The Utah Valley University team of Zachari Taylor and Aaron Warner won the National Guard FLW College Fishing Western Conference event on Clear Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 19 pounds, 10 ounces. The victory earned the team $5,000. The win also helped them advance to the Western Conference Regional Championship.
“This was both mine and Zach’s first time on the lake,” said Warner. “Neither one of us knew the lake at all so we started out doing what we know best, drop-shotting, and caught a couple of bass right away. Things just kept going from there. The morning bite was hot, we had six bass in the first three hours and then nothing for the last three.
“We tried to keep it simple and stick with things that we know work in Utah, Warner continued. “We were mostly drop-shotting Robo Worms, beavers, and Senkos.”
The team from Utah Valley was originally wait listed and didn’t really expect to fish much less win the tournament. They went along for the ride with another team from Utah Valley with the hopes of getting the opportunity to fish and maybe learning something new on a different lake if by chance they did get the opportunity to fish. Neither young man ever expected today’s outcome.
“Once we found out that we jwere in the tournament our only goal was to catch five fish,” said Taylor. “I think the biggest thing for us today was that we were patient and really slowed down our fishing.
“We caught two fish off of beds, this was the first time I have ever bed fished,” Taylor went on to say. “We would cast on the beds and then back-off so as not to spook the bass. We were two for two. Drop-shotting Robo Worms and Senkos worked awesome for us.
Rounding out the top five teams and also advancing to the Central Regional Championship are:
2nd: Colorado State University – Keane Velez, Fort Collins, Colo., and Benjamin Robey, Pleasant Hill, Iowa
(five bass, 18-6, $1,500)
3rd:Humboldt State University – Jen Edgar, Arcata, Calif., and Derrick Hicks, Lincoln, Calif. (five bass, 16-15, $1,000)
4th: Arizona State University – Chris Fairbanks, Mesa Ariz., and Doug Coplan, Tempe, Ariz. (five bass, 14-6, $1,000)
5th: Humboldt State University – Joe Won, Arcata, Calif., and Shaun Maki, Chino Hills, Calif. (five bass, 13-15, $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, where the first-place team wins $25,000 for their school and $50,000 cash plus a Ranger 177TR bass boat with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard for their fishing club.
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.
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.
photo: FLW Outdoors