Anglers took home $2,000 and other prizes in winner-take-all challenge between FLW and BoatUS collegiate qualifiers.
Paul Clark and Brett Preuett, collegiate anglers from the University of Louisiana-Monroe, won the Ranger Cup University Fish-Off in impressive fashion over anglers from Tennessee Tech. The tournament, which occurred September 22 on a private Oklahoma lake owned by Ranger Pro and professional bass fishing legend Jimmy Houston, pitted the two highest-qualifying teams from the FLW College Fishing Championship and the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing National Championship in a winner-take-all, made-for-TV event.
Clark and Pruett, who qualified for the expense-paid competition by being the highest-finishing Ranger Cup University-qualified team in the FLW College Fishing Championship, won both of the fishing sessions with nearly identical five-fish limits that weighed just over 20 pounds. A nondescript channel swing in the 125-acre lake produced all day for the ULM anglers and yielded kicker fish in excess of seven pounds. The concentration of big fish ultimately gave Clark and Preuett the edge over Tennessee Tech anglers Joe Slagle and Cliff Dye, who weren’t able to locate the same quality despite catching big numbers of bass. Slagle and Dye qualified for the event with their highest place of finish for a Ranger Cup University-qualified team at the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship on Lake Pickwick earlier this year.
“That was hands down the best fishery I’ve ever been to. We caught 125 to 150 fish during the six hours we competed and I would guess that 40 percent of them were over three pounds,” Clark said. “And the boats were perfect, we couldn’t have asked for a better set up. I’ve fished in aluminum boats all my life and I’ve never been in anything that stable and quiet.”
Fishing from new Ranger RT188C aluminum boats, the teams competed on a fishery that afforded them an experience that few other fisheries can match. Serenaded by the sounds of bugling bull elk and treated to the sight of large whitetail deer that roam the remotely located property surrounding the lake, the Louisiana-Monroe and Tennessee Tech anglers witnessed the quality and quantity of fish that are the result of a healthy, well-managed fishery. The weekend’s experience was capped by a private lunch at Houston’s on-site lodge where the collegiate anglers spent time with the event host and his other weekend guest, nine-time B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year Roland Martin.
“We got to sit around with Jimmy and Roland and talk about fishing, hunting, football, all kinds of things,” Clark said. “Ranger has always been good to us, always been there for us when we needed them. We didn’t get involved with the Ranger Cup University because of winning money or getting to have experiences like this, we always fished Ranger boats because they are top-of-the-line bass boats. But that you can win extra money and do cool things like fish Jimmy Houston’s lake just for winning a tournament you were going to fish anyway, I can’t imagine why someone wouldn’t sign up for it.”
Modeled after the most lucrative contingency program in the industry, the Ranger Cup, Ranger Cup University is open to collegiate anglers fishing in either FLW- or Boat US-affiliated competitions. Signup for Ranger Cup University is free and exclusively for collegiate anglers, regardless of which brand of boat they own. To remain qualified in the program, anglers need only adhere to clothing and decal requirements. The program also allows anglers to reap the rewards of a professionally run contingency program regardless of tournament results. As part of the Ranger Cup University program, participants will be able to receive discounts on already-discounted tournament through Gemini Custom Apparel, with no artwork or set-up fees. Through Gemini, anglers can purchase fully customized jerseys for as low as $48.
For more information on Ranger Cup University, including program guidelines, go online to RangerBoats.com.
Logo courtesy Ranger Boats