The Stephen F. Austin team of Robert Platt of Orange Park, Fla., and Ryan Watkins of Nacogdoches, Texas, won the National Guard FLW College Fishing Texas Division event on Toledo Bend Saturday with six bass weighing 19 pounds, 1 ounce. The victory earned the team $10,000 to be split evenly between the university and the university’s bass-fishing club. The win also helped them advance to the Texas Division Regional Championship where they could ultimately win 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.
“We started out deep first thing in the morning and never got shallower than 19 to 25 feet all day long,” said Watkins, who is a junior kinesiology major. “We fished the north end of lake where there are a bunch of ridges and brushpiles. We threw a Rapala DT16 shad-colored crankbait and alternated that with an 11-inch NetBait soft plastic worm and a Red Bug-colored Zoom Trick Worm.
“The big one came on the crankbait,” Watkins added. “For some reason, they weren’t eating a drop shot (rig), so we relied on the Texas rigs and soft plastics. Our crankbait bite really died because of the lack of wind, but we ended up catching the majority of everything before 8:30. We caught our last keeper at 12:15.”
Watkins said the weather was perfect for the event, with just enough wind to keep the team cool.
“You know, the best thing about today was not winning the money,” said Watkins, who won the 2009 College Fishing event on Toledo Bend. “The best thing was winning back-to-back tournaments. It’s been a long time since I won back to back. It means a lot to me and adds a lot of credibility to my career and is always fun. But to do it at this level makes it that much sweeter.”
Rounding out the top five teams were LSU – Douglas McClung of Gramercy, La., and Travis Laurent of Gonzales, La., (six bass, 17-5, $5,000); Lamar University – Matt Morrison of Silsbee, Texas, and Danny Iles of Hemphill, Texas, (three bass, 12-6, $4,000); Baylor University – Brian Bauer of Waco, Texas, and Joseph Garland of West, Texas, (five bass, 12-2, $3,000); LSU-Shreveport – Gavin Havard of Bossier City, La., and Joe Landry of Shreveport, La., (three bass, 8-13, $2,000).
The top five teams in each division’s qualifying events advance to one of five televised three-day National Guard FLW College Fishing Regional Championships. College Fishing is free to enter, boats and drivers are provided by FLW Outdoors and all collegiate teams receive a travel allowance.
The top five teams from each regional championship will advance to the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship. The National Championship is a three-day televised event hosting the top five teams from each regional, 25 total teams. Teams will be provided jerseys and wrapped Ranger boats towed by Chevy trucks for this competition.
The 2009 National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship was held April 10-12 at Ft. Loudoun and was hosted by the University of Tennessee. The University of Florida was the first National Guard FLW Collegiate National Champion and qualified for the 2010 Forrest Wood Cup Aug. 5-8 at Lake Lanier in Atlanta, Ga. The winners also received use of a wrapped boat and Chevy truck for Cup competition.
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