As a last minute entry the team of Andrew Jackson and Patrick Snellings from Virginia Tech, won the National Guard FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event on the Ohio River/Tanners Creek, Saturday with five bass weighing 7 pounds, 4 ounces. The victory earned the team $5,000. The win also helped them advance to the Northern Conference Championship.
Under overcast skies with on and off light showers the team worked wooded structure to scratch out a limit on the Ohio River.
“We stayed in Tanners Creek all day,” said Snellings a senior in fisheries science. “We knew the river was a tough place to fish and we didn’t know the fishery at all so we decided to stay close. We stayed in a small area, probably ½-mile section, and just picked it apart. We targeted every shelf and log we could find and were able to scratch out a limit. We had about 10 keepers all day, but it was a grind. We didn’t have our fifth bass until about 11 a.m.
“We started drop-shotting Zipper worms and then switched to weightless Texas rigs and threw a couple of topwater baits as well,” continued Snellings. “I think the thing that made the difference was that we stayed focused and didn’t give-up on our area.
With the Northern Conference Championship on Philpott Lake, an hour and a half from Blacksburg, the Hokie team wanted to do everything they could to make the conference championship. Without being officially entered in Saturday’s tournament the team packed up their boat and headed to Lawrenceburg hoping they would be allowed in the tournament. As luck would have it and thanks to a few teams that decided not to make the trip, Virginia Tech was allowed to fish.
“This was the best day that you could have catching 7 ½- pounds,” said Jackson, a sophomore in agricultural technology. “It was tough, but we were able to grind it out. I’ll be glad to come back. We are pretty excited.”
Rounding out the top five teams and also advancing to the Northern Conference Championship are:
2nd: Ohio State – Larry Helmers and Matthew Tarr, four bass, 5-4, $1,500
3rd: Glenville State College – Brandon Abbott and Nick Lambert, three bass, 3-10, $1,000
4th: Xavier University – Tyler Styons and Ian Goddard, two bass, 3-10, $1,000
5th: Radford University – Ryan McCarthy and Steven Jarrells, three bass, 3-2, $1,000
Complete results can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.
Four regular-season qualifying events are held in each conference – Central, Northern, Southeastern, Southern and Western. The top five teams from each qualifying tournament will advance to one of five televised three-day National Guard FLW College Fishing Conference Championships, where the first-place team wins a Ranger 177TR bass boat with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard. The top five teams from each conference championship advance to the national championship.
The next Northern Conference event is scheduled for Aug. 18 at 1000 Islands in Clayton, N.Y.
College Fishing is free to enter and FLW provides boats and drivers for each competing team along with travel allowances. All participants must be registered, full-time undergraduate students at a four-year college or university and members of a fishing club recognized by their college or university.