The Coastal Carolina team of John Miller and Wyatt Hammond won the National Guard FLW College Fishing Southeast Division event on Lake Guntersville Saturday with five bass weighing 19 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the team $10,000 to be split between the university and the university’s bass fishing club – $7,500 for the bass club and $2,500 for their school. The win also helped them advance to the Southeast Division Regional Championship.
“This is unbelievable,” said Hammond, a senior history major from Myrtle Beach, S.C. “I’ve been trying for three years to get here.”
Cold weather greeted the collegiate anglers Saturday morning, but it didn’t seem to affect the fishing much according to Hammond.
“It was 32 degrees at blastoff,” Hammond said. “It was cold, to say the least. But it warmed up to 65 or 70 degrees and I know a lot of people out here were catching a lot of good fish.”
Hammond said the team began the day fishing a hump Hammond had found two years ago. Hammond said the hump came up to 4 feet of water and was covered in shells and was holding bass.
The team found success early as Hammond caught a fish on a chartreuse jerkbait within five minutes of arriving at the hump, and soon after Miller caught one on a Rat-L-Trap. Miller then caught an 8-pounder on a shad-colored Rapala Shad Rap and followed that up with a 4-pounder.
Hammond said the team later stopped at a point that was near deeper water and Hammond caught a short fish, the team’s only short fish of the day, and after that he finished their limit and proceeded to the check-in site.
Rounding out the top five teams and also advancing to the Southeast Regional Championship are:
2nd: University of Montevallo – Preston Broadhead, Montevallo, Ala., and Joe Handley, Hueytown, Ala. (five bass, 18-2, $3,000)
3rd: Kennesaw State University – Thomas Frink, Woodstock, Ga., and Justin Marlow, Cartersville, Ga. (five bass, 16-14, $2,000)
4th: Tennessee Tech– Ryan Maddux, Evensville, Tenn., and Seth Davis, Decatur, Tenn. (five bass, 16-8, $2,000)
5th: Lagrange College – Torre Pike, Lagrange, Ga., and Ryan Wakenigg, Cataula, Ga. (five bass, 16-4, $2,000)
The top five teams from each tournament qualified for the regional championship where the first-place team will win $12,500 cash for their school and $12,500 cash and a Ranger 177TR bass boat with a 90 horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard wrapped in school colors for their fishing club. The top five teams from each regional tournament advance to the national championship where the first-place team will win $25,000 for their school and $50,000 cash and a Ranger 177TR bass boat with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard wrapped in school colors for their fishing club.
College Fishing is free to enter and FLW Outdoors provides boats and drivers for each competing team along with travel allowances. All participants must be registered, full-time undergraduate students at a four-year college or university and members of a fishing club recognized by their college or university.
The next National Guard FLW College Southeast Division tournament is scheduled for April 30 at Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Ala.
ABOUT FLW OUTDOORS FLW Outdoors is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world offering anglers worldwide the opportunity to compete for millions over the course of 191 tournaments in 2011. FLW Outdoors has taken fishing mainstream with the world’s richest fantasy sports game, FLW Fantasy Fishing presented by Straight Talk, where competitors can play for free as well as sign up for Player’s Advantage to gain an edge. For more information about FLW Outdoors and FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FLWOutdoors.com or FantasyFishing.com.