LSU Fishing
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    Doug McClung was back at work Monday.

See, his summer job with Vector Electric pays the bills.

And it fuels dreams.

He and his LSU teammate Travis Laurent were riding high on the crest of that dream Friday, a dream that vaporized Saturday.

That’s bass fishing.

McClung and Laurent are the latest to wear LSU purple and gold on a national stage. This time the competition was in North Little Rock, Ark., for the sixth annual College Bass National Championship.

Second to the team from Georgia after the tournament’s first day, July 8, on the Arkansas River, McClung and Laurent vaulted into first place Friday only to be penalized a half-pound for having a dead fish on their five-bass stringer. That was the day organizers deemed the river too dangerous to fish and moved the 44-team field to nearby Lake Maumelle.

That 8-ounce penalty pushed their two-day total back to 20.27 pounds and put them in a first-place tie with Northwestern State’s team of Paul Rini and Zach Hester.

The two Louisiana schools’ teams led the “final five,” that also included, in order, two-angler teams from Georgia, Alabama and Eastern Kentucky, the five schools that led the standings after two days and would tackle Brewer Lake in the Ozarks north of Little Rock for Saturday’s final round.

“Three lakes in three days, and there’s not too much you can do about it except try to get on the fish,” McClung said. “We really didn’t have time to think about it. We had scouted the river for five days, and when heard about Maumelle, well, we just had to go fishing.”

McClung said it was an old Atchafalaya Spillway lure, a Bandit crankbait, that made their day on the Arkansas River.

Then he and Laurent checked out the Maumelle map and found something he liked.

“My dad (Doug Sr.) told me to look at it like Lanana (bay) on Toledo Bend or Six-Mile Lake,” young McClung said. “We found lily pads and shallow water, and I throw a Yellow Magic topwater there. It’s an expensive lure, and I only had the big ones, and I knew those wouldn’t work.

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“There was a guy with a tackle store who said he’d stay open late, and I went there at 10:30 that night and bought a smaller Yellow Magic,” he said.

It worked: Laurent said, “All I had to do was hold the net today.”

Saturday was a different story, a day McClung said that everything that could go wrong did.

The Eastern Kentucky team was on the same point McClung and Laurent found on Brewer Lake.

“We fished the point for about 15 minutes, then I remembered a spot we’d run over that morning, a place where the (depth-finder) screen went black with baitfish,” McClung said.

These south Louisiana anglers quickly understood the importance of finding wads of baitfish over underwater structure, and McClung decided to go back on that spot.

“When we got back there, the baitfish were gone and the bass were suspended, and you can’t catch fish when they’re suspended,” he said.

By that afternoon, it was clear that Eastern Kentucky’s team of Jonas Ertel and Tyler Moberly blistered the other four teams. Their 21.39-pound stringer nearly doubled the 11.53 pounds for Georgia’s Ben Cleary and Randy Tolbert. Alabama’s Dustin Connell and Daniel Taylor came in with 7.88, Northwestern State had 7.28, and McClung and Laurent 6.74 pounds.

The LSU team took home with a little bit of cash, new rods, reels and tackle.

“We said we’ve got to get better,” McClung said. “And we have to come home and work on sponsorships and work on school, and upgrade our equipment. Travis and I have qualified the FLW-National Guard regionals on Halloween weekend.”

The LSU fishing team’s website,, has more information.

Other Louisiana teams in the 44-team field included Louisiana-Lafayette (Cody McCrary and Jordy Veillon), 12th place, 12.07 pounds; and LSU-Shreveport’s one-man team of Joe Landry’s 27th place with 5.63 pounds.

The nationals will be aired in two parts at 4:30 p.m. July 29-30 on ESPNU.

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