Both anglers fishing in their very first FLW College fishing tournament, the California Polytechnic State University duo of sophomore Nick Rinauro of San Jose, California, and freshman Alec Pitts of Santa Rosa, California, won the FLW College Fishing Western Conference opener on Shasta Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 12 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and qualified the team for the 2017 FLW College Fishing National Championship.
Despite being College Fishing rookies, the Cal Poly squad were very comfortable on the water. Both were accomplished TBF/FLW High School Fishing anglers, Rinauro for Leland High School in San Jose and Pitts for Analy High School in Sebastopol.
“We definitely didn’t expect to get the win this week in our first tournament, but it feels great,” says Rinauro, an agricultural business major. “We’ve been following the Costa FLW Series event all week and knew that the lake was fishing pretty tough. We didn’t find much yesterday in the one day of practice that we had, so to come out and get the win is surprising, but awesome.”
The duo says they keyed in on an area where they found clear water, in the McCloud River arm.
“A lot of teams ran up the Sacramento River arm, so we were trying to avoid that and do something different,” Rinauro elaborates. “The water was really muddy, but we found a stretch that had clear water and current.”
Rinauro and Pitts boated a quick limit in the McCloud arm using swimbaits, jigs and shaky-head rigs before leaving to hunt for kickers.
“We moved out to the main lake and ended up running a lot, spot to spot,” details Pitts, a construction management major. “We caught 20 to 25 fish throughout the day. Our two big fish (a 4- and 5-pounder) came off of two different points in the main lake.”
“I think the key for us today was that we used larger bait profiles then many of the other teams,” Rinauro says. “We used bigger swimbaits, longer worms and bigger jig trailers and that seemed like the difference for us.”
The top 10 teams advanced to the 2017 College Fishing National Championship:
1. California Polytechnic State University – Nick Rinauro, San Jose, Calif., and Alec Pitts, Santa Rosa, Calif. – 12-3 (5) – $2,000
2. California State University-Sacramento – Tanner Austin, El Dorado Hills, Calif., and Ethan Clark, Elk Grove, Calif. – 10-9 (5) – $1,000
3. California State University-Chico – Andrew Loberg, Rocklin, Calif., and Travis Bounds, Roseville, Calif. – 10-2 (4) – $500
4. California State University-Chico – Carson Leber, Dixon, Calif., and Lucas Boxwell, Auburn, Calif. – 9-10 (5) – $500
5. University of Oregon – Jacob Wall, Jacksonville, Ore., and Dalton Taylor, Eugene, Ore. – 9-1 (5) – $500
6. California State University-Chico – Kevin Chen and Koulton Westbrook, both of Vacaville, Calif. – 8-10 (5)
7. California State University – Cole Thomas, Lakewood, Calif., and Via Thao, Long Beach, Calif. – 7-12 (5)
8.California Polytechnic State University – Johan Eide, Sebastopol, Calif., and Colton Farquer, Oakdale, Calif. – 7-11 (5)
9. California Polytechnic State University – Clayton Lauchland, Sebastopol, Calif., and Christopher Leclair, Oakdale, Calif. – 7-10 (5)
10. University of Oregon – Ryan Habenicht, Creswell, Ore., and Daniel Marshall, Eugene, Ore. – 7-9 (5)
This FLW College Fishing Western Conference event was the first regular-season qualifying tournament in the Western conference. The next event for Western Conference anglers is a tournament scheduled for April 23 on Clear Lake in Lakeport, California.
FLW College Fishing teams compete in regular-season qualifying tournaments in one of five conferences – Central, Northern, Southern, Southeastern and Western. The top ten teams from each division’s three regular-season tournaments and the top 15 teams from the annual FLW College Fishing Open will advance to the 2017 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 college fishing club.
For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow 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.