The Oregon State University team of Eric Kennedy, of Woodland, California, and William Eschliman, of Eugene, Oregon, won the YETI FLW College Fishing event on Lake Havasu presented by Bass Pro Shops Saturday with four bass weighing 9 pounds, 9 ounces. The victory earned the Oregon State Bass Fishing Club $2,000 and a slot in the 2019 FLW College Fishing National Championship.
“This is the first time either of us had ever been to the lake – the first time I’d ever been to Arizona,” says Kennedy, a senior majoring in Agriculture Management. “We only caught three fish in the two days of practice, but we stuck to what we knew and it worked out for us on Saturday.”
The duo said they ran up the river, past Castle Rock, and caught fish on reactions baits and drop-shot rigs. They targeted fish that were holding on natural structure such as rock and submerged wood.
Kennedy says one of the reaction baits they used was a chartreuse Strike King KVD HC 1.5 Shallow Squarebill. When the bait bounced off the submerged logs they would get bit.
According to Eschliman, a senior majoring in Fishery and Wildlife Science, the finesse worms they used were from their sponsor Western Fishing Operations. Because of the water clarity, the team focused on bright colors like neon shad and morning dawn, tipped with a chartreuse tail.
“We didn’t think we were going to win. We thought we only had around 7 pounds,” says Eschliman. “Our fish ended up weighing more than we anticipated.”
The top 10 teams
1st: Oregon State University – Eric Kennedy, Woodland, Calif., and William Eschliman, Eugene, Ore., four bass, 9-9, $2,000
2nd: California Polytechnic State University – Sam Morita and Aren Abrahamian, both of Sebastopol, Calif., three bass, 8-12, $1,000
3rd: California State University-Chico – Chad Sweitzer, Chico, Calif., and Tyler Firebaugh, Danville, Calif., three bass, 7-0, $900
4th: New Mexico State University – Ty Faulconer, Las Cruces, N.M., and Daylon Smith, Frazier Park, Calif., two bass, 6-3, $500
5th: Northern Arizona University – Levi Wittrock and Gunnar Stanton, both of Boulder City, Nev., three bass, 6-1, $700
6th: Grand Canyon University – Joseph Dwyer, Scottsdale, Ariz., and Tommy Sendek, Tucson, Ariz., two bass, 5-11
7th: Northern Arizona University – Jake Hartzler, Flagstaff, Ariz., and Jonah Simminger, Tempe, Ariz., one bass, 4-14
8th: California Polytechnic State University – Clayton Lauchland, Lodi, Calif., and Christopher Leclair, Saugas, Calif., one bass, 3-10
9th: Arizona State University – Adam White, Paradise Valley, Ariz., and Logan Mueller, Gilbert, Ariz., two bass, 3-3
10th: California Polytechnic State University – Alec Pitts, Santa Rosa, Calif., and Hugh Cosculluela, The Woodlands, Texas, one bass, 2-15
This YETI FLW College Fishing Western Conference event on Lake Havasu was hosted by the Lake Havasu City Convention & Visitors Bureau, and was the first of three regular-season qualifying tournaments for Western Conference anglers in 2018. The next YETI FLW College Fishing event takes place Mar. 6, when the FLW College Fishing Open anglers take on Kentucky-Barkley Lakes in Gilbertsville, Kentucky.
YETI FLW College Fishing teams compete in three 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 20 teams from the annual FLW College Fishing Open will advance to the 2019 FLW College Fishing National Championship. Additional teams will qualify for the National Championship if the field size in regular-season events exceeds 100 boats.
The 2018 FLW College Fishing National Championship will take place May 30-June 1 on the Red River in Shreveport, Louisiana, and is hosted by the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission & Red River Waterway Commission.