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Recent entries

McKendree Bass

McKendree Bass

New Featured Blog - Collegiate Bass Fishing

Mon, March 21, 2016

Heartland Outdoors is excited to announce a partnership with the McKendree University Bearcats bass fishing team, from Lebanon, IL, to create a regular series blog as they go through their competition season in 2016.  Our goal is to provide some insight into the college fishing tour, and get some interesting stories from the road (at least the ones we can put in print!).

The collegiate bass fishing scene continues to grow every year, and more schools are getting behind their anglers to support them on tour.  McKendree University is one of only a handful of schools around the country to offer fishing scholarships to its student anglers.  McKendree supports the team by funding travel expenses and team apparel for the kids, as well as providing a full-time fishing coach in Jon Rinderer from the Highland area.

The Bearcats will fish in over a dozen tournaments this season on bodies of water like Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley, Table Rock, Clinton Lake, Pickwick Lake (Florence, AL), Dardanelle (Russelville, AR), the Mississippi River in Prairie du Chien, WI, and local lakes like Vandalia and Carlyle.

McKendree looks to improve on their 2015 finish of 8th in the country (out of over 300 schools nationwide) in the Cabela’s School of the Year program.  Teams earn points based on competing in the Cabela’s Collegiate Bass Fishing Series, as well as select Carhartt College B.A.S.S. and FLW events.

This year’s McKendree lineup, now in its 3rd year on the collegiate tour, features anglers from all over IL.

Shane Campbell,  So.,  Highland, Ill. / Highland High School
Austin Chapman,  Jr.,  Blue Mound, Ill. / Meridian
Luke Diener,  Fr.,  St. Peters, Mo. / Francis Howell Central
Reece Ellerbusch,  Sr.,  Belknap, Ill. / Massac County
Brady Faust,  Fr.,  Swansea, Ill. / Belleville East
Phillip Germagliotti,  Sr.,  Highland, Ill. / Highland
Jordan Ledbetter,  Sr.,  Carlyle, Ill. / Carlyle High School
Curtis Lilly,  Jr.,  Sterling, Ill. / Sterling
Jacob Louis,  Fr.,  Pinckneyville, Ill. / Pinckneyville
Brian McClanahan,  Jr.,  Elkville, Ill. / Elverado
Brock Meigs , Fr.,  Salem, Ill. / Salem Community
John Murphy,  Sr.,  Peoria, Ill. / Richwoods
Austin Niggli,  So.,  Highland, Ill. / Highland High School
Trenton Robinson,  Jr.,  Havana, Ill. / Lewistown
JT Russell,  Jr.,  Marion, Ill. / Goreville, Ill.
Taylor Schmitt,  So.,  Lebanon, Ill. / Lebanon High School
Derrik Starrett,  Sr.,  Brighton, Ill. / Marquette
Braden Watt,  Fr.,  Sparta, Ill. / Sparta
Brock Wilke,  So.,  St. Rose, Ill. / Mater Dei Catholic High School
Brad Wyss,  So.,  Gardner, Ill. / Seneca High School

Look for updates from these anglers, and Coach Rinderer, throughout the season, which runs through early July.

Here’s some scenes from a recent tournament.

Just a portion of the 200+ boats on the water, waiting for takeoff.

Each day begins with a prayer and the playing of our national anthem.  Pretty cool moments!

A quiet weigh-in stage and big screen monitor.  This place will be hopping later in the day!

Imagine 200+ boats filled with 440 college kids… taking off for tourney fishing!

Notice the bridge on the far right, that you can just barely make out.

Austin Chapman and Brock Meigs heading out for the day.

Taylor and Brady getting ready to take off after their number was called.

Brian and Derrik getting ready for a chilly takeoff.

Reece and Braden making final adjustments.

By the time this flight left, at least some fog had burned off.  Same bridge as above.

Organized chaos at the end of the day.

The first major stop on this year’s schedule was the Cabelas Big Bass Bash at Paris Landing on Kentucky Lake.  The big bass format is a popular tournament every year as anglers weigh in their biggest fish during four weigh-ins throughout the day.  McKendree has had strong showings in past years in this tourney, moving them up the leaderboard quickly in the early standings.  And this year wouldn’t disappoint.

In the next article, we’ll take a look at how the Bearcats fared in the 2016 Big Bass Bash to kick off their busy season.