FLW College Fishing National Championship Readies for Lake Keowee

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ANDERSON, S.C. (March 7, 2016) – The best anglers in the world fishing the Walmart FLW Tour won’t be the only anglers competing in South Carolina next week. College fishing teams from across the country will be heading to Lake Keowee in Seneca, South Carolina, March 17-20 for the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by the Lowrance Insight Genesis College Cup. Fifty-four college bass fishing clubs will be competing for a top award of a Ranger Z175 boat with a 90-horsepower outboard engine and entry into the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing.

Championship qualifiers relax before the start of day-one competition on Lake Keowee.

Championship qualifiers relax before the start of day-one competition on Lake Keowee.

For the first time ever in FLW College Fishing competition, the winning team will compete against each other the following day in a one-day fish-off on an undisclosed body of water. The two anglers will weigh in prior to the final weigh in of the Walmart FLW Tour event at Lake Hartwell. The team member with the largest one-day stringer will advance to the world championship of bass fishing, the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup, and a chance to win $300,000.

“Winning the FLW College Fishing National Championship was a definite jump-start to my professional career,” said FLW Tour pro Austin Felix, a former collegiate angler for the Minnesota Golden Gophers who won the National Championship when the circuit visited Lake Keowee in 2014. “Lake Keowee is a very fun fishery and you can catch fish in a lot of different ways.”

When Felix and partner Chris Burgan won in 2014, they did so by targeting Keowee’s consistent spotted bass population in deeper water, on main-lake points and humps. Felix said that in a multi-day tournament, he expects a similar pattern from the winning team.

“There are some giant largemouth in Keowee and in a one-day tournament you could fish the creeks and weigh a very big limit, but the problem is that the big ones are few and far between,” Felix said. “Finding the largemouth bass is a little more difficult to do over multiple days. The spotted bass out deep tend to reload a little better and are a little more consistent.

“That being said, most of these teams won’t have much practice on the lake. It’ll be a lot easier to fish shallow and pick apart a lot of water. It’s definitely a crucial decision that every team is going to have to make.”

Felix predicted that football jigs along with shaky-head and drop-shot rigs would be popular with teams that targeted the spotted bass, while jigs, swimbaits, jerkbaits and fluke rigs would be popular with teams fishing shallow.

“I think that if a team can put together 12 to 13 pounds a day, they’ll be right there competing for the win on Saturday,” Felix went on to say. “It’s going to take a three-day total right around 39 to 40 pounds to win the championship.”

Anglers will take off from South Cove County Park, located at 1099 S. Cove Road, in Seneca at 7:30 a.m. EST. Thursday and Friday’s weigh-in will be held at South Cove County Park beginning at 3:30 p.m. Saturday’s weigh-in will be held at Green Pond Landing, located at 470 Green Pond Road in Anderson, at 3:15 p.m., prior to the day 3 weigh-in of the FLW Tour event at Lake Hartwell.

The winning team will compete Sunday in a one-day fish-off on an undisclosed body of water. The two anglers will weigh in at 4 p.m. EST at Green Pond Landing, prior to the final weigh in of the FLW Tour event at Lake Hartwell. All takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

Schools competing in the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship, which is hosted by the Mountain Lakes Convention & Visitors Bureau, include:

Adrian College – Jarrett Martin, Gallipolis, Ohio, and Jacob Bayer, Westfield, Mich.

Adrian College – Jeff Morton, Troy, Mich., and Nickolas Marsh, Commerce Township, Mich.

Auburn University – Ethan Hayes and Garrett Roberts, both of Cullman, Ala.

Auburn University – Timmy Ward, Childersburg, Ala., and Mitchell Jennings, Auburn, Ala.

Bethel University – Kyler Chelminiak, Franklin, Wis., and Alec Piekarski, Greenfield, Wis.

Bethel University – Kristopher Queen, Catawba, N.C.

Bethel University – Ty Dyer, Lexington, Tenn., and Joseph Huggins, Oveido, Fla.

California State University-Chico – Travis Bounds, Roseville, Calif., and Andrew Loberg, Rocklin, Calif.

California State University-Chico – Chas Brannon, Santa Maria, Calif., and Michael Woods, Olivehurst, Calif.

California State University-Sacramento – Tanner Austin, El Dorado Hills, Calif., and Ethan Clark, Elk Grove, Calif.

Christopher Newport University – Travis Riley, Lynchburg, Va., and Seth Winslow, Chesapeake, Va.

Clemson University – Ross Burns, Columbia, S.C., and Isaac Nesbitt, Aiken, S.C.

Colorado Mesa University – Josh Worth, Grand Junction, Colo., and Kennedy Kinkade, Alpine, Utah

Dallas Baptist University – Zackery Hines, Clyde, Texas, and Reed Foster, Combine, Texas

Daytona State College – James Oltorik and Thomas Oltorik, both of Deland, Fla.

Eastern Washington University – Cy Floyd and Travis Opel, both of Wenatchee, Wash.

Fairmont State University – Landon Paul and Ryan Houser, both of Fairmont, W.Va.

