The Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville team of Zach Hartnagel of Edwardsville, Ill., and Brian Gass of Fallon, Ill., won the National Guard FLW College Fishing Central Conference event on Lake Shelbyville Sunday with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 2 ounces. The victory earned the team $5,000 for their fishing club. The win also helped them advance to the Central Conference Championship.

“This feels great, especially after not doing very well in our practice” said Hartnagel, a Criminal Justice Major. “Right after takeoff we ran to our first spot and found three boats already sitting on it. So, we decided to adjust and ran to another spot that we had found during our practice. We went shallow and found a nice point where there was some structure – submerged timber and rock piles. We caught four right away by 7 a.m. using Brian’s grandfather’s homemade spinnerbaits. Then it really slowed down, and it took until noon until we were able to catch number five.”

“I think the key to our victory today was just grinding it out,” said Gass, a Geographic Information Systems Major. “My grandpa has been making homemade spinnerbaits for 15 years, and they are a bit of a family secret. White was the color that produced for us today. He and I have both won tournaments on them in the past.”

“We caught our fifth one out deep, using jigs,” Hartnagel went on to say. “It was mid-lake area, in around 25 feet of water. We’re really excited to qualify for the conference championship. We live pretty close to Carlyle Lake, and we should be able to put in some quality practice hours.”

Rounding out the top five teams and also advancing to the Central Conference Championship are:

2nd: Eastern Illinois University – Chase Sanford, Charleston, Ill., and Lee Buehnerkemper, Teutopolis, Ill., (five bass, 12-12, $1,500)

3rd:  University of Wisconsin-Platteville – Evan Chambers, St. Charles, Ill., and Stephen Conroy, Platteville, Wis., (five bass, 12-4, $1,000)

4th:  Southern Illinois University – Jacob Koester, Teutopolis, Ill., and Andrew Schessler, Carbondale, Ill., (four bass, 11-10, $1,000)

5th:  Eastern Kentucky University – John Smith, London, Ky., and Kyle Raymer, Brandenburg, Ky. (five bass, 10-14, $1,000)

Complete results can be found at CollegeFishing.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.

The next National Guard FLW College Central Conference tournament is scheduled for July 28 on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wis.

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.

Image courtesy FLW Outdoors

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