National Guard FLW College Fishing is headed to Utah Lake Aug. 30-Sept. 1 for the Western Conference Championship. Twenty college teams will be competing for a Ranger Z117 bass boat with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and a berth in the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship tournament.
“The key to this event will be to capitalize on every bite,” said EverStart Series pro Roy Hawk of Salt Lake City, Utah, who has more than $375,000 in career winnings with FLW. “There will be a lot of traffic on the main areas, and one or two missed fish can really cost a guy on Utah Lake.
“The lake is a very large, natural body of water,” Hawk continued. “The entire lake is very shallow and slightly off-color, and shallow-water techniques will be the pattern. A lot of flipping and pitching will be going on. Anglers are going to be throwing spinnerbaits, shallow crankbaits, buzzbaits and topwater lures. Some will be frogging, too. I’d target 2 to 4 feet of water, and work the river and creek inlets and the boat docks and marinas. The key stuff is going to be very busy.”
Hawk predicted that the winning team would average around 12 pounds a day, but said he would not be surprised if some team weights were much higher.
“I’d guess 36 pounds will win this tournament,” said Hawk. “However, there are quite a few 7- or 8-pounders in the lake as well, so if someone was really dialed in, we could easily see a 20-pound bag. My advice to the college anglers would be to really take your time when you’re running around. The lake is so shallow – you may see a spot a mile away which looks good, but it’s only two feet of water for that entire mile. Slow down and take your time. Also, keep your eye on the weather. The lake is very exposed in the valley, and if the wind picks up it can get real bad, real quick. It definitely could play a factor here.”
Anglers will take off from Utah Lake State Park located at 4400 West Center St. in Provo, Utah, at 7:00 a.m. each day. Weigh-ins will be held at the Walmart located at 1355 Sandhill Road in Orem, Utah, beginning at 4:00 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.
Fans will be treated to the FLW Expo at Walmart on Thursday and Friday from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday from noon-4 p.m. before the weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public.
FLW College Fishing teams compete in four qualifying events in one of five conferences – Central, Northern, Southern, Southeastern and Western. The top five teams from each conference championship tournament advance to the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship where the first-place team wins $25,000 for their school and $50,000 and a Ranger Z117 bass boat with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard, as well as a birth in the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing.
College Fishing is free to enter and FLW Outdoors 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.
Coverage of the Western Conference Championship will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs Nov. 4 from 1-2 p.m. ET. “FLW College Fishing” is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 559 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
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 of FLW Outdoors