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Bass Fishing Team Sends Students to National Championships

Angler duo Patrick Durand and Ben Schultes qualify with an 11th place finish

Two anglers from the ESF bass fishing team will be headed to the FLW National Championships later this summer.

Strong winds created 3 to 6-foot waves on Cayuga Lake during the recent YETI/FLW Eastern Conference Collegiate Qualifier making the conditions difficult for the teams. Ten students from the ESF bass fishing team participated in the qualifier.

Despite inclement weather, angler duo sophomores Patrick Durand and Ben Schultes finished 11th overall with a five bass limit weighing 12 pounds, 11 ounces. Because another team finished in the top 10 that had already qualified, the final spot went to Schultes and Durand. A duo from Adrian College finished first overall with a bag weighing 20 pounds. 2 ounces.

Below are the complete results for ESF's teams along with their fishing strategies (patterns) for the day.

Patrick Durand and Ben Schultes
Place: 11th
Weight: 12 pounds, 11 ounces (five fish)
Pattern: With the heaving waves Durand and Schultes decided to stick to the north end of the lake for much of tournament day. There they fished Yamamoto Senkos in and around grass beds and fished PB&J-colored finesse worms around docks. Fish activity seemed to peak for them fairly late in the day. This was the second collegiate tournament they have fished in.

Caleb Konrad and Tyler Hodges
Place: 54th
Weight: 3 pounds, 10 ounces (two fish)
Pattern: Konrad and Hodges primarily focused their attention midway down the lake. There they fished humps and points in 10 to 15 feet of water. Their weapons of choice were 1/4 ounce to 1/2 ounce drop shots. They also threw spinnerbaits in shallow weeds in the Union Springs area. A dead battery and broken livewell hose caused them to miss the first hour and a half of tournament time. This was Hodges's first collegiate tournament. Konrad, a Brooklyn, New York native, is a collegiate fishing veteran.

Peter Denton and Austin Lamica
Place: 58th
Weight: 3 pounds, 2 ounces (two fish)
Pattern: Denton and Lamica fished the north section of the lake in an attempt to stay out of the wind. The key areas for them included deep boat channels that held cooler water and docks. They employed spinnerbaits and drop shots with 6-inch floating worms to pick apart the aforementioned areas. They caught plenty of pickerel but only two bass. This was their first collegiate tournament.

Mitch Natalizio and Nico Echevarria
Place: 68th
Weight: 0 pounds, 0 ounces
Pattern: Natalizio and Echevarria focused on docks and weed edges midway down the lake. They pitched various jigs around this cover in search of bass. A rogue wave smashed their trolling motor into a dock and disabled it, making fishing in the large waves all the more difficult. A shortage of gas also caused them to end their day a little early. It was Natalizio's second collegiate tournament with ESF and Echeverria's first.

Cole Hartman and Chris Cramer
Place: 76th
Weight: 0 pounds, 0 ounces
Pattern: Hartman and Cramer also fished midway down the lake. They fished drop shots, Senkos and dragged 10-inch Berkley Powerbait Power Worms in deeper water. The collegiate fishing veterans had a tough time getting bites. This was their third tournament with ESF.

The entire team will be back in action at the FLW Northern Qualifier, Sept. 8, in Sandusky, Ohio.