The East Texas Baptist University duo of Brett Clark of Center, Texas, and Cody Ross of Livingston, Texas, won the YETI FLW College Fishing event on Toledo Bend presented by Bass Pro Shops Saturday with five bass weighing 19 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the Tiger’s bass club $2,400 and a slot in the 2019 FLW College Fishing National Championship, scheduled for June 4-6, 2019 at the Potomac River in Marbury, Maryland.
“We started fishing up north of the Pendleton Bridge,” says Clark, a junior majoring in marketing. “We were fishing a sharp drop – almost like a ledge. It was 4-feet deep on top, and we had our boat sitting off of it in 20 feet and were just casting up to it.”
“We didn’t catch any fish in the first 35 to 40 minutes, so we packed up and got our life jackets on and went to crank up the outboard motor and it wouldn’t go,” says Ross, a freshman business major. “We tried to get it going for 5 to 10 minutes, then started making some calls to try to scramble and get another boat. Brett was on the phone with our coach and I went to the front and made a couple of casts and ended up catching a good one on a V&M Wild Thang.
“Brett hung up with the coach and we spot-locked with our Minn Kota Ultrex and went back to fishing,” Ross says. “We ended up catching all of our fish there and had our weight by 9:30 or 10 a.m. Once it happened, it happened very quickly.”
The duo said their key baits Saturday was a Texas-rigged V&M Wild Thang worm (red bug) and a Texas-rigged V&M J-Mag worm (plum apple). They also added a few on a Strike King 6XD (brown back and chartreuse) crankbait.
“One of our teammates’ dad happened to be fishing on Toledo Bend as well and was kind enough to let us borrow his boat to finish the day,” Ross says. “We tried fishing similar areas, but the wind had gotten up at that point and the new boat was a little smaller than what we were used to so we fished back into creeks and tried to stay out of the waves.”
“The key for us ended up being the one specific area where we were broke down,” Clark adds. “It allowed us to be extremely thorough and really pick apart the entire area. We were confident that we had enough to qualify for the National Championship, but we definitely didn’t expect to win.”
Top 10 teams
1. East Texas Baptist University – Brett Clark, Center, Texas, and Cody Ross, Livingston, Texas, five bass, 19-3, $2,400
2. Texas A&M University – Connor Whisenant, The Woodlands, Texas, and Carter Henderson, Tyler, Texas, five bass, 15-2, $1,000
3. Henderson State University – Fletcher Nutt and Bryce Boatright, both of Sheridan, Ark., five bass, 14-6, $700
4. McNeese State University – Annabelle Guins and Hayden Williams, both of Lake Charles, La., five bass, 12-12, $500
5. Sam Houston State University – Dillon Harrell, New Caney, Texas, and Taylor Harp, Porter, Texas, five bass, 10-15, $500
6. Northwestern State University – Maguire Parker and Tyler Pate, both of Stonewall, La., five bass, 10-14
7. Louisiana College – Trace Moore, Orange, Texas, and Ben South, Jasper, Texas, five bass, 10-12
8. Lamar University – Luke Potter, Bridge City, Texas, and Stephen Thomas, Woodville, Texas, five bass, 10-10
9. Louisiana State University – Jordan Davenport, Baton Rouge, La., and Heath Pinell, Plaquemine, La., five bass, 10-8
10. Stephen F. Austin State University – Will Hughes, Whitehouse, Texas, and Chandler Hayes, Sugar Land, Texas, three bass, 10-5
The YETI FLW College Fishing event on Toledo Bend Reservoir presented by Bass Pro Shops was hosted by the Sabine Parish Tourist Commission. It was the third and final regular-season qualifying tournament for Southern Conference anglers and the final YETI FLW College Fishing event of 2018. The 2019 YETI FLW College Fishing season kicks off Feb. 8, 2019 when Southeastern Conference anglers will compete at the first event of the season on Lake Seminole in Bainbridge, Georgia.
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, June 4-6 at the Potomac River in Marbury, Maryland. Additional teams will qualify for the National Championship if the field size in regular-season events exceeds 100 boats.
YETI FLW 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.