FLW College Fishing is headed to Pickwick Lake Sept. 26-27 for the Southeastern Conference Championship tournament. Forty-five college teams have qualified for this event and will be competing for a top award of $4,000 and a berth in the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship.
“I know that Pickwick is traditionally known as a ledge fishery, but that is just not the case right now,” says Walmart FLW Tour pro Jason Lambert of Pickwick Dam, Tenn., who has six top-10 finishes on Pickwick Lake in his FLW career. “There is so much grass and hydrilla in this lake right now – the most that I have ever seen. The grass bite is going to be very strong in this tournament, and I predict that is how it will be won.
“We’re finally starting to get the first cold fronts of the fall coming through,” Lambert continues. “The schooling activity seems to be a little bit behind schedule. Usually at this point of the year we have some fish up on top chasing bait, but we haven’t really seen that yet. By the time the tournament rolls around the topwater bite could start to play a little bit, as could throwing a frog, but I think that flipping the grass will be the dominant pattern.”
Lambert predicts that the winning team will have a two-day weight of about 34 or 35 pounds.
“I would recommend just picking up a plastic of some kind, going to the grass and just going fishing,” adds Lambert. “Grass fishing is a lot like ledge fishing. You can fish two miles of grass, then find a 30-yard stretch where you’ll get seven good bites. The key for the college anglers will be finding those productive stretches.”
Teams could also take cues from Aaron Harrelson, the winner of the recent Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division Super Tournament on Pickwick. Harrelson located a small creek channel in the grass and exploited it with a spinnerbait, a jig and a big worm. Details of his winning pattern can be found here, and he also appeared on the most recent episode of the FLW Podcast.
Schools registered to compete in the Southeastern Conference Championship hosted by Visit Florence include:
Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College – Blake Yarbrough and Taylor Thompson
Appalachian State University – Charlie Sipe and Matthew Reid
Appalachian State University – Ethan Howell and Hunter Hill
Auburn University – Ethan Hayes and Garrett Roberts
Auburn University – Mitchell Jennings and Timmy Ward
Bethel University – Hunter Louden and Chase Aulidge
Clemson University – Patrick Williford and Briggs Kennington
Clemson University – Ross Burns and Isaac Nesbitt
Darton State College – Wesley Griner and Dalton Dedge
Daytona State College – James Oltorik and Thomas Oltorik
East Carolina University – Michael Corbishley and Zachary Blalock
Florida Gulf Coast University – Zane Xanders and Hunter Bozeman
Florida State University – Drew Cook and Cody Spears
Gadsden State Community College – Josh Oliver and Colby Smith
Gadsden State Community College – Nathan George and Russell Sapp
Georgia College & State University – Justin Singleton and Ryan Stewart
Georgia Highlands College – Eric Fisher and Jake Akin
Georgia Southern University – Dean Mullett and Trent Palmer
Lander University – Ben Stone and Collin Smith
Middle Georgia State University – Ethan Wallace and Mark Denney
Mississippi State University – Joseph Marty and Grant Galloway
North Carolina State University – Grayson Barber and Thomas Gomez
Seminole State College – Kevin Hires and Phillip Heyde
Tennessee Technological University – Matt Allen and Zach Youngblood
University of Alabama – Ethan Flack and Charles Hurst
University of Alabama – John Davis and Payton McGinnis
University of Alabama-Birmingham – Alex Wolfe and Austin Handley
University of Alabama-Birmingham – Matthew Oliver and Justin Woodruff
University of Florida – Hunter Bland and Tim Parker
University of Florida – Shelby Concon and Grant Bergeron
University of North Alabama – Dawson Lenz and Andrew Tate
University of North Alabama – Austin Mize and Brad Vice
University of North Alabama – Clint Frederick and Cody Harrison
University of North Alabama – John Maner and Colt Kelso
University of North Carolina-Charlotte – John Auten and Cole Blythe
University of South Carolina – Chris Blanchette and Hampton Anderson
University of South Carolina – Patrick Walters and Josh Rennebaum
University of Tennessee-Chattanooga – Gavyn Bridges and Blake Lee
University of Tennessee-Chattanooga – Dillon Falardeau and Patrick Hoskins
University of Tennessee-Chattanooga – Sam Mughal and Luke Lackey
University of West Georgia – Kenny Johnson and Brandon Black
University of West Georgia – Matthew Colbert and Tyler Collins
Western Carolina University – Austin Neary and Alex Frazier
Western Carolina University – Caleb Nuckols and Adam King
Western Carolina University – Tyler Thomasson and Josh Cannon
Format: The full field competes on day one and the top 15 teams fish on day two. Winner determined by two-day cumulative weight.
Takeoff time: 7 a.m. CT
Takeoff location: McFarland Park, 200 James M. Spain Drive, Florence, Ala.
Day one weigh-in time: 3 p.m. CT
Day one weigh-in location: McFarland Park
Day two weigh-in time: 4:00 p.m. CT
Day two weigh-in time: Walmart, 3100 Hough Road, Florence, Ala.
FLW College Fishing teams compete in qualifying tournaments in one of five conferences – Central, Northern, Southern, Southeastern and Western. The top 15 teams from each regular-season tournament qualify for their respective Conference Championship tournaments. The top 10 teams from each of the five Conference Championship tournaments will advance to the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship.
College Fishing is free to enter. All participants must be registered, full-time students at a college, university or community college and members of a fishing club recognized by their college or university.
For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow FLW 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.