Photo by Kyle Jessie/B.A.S.S.
Tucker Smith and Logan Parks of Auburn University have won the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series at Michigan’s Saginaw Bay presented by Bass Pro Shops.
Auburn University has a very supportive fan base. Whether it is football, basketball or any other organized sport, you can always expect to hear the crowd shout “War Eagle.”
Now they have another winning squad to rally behind. Logan Parks and Tucker Smith of the Auburn University Bass Fishing Team won the final regular-season Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops. The event was on Saginaw Bay in Michigan.
The pair had entered the tournament with the lead in the Team of the Year standings. Then, after finishing the opening round in fifth place, Parks and Smith increased their two-day total to 40 pounds, 9 ounces, with a final-day bag of 19-9. They defeated the second-place team of Zach Salters and Jenson Kay from Adrian College in Michigan by just 3 ounces.
Although Auburn has fielded the successful club sports program since 2007, it did not appear they would be in the running for anything this year. Auburn administrators had suspended the team in March for a year because of violating COVID-19 protocols set forth by the school. The suspension was ultimately reduced to a few weeks.
“I’m happy to be here and happy to be fishing again,” Parks told the media. “When we got suspended, I felt like it was my fault because I was the president of the team and I worked as hard as I could to overturn that suspension — and we were able to. Every event we have been at we’ve dominated. You can tell these boys are ready to fish, and we are happy to be back.”
This was not the first time Smith had been in the spotlight. He won back-to-back titles in the Mossy Oak Bassmaster High School National Championships while attending Briarwood Christian School in Birmingham.
Jake Maddux and Carson Maddux, also from Auburn University, took home the Carhartt Big Bass of the Tournament award. Their catch of a 5-pound, 13-ounce largemouth bass earned them a $500 Carhartt gift card.
The Top 17 duos in Michigan — including four from Auburn — punched their tickets to the 2021 Carhartt College National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops. It will take place on the St. Lawrence River in Waddington, N.Y., Aug. 12-14. The Team of the Year champions will officially be announced during the tournament festivities.
- Although they will not advance to the national finals, the Auburn team includes a pair of local anglers. They are Mitchell Koser from Daphne and Lloyd LaConsay of Robertsdale.
Koser graduated from Daphne High in 2020. He is currently studying biosystems engineering at Auburn.
“I can vividly remember fishing as a young boy from small docks catching bluegill and a bass being a surprise catch,” he told Lagniappe. “Living on the Gulf Coast, as I got older, my interest turned to saltwater and trying to catch bigger fish. I have been fortunate to go on some cool fishing trips for bottom fish, pelagic and inshore species on boats of all sizes.”
All anglers have their favorite fishing stories, including Koser.
“One that typically pops up in my head is when my dad, brother and I got kicked out of the Grand Hotel marina for fishing off the north bulkhead,” he said. “I was probably 8 years old and yelling that a white trout was going to pull me in while the security guard told us we had to leave.”
Once he got into college, he found out about the Auburn University Bass Fishing Team through Instagram. He reached out to them about joining.
“I have always bass fished, in addition to my avid saltwater fishing, and wanted to get plugged in at Auburn and the team was a great way to do that,” he said. “I reached out to members that needed co-anglers and met Sam Hoesley. We had a great time traveling and fishing tons of new lakes in the South.”
He will have to wait another year to try and compete at the nationals.
“I am new to the freshwater tournament scene, but the national championship would be a really cool event to qualify for and fish,” he said. “I feel the team was a very influential part of making my freshman year still a great time even during the pandemic. We made the season work the best we could and had a ton of fun fishing and traveling.”
LaConsay attended McGill-Toolen Catholic High in Mobile. He is majoring in civil engineering at Auburn.
“I’ve been fishing since I can remember in the delta,” he told Lagniappe. When asked how he became a member of the Auburn team, he said, “I paid my dues, found someone with a boat and partnered up with them.”
Although he will not get to compete in New York, he said it was a great season.
“We didn’t qualify for it, but the opportunity to fish for it and to be there would be awesome,” he added.
Younger anglers compete
- The Saraland Junior team of Colby Onderdonk and Dalton Kelly recently finished in second place during the Mossy Oak Bassmaster Junior Series on Lay Lake in Shelby County.
The Mobile County duo combined to catch 9 pounds, 13 ounces. Aiden King and Dillyn Dill of the Shelby County Junior Anglers defended their home lake by winning with 10 pounds, 15 ounces.
With the regular season complete, qualifying teams will set their sights on the 2021 Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster Junior National Championship. It is scheduled for the Carroll County 1,000 Acre Recreational Lake in Huntingdon, Tenn., Oct. 8-9.
- During the Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation High School State Championship on Weiss Lake near Leesburg, Tyler Malone and Sawyer Simison of the Citronelle Community Fishing Team took fourth place with a two-day total of 24.17 pounds. The winning duo of Cody Brooks and Fisher Anaya of Brewer High School won with 27.95 pounds.
In the six-man team competition, Citronelle Team 1 finished as the runners-up with 47.26 pounds, while Citronelle Team 2 was fourth with 44.82 pounds. Headland Bass Team took first place with 48.98 pounds.
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