The University of Tennessee is gearing up to host the first National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship April 10-12 at Fort Loudoun Lake. The National Championship, featuring a $100,000 first-place award, is a three-day nationally televised event hosting the top 25 teams in the country.
The teams, which represent the top five teams from each of five divisions — Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western — are the representatives from a tough season where teams fished four regular-season events in each division. The top five teams in each qualifying event advanced to one of five televised three-day National Guard FLW College Fishing Regional Championships. The top five teams from each of those regional tournaments are now poised to compete in Tennessee for the title of National Guard FLW Collegiate National Champion and one team will qualify for the 2010 Forrest Wood Cup Aug. 5-8 at Lake Lanier in Atlanta, Ga. The winners will also receive use of a wrapped boat and Chevy truck for Cup competition.
College Fishing events are free to enter, boats and drivers are provided by FLW Outdoors and all collegiate teams receive a travel allowance. Each team competing in the national championship will be sporting jerseys and fishing out of wrapped Ranger boats towed by Chevy trucks for the competition.
“Right now, water temperatures are still pretty cool,” said FLW Tour pro Brandon Coulter of Knoxville, Tenn. “The river’s running about 48 to 50 degrees, so it’s still a little early. But I think the guys are really going to have a good time.”
Coulter said the moon phase and rising water levels could move fish up shallow to spawn for the tournament. He said contestants who sight fish will do fairly well on the low end of the reservoir.
“Right now, for the next two weeks, the jerkbait is going to be your best bet,” Coulter said. “Anything from a Rogue to a Lucky Craft to a (ExtremeLures) Megabass — you can catch them on just about any jerkbait. I would start on the lower sections of the lake in the mornings, because before the sun gets up, the lower sections tend to be clearer.”
Daily takeoffs for the event will be at 7 a.m. at Ned McWherter Riverside Landing Park located at 1648 Riverside Drive in Knoxville. Daily weigh-ins will be at TRECS Plaza on the University of Tennessee campus located at 2106 Andy Holt Ave, Lot 20 in Knoxville.
Country music star Lee Brice will be performing Sunday, April 11 at 3 p.m. at TRECS Plaza prior to the weigh-in. Along with the concert, FLW Outdoors will be hosting the College Fishing Festival, which runs from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 10 through Monday, April 12 with activities including the National Guard Challenge, climbing wall and paintball. All activities including the concert are free and open to the public. Fans can also register for cash prizes presented by US Bank.
Each regular-season College Fishing event boasts a top cash award of $10,000 to be split evenly between the university and the university’s bass-fishing club. Regional events tout a top award of a Ranger 177TR with a 90-horsepower engine wrapped in school colors for their school’s bass club and $25,000 for the school they represent. The national championship awards the top team with $25,000 cash, a Ranger 177TR with a 90-horsepower engine wrapped in school colors for their school’s bass club and $50,000 for the school they represent. The Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing, offers anglers the chance to win a top award of $600,000.
For more information about the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship, visit CollegeFishing.com.
ABOUT FLW OUTDOORS FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world offering anglers worldwide the opportunity to compete for millions over the course of 189 tournaments in 2010. FLW Outdoors has also taken fishing mainstream with FLW Fantasy Fishing awarding the largest prizes in the history of fantasy sports. FLW Outdoors memberships are available featuring numerous benefits including Player’s Advantage. For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FantasyFishing.com. FLWOutdoors.com