Wheeler Lake Readies for YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship
FLORENCE, Ala. – The best weekend anglers from across the country fishing the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American won’t be the only anglers competing in Alabama next week. College fishing teams from across the country will also be heading to Wheeler Lake in Florence, Alabama, May 31-June 3 for the 2017 YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance C-Map Genesis. A total of 148 college bass fishing clubs will be competing in the internationally-televised tournament for a $30,000 prize package, including a new Ranger Z175 boat with a 90-horsepower Evinrude outboard and entry into the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing.
The winning team will then compete against each other Saturday in a one-day fish-off on neighboring Wilson Lake. The two anglers will weigh in prior to the final weigh in of the BFL All-American in Florence. The team member with the largest one-day stringer will advance to the world championship of bass fishing, the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup, and a chance to win $300,000.
“This is going to be an interesting tournament,” said FLW Tour pro Bradley Dortch of Atmore, Alabama, who won a Costa FLW Series tournament on Wheeler Lake in 2016. “We didn’t have much of a winter, so I’m pretty sure that the fish have all spawned by now. The fish at Wheeler Lake are already moving to their summertime patterns. The teams in this tournament are going to have to get out more towards the ledges.
”There are always fish to be caught shallow,” Dortch continued. “I just don’t know if you can win the tournament fishing that way. The winners are going to find a big group of females that spawned early and have already moved out.”
Dortch said popular baits amongst competitors fishing deep would be football-head jigs, Carolina rigs, swimbaits and big crankbaits – like the Jenko CD20. He said shallow-water anglers will likely be seen throwing buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, squarebill crankbaits and frogs.
“I’m not a huge fan of umbrella rigs, but I’d also have one of those tied on,” Dortch said. “I wouldn’t say both anglers should be throwing it, but one of us would be. Especially if I was fishing out deep.”
Dortch predicted that the three-day winning total of the event on Wheeler Lake would be right around 50 pounds.
Anglers will take off from Joe Wheeler State Park, located at 4401 McLean Drive, in Rogersville, Alabama, at 6:30 a.m. CDT. Wednesday and Thursday’s weigh-in will be held at the State Park beginning at 2:30 p.m. Friday’s weigh-in will be held at McFarland Park, located at 200 Jim Spain Drive in Florence, at 3 p.m., prior to the day 2 weigh-in of the BFL All-American championship at Pickwick Lake.
The winning team will compete Saturday in a one-day fish-off on Wilson Lake. The two anglers will weigh in at 3:25 p.m. prior to the final weigh in of the BFL All-American championship at Pickwick Lake. All takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.
Schools competing in the 2017 FLW College Fishing National Championship, which is hosted by the Florence/Lauderdale Tourism Bureau, include:
Abilene Christian University – Blake Harruff, Abilene, Texas, and Tanner Sanderson, El Paso, Texas
Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College – Blake Yarbrough, Fitzgerald, Ga., and Taylor Thompson, Woodstock, Ga.
Adrian College – Caleb Taylor, Zionsville, Ind., and Nickolas Marsh, Commerce Township, Mich.
Adrian College – Dalton Breckel, Onsted, Mich., and Jeff Morton, Troy, Mich.
Adrian College – Jack Hippe III, Davison, Mich., and Brandon Herzberg, Clark Lake, Mich.
Adrian College – Jarrett Martin, Gallipolis, Ohio, and Jacob Bayer, Riga, Mich.
Angelo State University – Chase Gibson, Denver City, Texas, and Scott Halbrooks, Levelland, Texas
Appalachian State University – Matthew Reid, Clayton, N.C., and Kelly Johnson, Sherrills Ford, N.C.
Arkansas Tech University – Hampton Hasek, Maumelle, Ark., and Jordan Ogle, Oppelo, Ark.
Auburn University – Mitchell Jennings, Auburn, Ala., and Christopher Knight Jr., Sylacauga, Ala.
