TYLER, Texas — The final weigh-in of the College Bass West Super Regional came down to one fish and .06 pounds.
Ultimately, a dead fish penalty hurt the Day One leaders from Friends University, leaving the door open for Zach Caudle and Joe Landry from Louisiana State University at Shreveport to claim the title for the second consecutive year. They boated a tournament-best 19.10 pounds on Sunday, giving them 29.27 over two days and the tournament victory by .06 pounds.
"We are the most talkative team in the country and we were speechless," Landry said. "Just to come back from 8 pounds behind doesn't seem logical. We thought we would need 20 pounds just to get a top-five finish and 22 pounds to win. This is really cool because we are the only team to win a West Super Regional."
Coming up just a hair short was the team of Vaughn Humerickhouse and Jayme Bristow from Friends University. Their 29.21 pounds over two days was enough for second. Not too far behind them was Tyler James and Matt Day from Texas A&M University with 28.74 pounds.
Rounding out the top five teams in fourth place from the University of Texas at Tyler was Michael Huss and Mason Holmes at 26.64 pounds. Fifth place went to Tarleton State's John Anderson and Brandon Foard with 26.23 pounds.
"Winning is great, but you hate to win that way," Caudle said. "They are going to hate that fish for the rest of their lives."
Despite the dead fish, the day belonged to Caudle and Landry, though, as they made a monster charge from 24th place after the first day. This tournament also marked the last College Bass tournament for Caudle, a senior, who will be starting a full-time job soon.
"I can't believe we won my last College Bass event," Caudle said. "It's what you dream about and talk about sitting around the campfire. We knew we didn't have it because our parents had written down the weights. When we heard Friends had a dead fish, we couldn't believe it."
Their biggest fish of the day almost didn't make it into the boat. Landry hooked the bass and Caudle readied the net -- it was a good thing he did.
"The net wasn't even out of the water," Caudle said. "As soon as it reached the rim of the net, the hook just popped out. When those fish come off, they have a second before they run off and this one ran right down into the net."
The duo spent their tournament fishing in Lake Tyler East, because of the abundant grass. Alternating between a Zoom Horny Toad and a watermelon Super Fluke put most of their fish in the boat, and they also caught two key fish off beds on a Flick Shake worm.
"We had one stretch of bank that we went up and down four times to catch most of our weight," Caudle said. "Everybody I talked to said the East lake had better fish. The grass was better there and it was easier to fish."
With the wind, teamwork was crucial and often Caudle would help position the boat while Landry fished off the back deck. With only a partial day to practice, hard work during the tournament was the deciding factor and LSU-Shreveport walked away with a repeat victory, the first time that has ever been done in College Bass history.
"It seems like a dream, it's literally unbelievable," Landry said. "We are a small university and I like putting our college on the map. Our school has over 4,000 students and the two of us are the only ones that fish. I'm looking for a partner now that Zach is graduating."
Next on the College Bass calendar is the North Super Regional out of Fort Madison, Iowa from June 5-6. Full coverage from all College Bass events can be found on CollegeBass.com.
West Super Regional final results