It was quite a weekend from the McKendree College fishing duo of Jacob Louis and J.T. Russell.
Louis, of Pinckneyville, and Russell, of Goreville, spent Wednesday through Friday winning the Bassmaster College Series Midwest Conference Regional at Lake of the Ozarks. They came back the next day to place 13th in the Yeti FLW College Fishing Central Conference Tournament at the same lake.
Louis and Russell led the first day with an impressive 22-pound, 10 ounce bag. However, a serious thunderstorm that night muddied areas of the lake they had been fishing. After Thursday’s action, they fell to third place.
They rebounded on the finals with a big stringer that included a six-pounder and a pair of five-pounders -- a total of 22 pounds, 11 ounces. That gave them a 4-pound, 10 ounce margin of victory over Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Louis and Russell finished with a three-day total of 60 pounds, 15 ounces.
The victory qualifies Louis and Russell to fish in the Bassmaster National Champoinship in August.
"I am so proud of this entire team for their dedication and passion to the sport of bass fishing," said McKendree coach John Rinderer. "Due to the back-to-back scheduling of tournaments, the team had to drive straight from the Dardanesse tournament to fish the Bassmaster.
"These guys drove over 1,000 miles and were up by 5 a.m. or before each and every day and fished at least eight hours each day, completed homework in the evenings and averaged less than seven hours of sleep per night."
The McKendree squad of Brock Wilke and Brady Faust finished fourth overall.
The following day, Louis and Russell weighed in a five-fish limit of 16-pounds, 5 ounces in the FLW event. That was good enough for 13th place.
The duo battled boat problems all day, fishing much of the tournament without an outboard motor.
They finished three pounds out of first place. And, the 13th spot also qualified them for the FLW national championship.