The hometown University of Louisiana-Monroe team of Tyler Stewart and Nicholas Joiner, both of West Monroe, Louisiana, won the FLW College Fishing Southern Conference event on the Ouachita River Saturday with five bass weighing 16 pounds, 9 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and advanced the team to the 2017 FLW College Fishing National Championship.
“It feels great to win this event,” says Stewart, a junior majoring in business administration. “Being from the local school there was a lot of pressure on us to do well.”
“Today we showed that we can defend our home waters, and that’s awesome,” says Joiner, a junior majoring in agriculture. “It gives the young anglers coming in as freshmen some hope that they can do well in this program.”
The duo says they spent their day picking apart a creek in the D’Arbonne Bayou. They say they ran along its edges and backwaters, flipping stumps and laydowns.
“We caught 90 percent of our fish flipping a V&M Adrenaline Flippin’ Jig with a V&M Wild Thang Craw trailer,” says Joiner. “We’d flip it to a stump and let it drop, or cast and reel in before letting it drop. It was a slow process, but one of our main goals was to be extremely quiet. We stayed off of the trolling motor and push-poled our way through the backwaters.”
Stewart says they also caught 80 keepers on the day, also catching a portion using a black and chartreuse-colored WEC Custom Lures E1 square-billed crankbait.
“We hit flurries of about 20 fish at a time, and then would go 30 minutes with only a bite or two,” says Stewart. “We used the E1 when there wasn’t much brush around.”
Joiner says he caught a 5-pound, 12-ounce kicker on the Flippin’ Jig to help anchor their limit and push the team to the top of the standings.
The top 10 teams that advanced to the 2017 College Fishing National Championship
1st: University of Louisiana-Monroe – Tyler Stewart and Nicholas Joiner, both of West Monroe, La., five bass, 16-9, $2,000
2nd: University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff – Cody Salzmann, Dickeyville, Wis., and Aaron Porterfield, White Hall, Ark., five bass, 15-15, $1,000
3rd: Stephen F. Austin University – Chance Forrest, Anna, Texas, and Seth Hausman, Nacogdoches, Texas, five bass, 13-14, $500
4th: Arkansas Tech University – Hampton Hasek, Maumelle, Ark., and Jordan Ogle, Oppelo, Ark., five bass, 12-12, $500
5th: University of Louisiana-Monroe – Slade Daniel, Marion, La., and Tyler Craig, Frierson, La., five bass, 12-6, $500
6th: Harding University – Ethan Flowers, Dexter, Missouri, and Cole Swede, Little Rock, Ark., five bass, 12-5
7th: East Texas Baptist University – Brett Clark, Center, Texas, and Jacob Keith, Jefferson, Texas, five bass, 12-4
8th: Northwestern State University – Nicholas Messenger, Powhatan, La., and Scott Fair, Many, La., five bass, 11-10
9th: Dallas Baptist University – Trent Newman, Midlothian, Texas, and Colt Benedict, Forney, Texas, five bass, 11-5
10th: University of Arkansas-Monticello – Trey Rainwater, Bastrop, La., and Drew Fleming, Hamburg, Ark., five bass, 11-4
This FLW College Fishing Southern Conference event on the Ouachita River was the third and final regular-season qualifying tournament in the Southern conference.
FLW College Fishing teams competed in regular-season qualifying tournaments in one of five conferences – Central, Northern, Southern, Southeastern and Western.
The top 10 teams from each division’s three regular-season tournaments and the top 15 teams from the annual FLW College Fishing Open advanced to the 2017 FLW College Fishing National Championship, held May 31-June 2 on Wheeler Lake in Florence, Alabama.
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.
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