Cooler weather could scatter bass and open up more water for fishing
National Guard FLW College Fishing is headed to Lake Wylie Sept. 27-29 for the Southeastern Conference Championship presented by Evinrude. 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.
“Anglers are going to have to keep an open mind,” said Chevy pro Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C. “It’s going to be hard to go out there and catch all your fish with one primary bait. They are going to have to be versatile. They might catch one bass using a topwater bait, one on a jig, one on a laydown, one on a shaky head . . . it’s going to take a hodge-podge of baits. They should plan to fish a little bit of everything and expect to do a lot of running and gunning.
“The cooler weather is going to scatter the fish,” Thrift went on to say. “The fish are going to be anywhere from 6 inches to 30 feet deep. The key is going to be able to find a good school of fish that are biting. You may be able to fish the same school all three days, but it’s probably going to take a couple of good schools of fish to win. The bass are probably going to be sitting on ambush places waiting for the bait fish to move in — these would be good areas to target.”
According to Thrift, unlike the Tennessee River system, Lake Wylie bass don’t necessarily play by the same set of rules that say bass school by size. One school can produce a 3-pound bass just as easily as a 1-pound bass. Thrift added that it will probably take 12 to 14 pounds a day to win the tournament.
Anglers will take off from Ebenezer Park located at 4490 Boatshore Road in Rock Hill, S.C., at 7:30 a.m. each morning. Weigh-ins will be at Walmart located at 4875 Old York Road in Rock Hill, S.C., beginning at 4 p.m. each day. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.
Schools competing in the Southeastern Conference Championship, hosted by Rock Hill/York County Convention and Visitors Bureau, include:
- Auburn University – Jordan Lee and Shane Powell, both of Auburn, Ala.
- Auburn University – Matt Lee and Chris Seals, both of Auburn, Ala.
- Auburn University of Montgomery – Dalton Darnell and Tyler Strock, both of Deatsville, Ala.
- Daytona State College – Thomas Oltorik, Deland, Fla., and Jason Frazee, Debary, Fla.
- Georgia Southern – Justin Hewlett, Statesboro, Ga., and Geoffrey Hill, Kennesaw, Ga.
- Indian River State College – Kyle Monti and Mike Cornell, both of Okeechobee, Fla.
- Mississippi College – Adam Horn, Madison, Miss., and Chip Wells, Columbus, Miss.
- Mississippi State – Chesley Heatherly, Vernon, Ala., and Shane Howington, Hokes Bluff, Ala.
- North Carolina State University – Ethan Cox, West End, N.C., and Clinton Benbow, Statesville, N.C.
- Seminole State College – Neal Combs, Osteen, Fla., and Kevin Lucas, Orlando, Fla.
- Southern Mississippi – Daniel Netterville, Gloster, Miss., and Dax Graham, Hattiesburg, Miss.
- Tennessee Tech – Joe Slagle, Bristol, Tenn., and Matthew Clay, Madisonville, Tenn.
- Tennessee Tech – Matt Quinn, Brentwood, Tenn., and Kenneth Zainal, Cookeville, Tenn.
- Troy University – Connor Bedsole, Arab, Ala., and Hunter Graham, Troy, Ala.
- University of Central Florida – Miles Burghoff, Orlando, Fla., and Casey O’Donnell, Bradenton, Fla.
- University of North Carolina-Charlotte – Eric Self, Lawndale, N.C., and Tyler Beam, Cherryville, N.C.
- University of North Carolina-Charlotte – Shane Lehew, Charlotte, N.C., and Adam Waters, Denver, N.C.
- University of Alabama – Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala., and Logan Johnson, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
- Wake Forest University – Graham Rich, Winston Salem, N.C., and Thomas Gravitt, King, N.C.
- Wake Forest University – Ryan Casey and Brad Silver, both of Roanoke Rapids, N.C
Fans will be treated to the FLW Expo at Walmart on Thursday and Friday from 2–4 p.m. and Saturday from noon–4 p.m. prior to weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors. Fans can also learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public.
Four regular-season qualifying events were held in each conference – Central, Northern, Southeastern, Southern and Western – and the top five teams from each regular-season event qualified for one of the five conference championships. The top five teams from each conference championship advance to the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship.
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.
Coverage of the Southeastern Conference Championship will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs Dec. 23 from 1-2 p.m. EST. “FLW” 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.
Logo courtesy FLW