Bemidji State University – Luke Gillund, Ham Lake, Minn., and Nickolas Retka, Little Falls, Minn.
Bethel University – Cole Floyd, Leesburg, Ohio, and Carter McNeil, Abbeville, S.C.
Bethel University – Evan Owrey, Jackson, Tenn., and Kristopher Queen, Catawba, N.C.
Bryan College – Dylan Pritchett, Dayton, Tenn., and Conner Thompson, Fort Payne, Ala.
Bryan College – Connor Cohran, Dalton, Ga., and Cole Sands, Calhoun, Tenn.
Bryan College – Jake Lee, Knoxville, Tenn., and Jacob Foutz, Charleston, Tenn.
Bryan College – Nathan Bell, Riceville, Tenn., and Matthew Kear, Clinton, Tenn.
California State University-Chico – Andrew Loberg, Rocklin, Calif., and Travis Bounds, Roseville, Calif.
California State University-Chico – Carson Leber, Dixon, Calif., and Lucas Boxwell, Auburn, Calif.
California State University-Chico – Chas Brannon, Santa Maria, Calif., and Michael Woods, Olivehurst, Calif.
California State University-Chico – Sean Huber and Travis Strain, both of Chico, Calif.
California State University-East Bay – Junjie Wang and Yuan Liu, both of Hayward, Calif.
California State University-Long Beach – Cole Thomas, Lakewood, Calif., and Via Thao, Long Beach, Calif.
Campbellsville University – Mason Sapp, Campbellsville, Ky.
Colorado Mesa University – Kennedy Kinkade, Alpine, Utah, and Josh Worth, Grand Junction, Colo.
Columbus State University – Turner Carlisle, Harris County, Ga., and Michael Chambliss, Cataula, Ga.
Dallas Baptist University – Trent Newman, Midlothian, Texas, and Colt Benedict, Forney, Texas
Daytona State College – James Oltorik and Thomas Oltorik, both of DeLand, Fla.
East Carolina University – Austin Warmus and Michael Corbishley, both of Raleigh, N.C.
East Central University – Wyatt Smith, DePew, Okla., and Wyatt Ryan, Ada, Okla.
East Texas Baptist University – Brett Clark, Center, Texas, and Jacob Keith, Jefferson, Texas
Eastern Illinois University – Jacob Daily and Ian Snowden, both of Mattoon, Ill.
Eastern Kentucky University – Tate Clements, Rockcastle, Ky., and Gavin Draper, Boiling Chapel, Ky.
Eastern Kentucky University – Steven Petz, Strongsville, Ohio
Florida Gulf Coast University – Beau Clymer and Hunter Bozeman, both of Ocala, Fla.
Georgia College & State University – Zachery Bennett, Loganville, Ga., and Chase Williams, Milledgeville, Ga.
Greenville College – Ray Hingson, Montrose, Ill., and Daniel Ellenburg, Springfield, Ill.
Harding University – Ethan Flowers, Dexter, Mo., and Cole Swede, Little Rock, Ark.
Humboldt State University – Dustin Wallis, Arcata, Calif., and Daniel Crannell, Pleasanton, Calif.
Humboldt State University – Tristan Merlaud, Sebastopol, Calif., and Rudy Directo, Alpine, Calif.
Illinois State University – Nick Kirkton, Seneca, Ill., and Seth Becker, Forsythe, Ill.
Illinois State University – Taylor Umland, Gridley, Ill., and Justin Schick, Morton, Ill.
Indiana University – Tristan Gold, Bloomington, Ind., and Brody McWilliams, Greenwood, Ind.
Iowa State University – Dylan Rague, Carroll, Iowa, and Pat Morrison, Omaha, Neb.
Iowa State University – Justin Heim, Luxemburg, Iowa, and Andrew Paulsen, Ames, Iowa
Jacksonville State University – Trevor Brown, Valley, Ala., and Brandon Padilla, Roswell, Ga.
