The Adrian College duo of Ryan Sharnas of Davison, Michigan, and Brandon Herzberg of Clarklake, Michigan, won the YETI FLW College Fishing event on the Chesapeake Bay presented by Bass Pro Shops Friday with a five-bass limit weighing 21 pounds, 11 ounces. The victory earned the Bulldogs’ bass club $2,000 and a slot in the 2020 FLW College Fishing National Championship.
“To win feels pretty amazing,” says Herzberg, a recent graduate of Adrian College with a degree in business management. “Ryan and I have fished for four years and this was basically the last tournament of our career. We’ve put in a lot of hard work over the past four years and to walk away with a win feels great.”
“We definitely weren’t expecting to win,” says Sharnas, also a recent graduate with a degree in criminal justice. “We had found some areas on the Susquehanna Flats during practice, but we had no idea they were holding as many fish as they were.”
The duo say they caught around 40 keepers throughout the day, keying on certain areas of grass that were a bit taller than the eelgrass and milfoil.
“Certain types of grass seemed to hold more fish than others,” Sharnas says. “When everything came together and lined up – the right depth, the right grass and the tide change – it was game on. The most important thing was that you had to make contact with the weeds and rip it through – almost every cast my squarebill would come back with grass on it.”
A Rapala BX Brat squarebill crankbait (rock solid) and a Terminator swim jig (black and blue) with a Bass Pro Shops Sassy Sally swimbait (black and blue with silver flake) trailer were the key baits for the Bulldog club.
“I think the key was the time we spent covering water on that Flat,” Herzberg says. “We put in a lot of time graphing and fishing and once we found the sweet spot we were able to roll up at the right time with the right tide and put everything together.”
The top 10 teams advanced to the 2020 College Fishing National Championship:
1st: Adrian College – Ryan Sharnas, Davison, Mich., and Brandon Herzberg, Clarklake, Mich., five bass, 21-11, $2,650
2nd: Youngstown State University – Jeffrey Jardine, Niles, Ohio, and Mike Soots, McDonald, Ohio, five bass, 19-3, $1,200
3rd: Slippery Rock University – Nathan Quince, Imperial, Pa., and Cody Neal, Evans City, Pa., five bass, 19-0, $700
4th: Adrian College – Jack Hippe III, Davison, Mich., and Griffin Fernandes, McCordsville, Ind., five bass, 18-14, $500
5th: Adrian College – Blake Johnson, Mooresville, Ind., and Myles Jackman, White Lake, Mich., five bass, 18-1, $500
6th: Penn State University – Jonathan Dietz, Corry, Pa., and Ryan Fox, Thornhurst, Pa., five bass, 17-14
7th: Ramapo College – Alex Johnson, Milltown, N.J., and Zachary Potter, Haddon Township, N.J., five bass, 16-7
8th: Adrian College – Alex Henderson, Mooresville, Ind., and Chase Serafin, White Lake, Mich., five bass, 16-2
9th: Adrian College – Jarrod Layton, Maybee, Mich., and Matthew Davis, Coloma, Mich., five bass, 16-1
10th: Western Michigan University – Mason Vernia, Schoolcraft, Mich., and Ryan Bradway, Okemos, Mich., five bass, 15-8