the top four teams after Friday, when they will be bracketed in individual competition. The top two individuals after Saturday will go head-to-head Sunday to determine the Classic berth.
Both Birge and Flurry would feel like they had an advantage over the pros in the 2013 Classic, which will be held in Oklahoma on Grand Lake next February.
“February is when you catch the big ones at Grand,” Flurry said.
Both OSU anglers are going into their senior year in college. Birge is majoring in wind turbine technology; Flurry’s major is crop soil science.
But both hope to be bass fishing professionally after graduation.
“That’s the No. 1 goal,” Birge said. “That degree is probably third on the list.”
“Guiding,” Birge said. “If that doesn’t work out, I’ll probably fall back on that degree.”