Johns Hopkins University – Qiurun Chen, Beijing, China
Kansas State University – Travis Blenn, Westmoreland, Kan., and Kyle Alsop, Overland Park, Kan.
Lake Superior State University – Jake Dorony, South Lyon, Mich., and Hunter Scharphorn, Grand Haven, Mich.
Lake Superior State University – Keegan Russell, Gladwin, Mich., and Nic Rand, Kalamazoo, Mich.
Lamar University – Brandon Simoneaux, Bridge City, Texas, and Colby Ogden, Sour Lake, Texas
Liberty University – Brian Travers, West Jefferson, and Caleb Unger, Dry Ford, Va.
Liberty University – Skye Riggleman, Lynchburg, Va., and Alex Williamson, Gorham, Maine
Louisiana State University – Levi Sharp, Laughton, La., and Dakota Sparks, Denham Springs, La.
Louisiana State University-Shreveport – Christian Brown, Pelican, La., and Jared Rascoe, Stonewell, La.
Louisiana Tech University – Gunner Durrett, Simsboro, La., and Austin Watkins, Boyce, La.
Louisiana Tech University – Tyler Wilk, Manahawkin, N.J., and Scott McClellan, Leesville, La.
Mansfield University of Pennsylvania – Tyler Grabowski, Fairless Hills, Pa., and Ryan Fluharty, Perkiomenville, Pa.
Marshall University – Joshua Rawson, Sissonville, W. Va,, and Drew Sallada, Hurricane, W. Va.
McKendree University – Austin Niggli, Highland, Ill., and Brock Wilke, Saint Rose, Ill.
McKendree University – Curtis Lilly, Sterling, Ill., and Taylor Schmitt, Lebanon, Ill.
McKendree University – Reece Ellerbusch, Belknap, Ill., and Austin Chapman, Blue Mound, Ill.
McKendree University – Shane Campbell and Phillip Germagliotti, both of Highland, Ill.
McKendree University – Trent Robinson, Lewistown, Ill., and Jordan Ledbetter, Carlyle, Ill.
Middle Georgia State University – Spencer Sato, Warner Robins, Ga., and Mark Denney, Bonaire, Ga.
Middle Tennessee State University – Austin Wyatt, Gladeville, Tenn., and Mekiah Jack, Mount Juliet, Tenn.
Mississippi State University – Jeff Clayton, Theodore, Ala., and Cody Peak, Centreville, Miss.
Mississippi State University – Kyle Alford, Brandon, Miss., and Joseph Marty, Starkville, Miss.
Missouri State University – Grant Gaskill, Sullivan, Mo., and Branon Duemmel, Holts Summit, Mo.
Moraine Valley University – John Neubauer and Andrew Jensen, both of Oak Lawn, Ill.
Murray State University – Chandler Christian, Owensboro, Ky., and Lance Freeman, Eddyville, Ky.
Murray State University – Shon Messmer, Goreville, Ill., and Nathan Adams, House Springs, Mo.
Northeastern State University-Tahlequah – Cody Metzger and Michael King, both of Wagoner, Okla.
Northern Arizona University – Gunnar Stanton, Boulder City, Nev., and Gunner Campbell, Winchester, Calif.
Northern Illinois University – Chris Kobitter, Libertyville, Ill., and Riley Rollette, Rockton, Ill.
Northwestern State University – Nicholas Messenger, Natchitoches, La., and Scott Fair, Many, La.
Ohio State University – Jay Gramlich, Pickerington, Ohio, and Kyle Waller, Thornville, Ohio
Ohio State University – Michael Whitacre, Hudson, Ohio, and John Belluardo, Peninsula, Ohio
Oregon State University – Eric Kennedy, Woodland, Calif., and Joseph Billmaier, San Jose, Calif.
Oregon State University – Zach MacDonald, Willits, Calif., and Zach Martinez, Linden, Calif.
