Catawba Valley Community College anglers Jeremy Dellinger and Nathan Smith clinched another national tournament berth for themselves and the Red Hawk program on Saturday with their 17th-place finish in the 2021 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series on Lake Hartwell.
Dellinger and Smith competed among a field of 260 teams, including three teams from CVCC, to earn their national tournament berth.
“All three of our teams at Lake Hartwell had solid performances,” said CVCC bass fishing head coach Angela Mayo. “Jeremy Dellinger and Nathan Smith made some great adjustments after day one and moved up the leaderboard on day two for a 17th place finish out of 260 teams. It’s great to have a qualifying team for the 2021 B.A.S.S. College National Championship so early in the season.”
The tournament on Lake Hartwell was originally scheduled to take place in Cornelius, N.C., but was moved 145 miles to the South Carolina/Georgia border.
Despite the change in venue, Smith and Dellinger adapted.
“Our practice started out great,” Dellinger said. “We got into a good pattern right off the bat, which allowed us to try and expand to as much of the lake as possible in order to find where the biggest concentration of larger fish were at. While doing that we had the best practice that I have ever personally experienced. The tournament brought changing weather, and it caused the fish to change. We adapted to the conditions and managed a 17th-place finish. It’s such a relief to qualify at the first event and know that we’re already locked into the national championship.”
This is the second time that Dellinger and Smith have qualified for the B.A.S.S. College National Championship.
“Lake Hartwell has been really good to us,” Smith said. “We’ve fished two Bassmaster tournaments at Lake Hartwell and qualified at both of them. We had the best three days of practice I think we’ve ever had, but the last day of practice was a struggle. The fish we found in practice had moved so we had to come up with a new plan on the first day of the tournament. We were lucky in the first day and managed to find ourselves in the top 50.”
Dellinger and Smith were in 44th place after day one of the event, catching 11 pounds, 15 ounces in their five-bass limit, but a big second day of competition, which included a five-bass limit of 14 pounds, 13 ounces, helped push the duo into the top 20 and a national tournament berth.
“We knew we would have to do a lot better the second day to make the cut,” Smith said. “Our bite really depended on the sun, and the sun didn’t come out until about 2.5 hours until we were due in for the weigh in. We really struggled the first half on day two, but found a rhythm and scraped up just enough to get us in the cut. We fished hard all week and got rewarded with a top 20 finish.”
The two remaining Catawba Valley teams finished in the top 75 percent of the field in this week’s B.A.S.S. event on Lake Hartwell.
Competing by himself, CVCC’s Spencer Black finished tied for 92nd place. He caught 19 pounds, 14 ounces of bass.
The Red Hawk tandem of Lucas Oliver and Hayden Lail finished tied for 187th place with 14 pounds, 7 ounces of bass.
The CVCC bass fishing team returns to the water on March 30-31 for the Major League Fishing/Abu Garcia College Fishing on Lake Chickamauga in Dayton, Tenn.