Gadsden State Community College – Josh Oliver, Anniston, Ala., and Colby Smith, Jacksonville, Ala.

Georgia Highlands College – Jake Akin, Power Springs, Ga., and Eric Fisher, Dallas, Ga.

Henderson State University – Michael Gross, Gurdon, Ark., and Cobey Wingfield, Malvern, Ark.

Humboldt State University – Tristan Merlaud, Sebastopol, Calif., and Rudy Directo, Alpine, Calif.

Illinois State University – Bryce Wegman, Normal, Ill., and Taylor Umland, Gridley, Ill.

Iowa State University – Zachary Hartley, Minneapolis, Minn., and Zachariah Beek, Bloomington, Minn.

Kansas State University – Kyle Alsop, Overland Park, Kan., and Taylor Bivins, Manhattan, Kan.

Kansas State University – Lance Maldonado, Junction City, Kan., and Ethan Dhuyvetter, Manhattan, Kan.

Kansas State University – Quinn Fowler, Olathe, Kan., and Dylan McKee, Abilene, Kan.

Lake Superior State University – Hunter Scharphorn, Grand Haven, Mich., and Jake Dorony, South Lyon, Mich.

Northwest Missouri State University – Andrew Nordbye, St. Joseph, Mo., and Adam Almohtadi, Blue Springs, Mo.

Northwestern State University – John Ledet, Natchitoches, La., and Justin Cooper, Pelican, La.

Oregon State University – Zach MacDonald, Willits, Calif., and Zach Martinez, Linden, Calif.

Pennsylvania State University – Matt Bakewell, Brownsville, Pa., and Tyler Smith, Pine Grove, Pa.

Ramapo College – Andrew Annuzzi, Old Bridge, N.J., and Andrew Zapf, Whippany, N.J.

Shenandoah University – Thomas Arens and Billy Arens, both of Purcellville, Va.

Southern Illinois University – Kyle Wagner, Waterloo, Ill., and Steve Seiler, Mokena, Ill.

Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville – Zach Hartnagel, Edwardsville, Ill., and Dalton Wesley, Worden, Ill.

Southeastern Oklahoma State University – Dwight Camp, Talihina, Okla., and Jonathan Furlong, Bixby, Okla.

Stephen F. Austin State University – Shelby Hutchens, Spring, Texas, and Brian Blades, Terrell, Texas

Tarleton State University – Jacob Beyer and Dakota Ebare, both of Stephenville, Texas

Texas A&M University – Josh Bensema, Willis, Texas, and Matthew McArdle, Crosby, Texas

University of Akron – Robert Webber, Elyria, Ohio, and Anthony Villalba, Silver Lake, Ohio

University of Alabama – Ethan Flack and Konnor Kennedy, both of Cullman, Ala.

University of Alabama-Birmingham – Matthew Oliver, Gardendale, Ala.

University of Arkansas – Drew Porto, Colleyville, Texas, and Zachary Pickle, South Lake, Texas

University of Central Oklahoma – Brock Enmeier, Enid, Okla., and Colten Hutson, Edmond, Okla.

University of Illinois – Qiurun Chen, Beijing, China, and Luke Stoner, Pekin, Ill.

University of North Alabama – Dawson Lenz, Peachtree City, Ga., and Andrew Tate, Florence, Ala.

University of Oklahoma – Charles Vang, Tulsa, Okla., and Landon Dixon, Hinton, Okla.

University of South Carolina – Chris Blanchette, Irmo, S.C., and Hampton Anderson, Anderson, S.C.

University of Tennessee-Chattanooga – Dillon Falardeau, North Smithfield, R.I., and Patrick Hoskins, Knoxville, Tenn.

University of Wisconsin-Platteville – Brett Stanek, Elroy, Wis., and Grant Ehlenfeldt, New Richmond, Wis.

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point – Samuel Sobieck, New Prague, Minn., and Connor Graham, Stevens Point, Wis.

West Virginia University – Jacob Marshall, Catonsville, Md., and Matthew Combs, Dayton, Ohio

Western Carolina University – Tyler Thomasson, Whittier, N.C., and Josh Cannon, Waxhaw, N.C.

Winona State University – Cade Laufenberg, La Crosse, Wis., and Wyatt Stout, Winona, Minn.

Fans will be treated to the FLW Expo on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. at Green Pond Landing prior to the final weigh-ins. The Expo includes interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by FLW sponsors, and the opportunity to interact with professional anglers to learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public.

The FLW College Fishing National Championship awards the top team a $30,000 prize package, including a Ranger Z175 boat with a 90-horsepower outboard engine and an entry into the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup. The Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing, will be held August 4-7 on Wheeler Lake in Huntsville, Alabama, and will offer a collegiate angler the opportunity to compete for a top award of $300,000.

College Fishing is free to enter. All participants must be registered, full-time students at a college, university or community college and members of a fishing club recognized by their college or university.

For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow College Fishing on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing. Visit CollegeFishing.com to sign up or to start a club at your school.