Patrick Henry Community College – Blaine Atkins, Martinsville, Va., and Dillon Crowder, Ridgeway, Va.
Pennsylvania State University – Clayton Frey, York, Pa., and Derek Horner, State College, Pa.
Ramapo College – Zachary Orsino, Westville, N.J., and Andrew Annuzzi, Old Bridge, N.J.
Rochester Institute of Technology – Jason Karol and John Henderson, both of Rochester, N.Y.
Rogers State University – Benny Boone, Collinsville, Okla.
Rogers State University – Dillon Roberts, Claremore, Okla., and Bret Fite, Selina, Okla.
Saint Ambrose University – Cole Atkinson and Tanner Atkinson, both of Camanche, Iowa
Sam Houston State University – Dillon Harrell, New Caney, Texas, and Dustin Moreno, Shepherd, Texas
San Jose State University – Patrick Friedman, Torrance, Calif.
Schoolcraft College – Clayton Hatton, South Lyon, Mich., and Anthony Gilmore, Livonia, Mich.
Slippery Rock University – Joel Hixon, Butler, Pa., and Evan Kretz, Allison Park, Pa.
Slippery Rock University – Logan Pollman, Slippery Rock, Pa., and Tyler Sheppard, Hermitage, Pa.
Slippery Rock University – Ryan Kozlowski, Cranberry Township, Pa., and Nathan Quince, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Sonoma State University – Peter Bizzini, Modesto, Calif., and Jake Banuelos, Pinole, Calif.
Sonoma State University – Tyler Owens, Orange, Calif., and Jake Davidson, Sebastopol, Calif.
Southern Illinois University – Mason Bishop, Goreville, Ill., and Kyle Wagner, Waterloo, Ill.
Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville – Dalton Wesley, Worden, Ill., and Zach Hartnagel, Edwardsville, Ill.
Southwest Mississippi Community College – Logan Morel and Cole Nunnery, both of Smithdale, Miss.
Southwestern Oregon Community College – Patrick Budden and Christian Somerville, both of Allegany, Ore.
State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry – Raymond Bentz, Hastings, N.Y., and Ethan Hall, Naples, N.Y.
Stephen F. Austin State University – Chance Forrest, Anna, Texas, and Seth Hausman, Nacogdoches, Texas
Stephen F. Austin State University – Tyler Woods, Little Rock, Ark., and Robert Tweed, Round Rock, Texas
Tarleton State University – Justin Seeton, Midlothian, Texas, and Stetson Overton, Glen Rose, Texas
Tarleton State University – Zach Ziober, Grapevine, Texas, and Dakota Ebare, Watson, La.
Tarleton State University – Zach Montalvo, Devine, Texas
Texas Tech University – Adam Estlack, San Antonio, Texas, and Matthew Bowden, Spring, Texas
University of Akron – Anthony Villalba, Silver Lake, Ohio, and Robert Webber, Elyria, Ohio
University of Alabama – Caiden Sinclair, Hoover, Ala., and Ethan Flack, Cullman, Ala.
University of Alabama – John Davis, Birmingham, Ala., and Payton McGinnis, Jasper, Ala.
University of Alabama-Birmingham – Chris Hiott, Trussville, Ala., and Jacob Burns, Morris, Ala.
University of Arkansas-Monticello – Trey Rainwater III, Bastrop, La., and Drew Fleming, Hamburg, Ark.
University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff – Cody Salzmann, Dickeyville, Wis., and Aaron Porterfield, Essex, Ill.
University of California-Merced – Gregory Dooman, Castro Valley, Calif., and Adan Arroyo, Napa, Calif.
University of Central Florida – Caleb Bundy, Lake City, Fla., and Jake Carter, Clermont, Fla.
University of Central Florida – Hunter McKamey, Shelbyville, Tenn., and Kyle Oliver, Winter Garden, Fla.
University of Central Florida – John Larsen, Stuart, Fla., and Justin Brown, Margate, Fla.
