The National Guard FLW College Fishing Southern Conference Championship on Lake Dardanelle wrapped up its third day of competition Saturday in Russellville, Ark., in cold and rainy conditions. At the end of the day, the Stephen F. Austin team of Kyle Turner of Kennedale, Texas, and Robert Platt of Tyler, Texas, weighed in five bass for 16 pounds, 3 ounces to stand as champions with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 44 pounds, 8 ounces. For their victory the team won 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.
“This is awesome,” Turner said. “For SFA to come in here and repeat is awesome. We were 3 ounces out of the lead yesterday and we just put our heads down and took it one bite at a time, and it really worked out for us.
“We made a game plan sitting in the hotel room last night to prepare for a water change and a temperature change,” Turner added. “We were going for a reaction bite. So we tied on a Rat-L-Trap, because that’s what we’d be doing right now back home. It really worked out for us.”
Turner said the team had been catching fish earlier in the week on topwater baits and still caught a lot of keepers Saturday on topwaters, but the Rat-L-Trap made the bigger fish bite when the team really needed them to.
Platt agreed the team made the right decision on the final day of competition to fish a bait and presentation that made them comfortable.
“It’s pretty typical when there’s a lot of milfoil grass in the lake, which hasn’t been here for that long … it’s just like fishing Rayburn back home,” Platt added. “When it cools off and it gets a little tougher you’ve got to get a reaction bite. There’s no better way in the grass to do it than with a (Rat-L-Trap).
“We knew with the top five being as close as it was that we were going to have to go out and catch them,” Platt added. “We never felt satisfied. We really wouldn’t have been satisfied with 20 (pounds). We weren’t really satisfied until it was all over.”
Top-five final results:
1st: Stephen F. Austin – Kyle Turner, Kennedale, Texas, and Robert Platt, Tyler, Texas, 15 bass, 44-8
2nd: University of Louisiana-Monroe – Paul Clark, Pineville, La., and Brett Preuett, Monroe, La., 14 bass, 43-10, $5,000
3rd: Angelo State – Ethan George, Breckenridge, Texas, and Josh Seale, San Angelo, Texas, 14 bass, 41-13, $3,000
4th: Lamar University – Danny Iles, Evadale, Texas, and Justin Royal, Hemphill, Texas, 12 bass, 37-5, $3,000
5th: LSU-Shreveport – Joseph Landry, Haughton, La., and Gavin Havard, West Monroe, La., 13 bass, 33-5, $3,000
For complete results visit CollegeFishing.com.
Four regular-season qualifying events were held in each conference – Central, Northern, Southeastern, Southern and Western – the top five teams from each regular-season event qualified for one of 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 Southern Conference Championship will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs Dec. 30 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.
TBF along with FLW held the High School Southern Conference Championship on Saturday in conjunction with the FLW College Fishing Southern Conference Championship. Teams from across the region were competing and Matt Neiburg and Zach Madsen, both of Blaire, Neb., representing Blair High School, won the tournament, which was also held on Lake Dardanelle, with a five-bass limit weighing 15-0.
The team beat their closest competitor, Little Axe High School/Depew High School, by 2 pounds.
“We caught them on Senkos, and it was tough,” said Madsen, a senior at Blair. “We caught two right away and then we caught two more.”
“We went to a spot and I threw a Senko and had a good one on, and we just kept on throwing that Senko,” said Neiburg, a senior at Blair. We were told to keep throwing it and it might only be a fish an hour, but it might also get it done.”
Final High School results:
1st: Blair High School – Matt Neiburg and Zach Madsen, both of Blaire, Neb., five bass, 15-0
2nd: Little Axe High School/Depew High School – Trevor Yates, Norman, Okla., and Wyatt Smith, Depew, Okla., five bass, 13-0
3rd: Greenbrier High School – Devin Baxley, North Little Rock, Ark., and T.J. Miller, Greenbrier, Ark., four bass, 9-2
4th: Corrigan-Camden High School – Clay Nash and Wyatt Frankens, both of Corrigan, Texas, two bass, 4-10
5th: Louisiana SAF – Hunter Venable and Jude Boudreaux, both of Houma, La., two bass, 4-9
High School Fishing Tournaments are open to all ninth, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students, including home schooled students that are members of the Student Angler Federation. The winning team from each state championship advances to a High School Fishing Conference Championship. Boats are provided upon request at all Conference Championships. The winning team from each Conference Championship will receive trophies and commemorative jerseys, and advance to the 2013 High School Fishing National Championship, held in conjunction with the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship in the spring.
Each member of the winning National High School Fishing Championship team will receive a $5,000 scholarship to use at the University of their choice. Teams participating in the conference championships and National Championship will also receive a travel allowance to help offset their expenses.
Image courtesy FLW Outdoors