UALR Takes College Bass Tournament National Championship
LITTLE ROCK – They may have just squeaked in to the finals, but the bass fishing team representing the University of Arkansas at Little Rock made their chance count. The team of Jeremy Reese and Trent Gebhardt brought in a five-bass limit that weighed 21.24 pounds to easily outdistance their nearest competitor by almost 4 pounds.
This week, approximately 112 collegiate bass anglers competed in the 2008 Under Armour College Bass National Championship in central Arkansas. From July 9 to 10, anglers fished Lake Maumelle in Little Rock. After the day two weigh-in on July 10, the tournament moved to a private-owned lake near England. Competitors were not told of the location of the lake until after the top five teams were chosen. UALR barely got in to the top five after they were mistakenly told that a penalty would keep them out of the final day’s fishing competition on July 11.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Black Bass Program was on hand to help with fish releases as the competitors arrived. After checking in, the angler’s fish were checked by AGFC personnel to determine whether or not there were any dead or short fish. The tournament was operating under a 12-inch minimum length limit for both largemouth and spotted bass at Maumelle.
The Black Bass Program provided several aerated life support tanks at the weigh-in for the anglers to hold their fish while waiting to weigh-in. Once the fish were weighed-in, the fish were placed on the program’s live release trailer and transported back to Jolly Rogers Marina.
AGFC fisheries employees provided Bass I.D. and Keep Fish Alive cards to each contestant. The cards provide tournament anglers with helpful tips on how to take better care of their fish in their livewells during a tournament to ensure that they can be released alive to be caught another day.
The three-day tournament showcased more than 50 of the top collegiate bass fishing teams in the country including the University of Arkansas, UALR and Arkansas Tech University. The teams competed for thousands of dollars in scholarship money and the chance to secure their legacy as national champions. Last year’s winners were Scott Wiley and Brett Thompson of Virginia Tech, who took the title with an 8.8 pound bag.
Anglers from each participating school fished for largemouth and spotted bass 12 inches or longer, with a five-fish limit. Teams fished a standard three-day format, with the field narrowed down to the top five teams on the final day. Weights were then zeroed and the largest one-day total on the final day was awarded the title. The telecast of the 2008 event will air on ESPNU on Aug. 3 at 2 p.m.