FLW College Fishing is headed to Wheeler Lake May 11-12 for the Southeastern Conference Invitational Tournament. Forty-five teams have qualified from each of the three regular-season events in the Southeastern Conference and will be competing for a top award of $4,000 and a berth in the 2014 College Fishing National Championship.
“There are going to be a lot of fish up shallow in this one,” said Straight Talk pro Scott Canterbury of Springville, Ala. “The fishing has been phenomenal on Wheeler. They’ve been crushing the prespawn fish all spring on the Alabama rig. The lake is at full pool now, though, and the fish are starting to pull up on the beds. There should be a lot of bed fishing happening.”
Canterbury suggested that the college anglers would be targeting the spawning bass by throwing a variety of creature and reaction baits.
“If I had never been to the lake before, I’d get up into the grass,” Canterbury said. “Most of the time on the Tennessee river fisheries the fish are offshore. But, the way that this spring is setting up, the majority of the fish will be up shallow. I’d get in the grass, or at least around the grass, throwing a swimjig, chatterbait, topwater or buzzbait. There are spots that are just loaded with grass, and finding those areas is going to be the key in this event.
“I think that the winning team will probably average around 16 to 17 pounds each day,” Canterbury went on to say. “The potential is there for some big weights. A team could get on them with the Alabama rig and easily catch over 20 pounds. I don’t think that anyone will be able to do it consistently, though.”
Anglers will take off from Joe Wheeler State Park located at 4601 McLean Drive in Rogersville, Ala., at 6:30 a.m. each day. Saturday’s weigh-in will be held at the take-off site beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday’s final weigh-in will be held at Walmart located at 3100 Hough Road in Florence, Ala. beginning at 2:30 p.m.
Schools that have qualified and are competing in the Southeastern Conference Invitational, which is hosted by the Florence/Lauderdale Tourism Bureau, include:
- Auburn University – Chris Seals, Odenville, Ala., and Shane Powell, Midland City, Ala.
- Auburn University – Garrett Roberts, Cullman, Ala., and Timmy Ward, Childersburg, Ala.
- Auburn University-Montgomery – Thomas Frink, Simi Valley, Calif., and Ronald Nummy, Prattville, Ala.
- Auburn University-Montgomery – Tyler Strock, Slapout, Ala., and Dalton Darnell, Millbrook, Ala.
- Augusta State University – Wesley Steinmeyer Jr., Appling, Ga., and Daniel Hughes, Thomson, Ga.
- Bethel University – Cody Ross and Dewey Swims, both of Jackson, Tenn.
- Birmingham-Southern University – Matthew Oliver, Gardendale, Ala., and Tim Trockenbrot, Roswell, Ga.
- Columbus State University – Nathan Griffin, Midland, Ga., and Brad Davis, Winder, Ga.
- Daytona State College – Thomas Oltorik and Scott Heaberlin, both of Deland, Fla.
- Elon University – William Gilbert, Manchester, Vt., and Nathan James, Greensboro, N.C.
- Florida Gulf Coast University – Brianne McMillan, Belle Glade, Fla., and Christian Smith, Coral Springs, Fla.
- Florida Gulf Coast University – Hunter Bozeman, Ocala, Fla., and Ryan Duffey, Fort Myers, Fla.
- Florida State University – Justin Mahon and Jason Mahon, both of Port Charlotte, Fla.
- Florida State University – Nicholas Harris, Marianna, Fla., and Brooks Woodward, Thomasville, Ga.
- Georgia Southern University – Dean Mullett, Marietta, Ga., and Dalton Anderson, Peachtree City, Ga.
- Georgia Southern University – Tanner Parker, Dalton, Ga., and Trent Palmer, Peachtree City, Ga.
- Indian River State College – Justin Morgan and Garrett Folbrecht, both of Okeechobee, Fla.
- Lincoln Memorial University – Chris Hunt, Loudon, Tenn., and Kyle Warwick, Oak Ridge, Tenn.
- Macon State College – Ethan Wallace and Taylor Kirby, both of Macon, Ga.
- Middle Tennessee State University – Nolen Spencer, Bell Buckle, Tenn., and Jonathon Reese, Fayetteville, Tenn.
- Mississippi State University – Justin Atkins, Columbus, Miss., and Drew Long, Bear Creek, Ala.
- Mississippi State University – Taylor Odom, Meridan, Miss., and Josh Cameron, Starkville, Miss.
- North Carolina State University – Josh Hooks, Raleigh, N.C., and Tyler Mayhew, Lexington, N.C.
- Polk State College – Forrest Greenfield and Austin Bell, both of Winter Haven, Fla.
- Santa Fe College – Drew Cook, Quincy, Fla., and Cameron Petras, Gainesville, Fla.
- Seminole State College –Kevin Lucas, Apopka, Fla., and Neal Combs, Osteen, Fla.
- Southern Polytechnic State University – Zachary Dixon, Rome, Ga., and Daniel Byrd, Fairburn, Ga.
- Tennessee Tech University – Adam Goodwin, Hendersonville, Tenn., and Cody Gass, Lynchburg, Tenn.
- Tennessee Tech University – Matthew Townson and Will Stansell, both of Cookeville, Tenn.
- Tennessee Tech University – Ryan Harpe and Chris Thomas, both of Cookeville, Tenn.
- Troy University – Connor Bedsole, Arab, Ala., and Bradley Norred, Morris, Ala.
- University of Alabama – Logan Johnson, Jasper, Ala., and Keith Kirkley, Northport, Ala.
- University of Alabama-Birmingham – Gregory Cain, Locust Fork, Ala., and Frank Doganiero, Gardendale, Ala.
- University of Central Florida – Casey O’Donnell, Bradenton, Fla., and Justin Darley, Ocala, Fla.
- University of North Alabama – Dawson Lenz, Peachtree City, Ga., and Evan Horne, Florence, Ala.
- University of North Alabama – Andrew Nutt, Lawrenceburg, Tenn., and Robb Young, Rogersville, Ala.
- University of North Carolina-Charlotte – Shane Lehew, Charlotte, N.C., and Eric Self, Lawndale, N.C.
- University of South Alabama – Ethan Wages and Jennings Earnest, both of Mobile, Ala.
- University of South Florida – Matthew Reeves, Hilliard, Fla., and Nick Ahearn, Sebring, Fla.
- University of Tennessee – Jordan Burdette and Adam Wozek, both of Knoxville, Tenn.
- University of Tennessee-Chattanooga – Taylor Bolton, Chattanooga, Tenn., and Parker Bacon, Nashville, Tenn.
- University of Tennessee-Martin – Alex Derry, Martin, Tenn., and Hayden Smith, Dickson, Tenn.
- Valdosta State University – Grant Colson and Michael Harbach, both of Valdosta, Ga.
- Young Harris College – Furman Thompson, Clayton, Ga., and Grayson Payne, Blairsville, Ga.
- Young Harris College – Brad Rutherford, Lavonia, Ga., and Matthew Peeler, Griffin, Ga.
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 qualified 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.
Logo courtesy FLW Outdoors