University of Dubuque – Brian Goebel, Gratiot, Wis., and Austin Brimeyer, Dubuque, Iowa
University of Illinois – Charlie Sterrett, Naperville, Ill., and Jordan Wolf, Homer, Ill.
University of Louisiana-Monroe – Austin Joiner, Pineville, La., and Jackson Blackett, Monroe, La.
University of Louisiana-Monroe – Tyler Stewart and Nicholas Joiner, both of West Monroe, La.
University of Louisiana-Monroe – Slade Daniel, Haile, La., and Tyler Craig, Frierson, La.
University of Louisiana-Monroe – Thomas Soileau and Hunter Freeman, both of Monroe, La.
University of Missouri – Austin Culbertson, Columbia, Mo., and Chandler Robertson, Ozark, Mo.
University of Missouri – Gabriel Dubois, Mason, Ohio, and Brandon Heizer, Saint Louis, Mo.
University of North Alabama – Hunter Haney and Andrew Tate, both of Town Creek, Ala.
University of North Alabama – Sloan Pennington, Childersburg, Ala., and Martin McCravy, Killen, Ala.
University of North Alabama – Lake Blasingame, Killen, Ala., and Triston Crowder, Lawrenceburg, Tenn.
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill – Graham Burke, Clemons, N.C., and Stephen Smith, Waxhaw, N.C.
University of Oregon – Ryan Habenicht, Auburn, Calif., and Daniel Marshall, Eugene, Ore.
University of Pittsburgh – Michael Dunn and Henry Colberg, both of Pittsburgh, Pa.
University of South Carolina – Patrick Walters, Summerville, S.C., and Gettys Brannon, Gaffney, S.C.
University of South Carolina – Shawn Callahan, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Tom Brewbaker, Columbia, S.C.
University of South Carolina – Will Miller, High Point, N.C., and Ethan Ingle, West Columbia, S.C.
University of Tennessee – Anthony Thorn, Knoxville, Tenn., and Scott Ellis, Madison, Tenn.
University of Tennessee – Jay Emmert and Anthony Johnson, both of Knoxville, Tenn.
University of Tennessee-Chattanooga – Patrick Hoskins, Knoxville, Tenn., and Dillon Falardeau, North Smithfield, R.I.
University of Texas-Tyler – Caleb Young, Maud, Texas
University of Wisconsin – Jacob Anderson and Bryce Smith, both of Princeton, Wis.
University of Wisconsin-Platteville – Colby Peterson, Waupun, Wis., and Aaron Gohla, Prairie du Chien, Wis.
University of Wisconsin-Platteville – Grant Ehlenfeldt, New Richmond, Wis., and Brett Stanek, Elroy, Wis.
Valdosta State University – Max Gresham, Milner, Ga., and Cody Cleary, Dalton, Ga.
Virginia Tech – Andrew Davis, Penhook, Va., and Ethan Morrison, Gordonsville, Va.
Virginia Tech – Elliott Roberson, Claudville, Va., and Ross Adams, Stuart, Va.
Virginia Tech – Ian Hardesty, Round Hill, Va.
Virginia Tech – Mark Adams, Aylett, Va., and Kile Quick, Waynesboro, Va.
West Virginia University – Kirkland Price, Madison, W. Va., and Bailey Gordon, Hurricane, W. Va.
Western Illinois University – Matt Wolz, Joliet, Ill., and Alexander Bouldin, Girad, Ill.
Winona State University – Wyatt Stout, Sauk City, Wis., and Tayler Stolpa, Winona, Minn.
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 2017 Forrest Wood Cup. The Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing, will be held August 11-13 on Lake Murray in Columbia, South Carolina, and will offer a collegiate angler the opportunity to compete for a top award of $300,000.
Television coverage of the FLW College Fishing National Championship will premiere in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) Oct. 4 from Noon -1 p.m. EDT. The Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show airs on NBCSN, the Pursuit Channel and the World Fishing Network and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
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.