The Ramapo College team of Joseph and Andrew Zapf, both of Whippany, N.J., won the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event on Smith Mountain Lake Saturday with a five-bass limit weighing 12 pounds, 14 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and advanced the team to the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference Invitational tournament.
“I’ve had some pretty big tournament wins in the past,” said Joseph, the older brother who is a junior majoring in Accounting. “I’ve fished quite a few college events, and we even won a regional a few years ago. This one was special, though. I got to fish with my little brother, and it is pretty cool to be able to get the win.”
The brothers earned their victory by targeting bedding fish, flipping both a white-colored Zoom Speed Craw and a white Strike King Rage Craw. Four of their five-bass limit came flipping, while one fell prey to a shaky-head rig.
“Neither of us had ever been fishing on Smith Mountain Lake before,” Joseph continued. “We studied maps on Google Earth and decided to really key in on the Bull Run area.”
“While researching past events on this lake, I noticed that Skeet Reese had won a major tournament here a few years back,” said Andrew, a freshman majoring in Finance. “I decided that instead of trying to break down the entire lake, we were really going to concentrate on the area where Skeet had won. We worked the banks in the Bull Run and Little Bull Run area and stuck to our game plan.”
“That was really the key for us,” Joseph said. “We executed our game plan perfectly. We stayed in the one creek and ground out the entire day.”
The brothers did only boat five bass throughout the entire day, but it was enough.
“Our goal coming in was just to qualify for the invitational tournament,” Andrew went on to say. “To come out and get the win with my brother has been a great experience.”
The top 15 teams that advanced to the Northern Conference Invitational tournament are:
1st: Ramapo College – Joseph Zapf and Andrew Zapf, both of Whippany, N.J. (five bass, 12-14, $2,000)
2nd: Virginia Tech University – Ricky Kassebaum, Salem, Va., and John Woodward, Blacksburg, Va. (five bass, 10-12, $1,000)
3rd: Radford University – George Fleming, Lorton, Va., and Tanner Blanks, South Boston, Va. (four bass, 9-7, $500)
4th: Pennsylvania State University – Stephan Tull, Media, Pa., and Andrew Severns, Finleyville, Pa. (five bass, 8-7, $500)
5th: Radford University – Justin Witten, Radford, Va., and Philip Cox, Hiwassee, Va. (four bass, 8-0, $500)
6th: Slippery Rock University – Tyler Branca, Hermitage, Pa., and Benjamin Tawney, Fayetteville, N.C. (four bass, 7-8)
7th: Bowling Green State University – Zachary Goeglein, Livonia, Mich., and Kevin Klensch, Cincinnati, Ohio (three bass, 6-4)
8th: Youngstown State University – Zachary Alcorn, New Philadelphia, Ohio, and Charles Cremeans, Youngstown, Ohio (three bass, 6-4)
9th: Lynchburg College – Luke Taylor, Jefferson City, Mo., and Graham Byrd, Farram, Va. (two bass, 6-3)
10th: Radford University – Zachary Meadows, Radford, Va., and Austin Cox, Hiwassee, Va. (three bass, 6-2)
11th: Radford University – Blaine Chitwood, Wirtz, Va., and Cole Campbell, Bassett, Va. (three bass, 6-1)
12th: Ohio State University – Zach Ring, Columbus, Ohio, Daniel Briem, Wapakoneta, Ohio (three bass, 5-15)
13th: State University of New York-Plattsburgh – John McDougall, Queensbury, N.Y., and Nate Lewis, Tinmouth, Vt. (three bass, 5-8)
14th: Ohio University – Dan Burtenshaw, Athens, Ohio, and Ryan Dentscheff, Warren, Ohio (two bass, 5-6)
15th: Virginia Tech University – Trey Stewartson, Moneta, Va., and Andrew Jackson, Abingdon, Va. (one bass, 4-5)
FLW College Fishing teams compete in four qualifying events in one of five conferences – Central, Northern, Southern, Southeastern and Western. The top fifteen teams from each regular-season tournament will qualify for one of five conference invitational tournaments. The top ten teams from each conference invitational tournament will advance to the 2014 FLW College Fishing National Championship.
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.
The next FLW College Northern Conference qualifying tournament is scheduled for June 22 on the Potomac River in Marbury, Md.
Logo courtesy FLW Outdoors