The University of Alabama team of Anderson Aldag of Birmingham, Alabama, and Lee Mattox of Bremen, Alabama, won the YETI College Fishing Southeastern Conference opener on Lake Seminole Saturday with five bass weighing 21 pounds, 15 ounces. The victory earned the club a $2,000 club scholarship and advanced the team to the 2018 FLW College Fishing National Championship.
“Our goal coming into this tournament was to qualify for the National Championship and we did it,” said Aldag, a junior majoring in business finance. “It’ll be my first time competing at that event, and I couldn’t be more excited.”
“It felt absolutely incredible to win this one,” said Mattox, a junior majoring in chemical engineering. “It is great exposure for our club and a nice win on our team’s resume.”
The duo said they spent the beginning of their day at a deep hole in a stump field they had found in practice. The area was a 50-yard stretch of water on the south end of the lake.
“The hole was near a spawning area and was 25- to 30-feet-deep in the middle,” said Mattox. “The stumps were right below the surface. We used a Sexy Ghost Minnow-colored Strike King KVD Jerkbait, which is a little unconventional this early in the season. Not many teams throw were throwing jerkbaits because the fish aren’t active enough yet.
“Within minutes we had a couple of bass that weighed around 5 pounds, and then I hooked into one that was 9 pounds,” continued Mattox. “By 10 a.m. we had four fish that weighed about 20 pounds and we were shaking from excitement.”
Mattox credited the clear water within their stretch as the key to their success. He said the rest of the lake was muddy, and their baits wouldn’t have produced as much in those conditions.
“We finished the day at some matted grass in the same creek, but about a half-mile away,” said Aldag. “It was also fairly deep – about 13 feet down. We flipped the edge using a green-pumpkin-purple Strike King KVD Perfect Plastic Rodent, and made a couple of culls toward the end of the day.”
“It’s never worked out this well for us before,” said Mattox. “It was an amazing day for the both of us.”
The top 10 teams that advanced to the 2018 College Fishing National Championship are:
1st: University of Alabama – Anderson Aldag, Birmingham, Ala., and Lee Mattox, Bremen, Ala., five bass, 21-15, $2,000 Club Scholarship
2nd: Mississippi State University – Caleb Hebert, Poplarville, Miss., and Jack Stegall, Carriere, Miss., five bass, 18-4, $1,000 Club Scholarship
3rd: Calhoun Community College – Jordan Reeves, Hillsboro, Ala., and Denver Satterlee, Athens, Ala., five bass, 16-7, $500 Club Scholarship
4th: University of West Alabama – Charles Lewis, Linden, Ala., and Andrew Warbington, Coker, Ala., five bass, 15-13, $500 Club Scholarship
5th: Bryan College – D.J. Barber, Gardendale, Ala., and Matt Brown, Corbin, Ky., five bass, 15-9, $500 Club Scholarship
6th: University of Central Florida – Jacob Romani, Orlando, Fla., and Cole Hewett, Orange Park, Fla., five bass, 14-12
7th: Auburn University – Cameron Mercer, Deatsville, Ala., and Cole Burdeshaw, Newville, Ala., four bass, 12-14
8th: University of Tennessee-Chattanooga – Gavyn Bridges, Thompson Station, Tenn., and Dylan Anderson, Mount Juliet, Tenn., four bass, 12-3
9th: University of South Carolina – Tyler All, Dorchester, S.C., and Patrick Walters, Summerville, S.C., five bass, 12-2
10th: Mississippi State University – Andrew Brown, Gordo, Ala., and Cody Peak, Centreville, Miss., four bass, 11-15
FLW also advances one additional team to the National Championship for every 10 teams over 100 that compete. A total of 140 teams participated in this event, so also advancing to the 2018 College Fishing National Championship are:
11th: Auburn University – Josh Oliver, Anniston, Ala., and Dalton Childers, Morris, Ala., five bass, 11-6
12th: Augusta University – Zachary Ramsey, Augusta, Ga., and Joshua Rockefeller, Harlem, Ga., five bass, 11-3
13th: University of Tennessee-Chattanooga – Patrick Hoskins and Dillon Falardeau, both of Chattanooga, Tenn., five bass, 11-3
14th: Valdosta State University – Max Gresham, Adel, Ga., and Zachary Blake, Guyton, Ga., five bass, 10-12
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
This YETI College Fishing Southeastern Conference opener was the first regular-season qualifying tournament of 2017. The next event for Southeastern Conference anglers is a tournament scheduled for Feb. 25 on Lake Guntersville in Guntersville, 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 that is recognized by their school.