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Cornelius News

Late rally pushes UNCC graduate Monetti to victory in Bassmaster College Classic Bracket

UNC Charlotte’s Louis Monetti, of Brielle, N.J., has won the 2022 Bassmaster College Classic Bracket on Lake Greenwood presented by Lew’s and will compete in the 2023 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic. | Photo by Dalton Tumblin/B.A.S.S.

Oct. 5.  As he ran back to Greenwood State Park on Championship Monday of the Bassmaster College Classic Bracket, Louis Monetti was heartbroken. Although he had a limit, Monetti had fallen short of the target weight he thought he would need to beat his opponent, Florida Gateway College’s Seth Slanker.

So, as he stood shoulder to shoulder with Slanker on shore at day’s end, convinced he didn’t catch enough, Monetti was stunned when he flipped over a card that revealed he was the winner.

With a final-day weight of 8 pounds, 13 ounces, Monetti claimed the Bracket title over Slanker, who led most of the day but ultimately fell short with 7-11.

“I thought the whole time I had lost. I had it in my head that Seth had caught somewhere between 9 and 10 pounds,” Monetti said. “He has been incredibly consistent with that this week. I said it on camera; I was heartbroken and thought it was a blown opportunity.

“So, when I turned over that card, I didn’t believe the words I was reading and I thought it was a prank.”

With the win, Monetti earned a berth into the 2023 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic scheduled for March 24-26 in Knoxville, Tenn. He will also receive paid entry fees into all nine 2023 St. Croix Bassmaster Opens and the use of a fully rigged Toyota Tundra and Nitro boat.

Dream come true

“I’m speechless. It is a dream come true,” Monetti said. “I have been thinking about this moment since I was 13 years old when I first started tournament fishing, and for it to actually be happening hasn’t sunk in. It has come a lot earlier than expected.”

The Bracket victory is the exclamation point on a phenomenal season for the now-graduate of UNC Charlotte. After fishing solo for several years, he and partner Michael Fugaro won the 2022 College Series Team of the Year title to qualify for the Bracket out of Monetti’s ’96 Ranger, a boat with torn-up seats, frayed carpet and no electronics on the bow.

“More than anything, I feel like this is a legitimizing win,” he said.

First days

For the first two days, Monetti put his trolling motor on high and cruised down the bank throwing a True South V-TWIN buzzbait, a Whopper Plopper 90 and a wacky-rigged Bizz Baits 5-inch Sassy Stick.

He opened the event by catching 10-4 to defeat Trey Schroeder in the first round and then caught the biggest bag of the event in the semifinal round with 16-14 to advance over Florida Gateway College’s Jackson Swisher.

In a normal tournament setting, Monetti would have felt really comfortable with his cumulative weight. But with weights zeroing each day, he never felt great about his chances.


“I had been talking all week that on Lake Norman in the fall, you can get a good bite on a jig. Being this is a similar lake to Norman, I thought it would set up well for a jig and it never did until today.

Late in the day, Monetti discovered a pattern where he could get bites with the jig on the first dock inside of a river channel bend and used that to rally to the lead in the final two hours by catching a 2 1/2-pounder at 12:45 p.m. before he sealed the win with a 1-5 bass that entered the boat with two minutes to go.

“I feel like I figured it out, but a little too late,” Monetti said. “But it ended up being just enough.”