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Montevallo duo triumphs at Table Rock Lake

Montevallo duo triumphs at Table Rock Lake

BRANSON, Mo. – The University of Montevallo duo of Nicholas Dumke and Easton Fothergill, both of Grand Rapids, Minn., won the MLF College Fishing event on Table Rock Lake last week with a five-bass limit weighing 21 pounds, 13 ounces. The victory earned the Falcons’ bass club $2,000 and a qualification into the 2025 MLF College Fishing National Championship. Dumke and Fothergill were joined by two other Montevallo teams in the Top 10.

Had the weather been more stable in the Missouri Ozarks, the tournament might have gone down much differently. In practice, Fothergill and Dumke found plenty of fish on beds – and good ones, too. But toward the end of the week, the weather cooled, dropping nighttime temps into the mid-30s. The fish they’d found on beds vanished.

“We started looking out a little bit deeper, right outside these bedding areas where we had found them, and sure enough we found them again,” Fothergill said.

The bass were either roaming or set up around standing timber in 20 to 68 feet of water. The Falcons anglers used Garmin LiveScope and various Damiki rigs (a soft-plastic minnow on a jighead) to catch them.

“We were hoping to get a good bag deeper, then go shallow,” Fothergill said. “It started out pretty slow. We were sitting on 13 pounds for quite a while. About 1 o’clock, we hit a flurry of them in what I would call a prespawn ditch. It was loaded with them. We were just covered in them.”

The ditch was about 15 feet deep, with the best area being a stretch about 50 yards wide and 100 yards long. The anglers camped on that spot the rest of the day, using LiveScope and a rotation of Damiki-style rigs to pick off new fish filtering through. By tournament’s end, they’d culled out every fish in their initial limit to upgrade to 21-13 for the win.

It’s been a big spring for the Montevallo duo. Dumke and Fothergill have fished together since their freshman season in high school. They came to Montevallo together to chase their bass fishing dreams, and they’re both set to graduate in May with degrees in marketing.

Last month, Fothergill competed in the Bassmaster Classic, a spot he earned by winning the 2023 Bassmaster College Classic Bracket last fall on the heels of a Bassmaster College Series Team of the Year title he won with Dumke. This was their first win and fourth Top-10 finish in MLF College Fishing competition.

Here's a rundown of the Top 10:

1st: University of Montevallo – Nicholas Dumkeand Easton Fothergill, both of Grand Rapids, Minn., five bass, 21-13, $2,000
2nd: McKendree University – Ryan Foster, Columbia, Ill., and Angelo Malek, Lake Saint Louis, Mo., five bass, 20-2, $1,000
3rd: University of Montevallo – James Dubose, Sharpsburg, Ga., and Daylon Milam, Newnan, Ga., five bass, 19-15, $700
4th: Arkansas Tech University – Karson Hamilton, Hot Spring, Ark., and Austin Johnston, Mena, Ark., five bass, 18-10, $600
5th: Murray State University – Levi Kohl, Edinburg, Ill., and Grant Meisenhelter, Decatur, Ill., five bass, 18-8, $500
6th: Southern Arkansas University – Levi Loe and Trace Loe, both of Waldo, Ark., five bass, 18-6
7th: Bethel University – Hunter Fillmore, Waynesville, Ohio, and Dylan Fogarty, Mechanicsburg, Pa., five bass, 18-5
8th: University of Montevallo – Trace Antunes, Henderson, Texas, and Slade Davis, Alexander City, Ala., five bass, 18-3
9th: Tarleton State – Stephenville – Clayton Easter and Trevor Easter, both of Morgan, Texas, five bass, 18-2
10th: Campbellsville University – Evan Fields, Shelbyville, Ky., and Karsten Raney, London, Ky., five bass, 17-13

Complete results for the entire field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

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