University of Texas-Tyler wins first Ranger Cup University Fish-Off - Major League Fishing

University of Texas-Tyler wins first Ranger Cup University Fish-Off

Anglers took home $2,000, other prizes in winner-take-all challenge between FLW, BoatUS collegiate qualifiers at Choke Canyon Reservoir
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Tyler Fisher and Matthew McClellan caught 20 pounds, 12 ounces and moved the University of Texas-Tyler into second place. Photo by David A. Brown. Anglers: Matthew McClellan, Tyler Fisher.
September 8, 2011 • MLF • Archives

FLIPPIN, Ark. – Matthew McClellan and Tyler Fisher, collegiate anglers from the University of Texas at Tyler, laid claim to the first Ranger Cup University Fish-Off with their come-from-behind tournament victory over collegiate anglers from the University of Arkansas. The tournament, which took place Aug. 25-26 on Texas’ Choke Canyon Reservoir, pitted the two highest-qualifying teams from the National Guard FLW College Fishing Championship and the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing National Championship.

McClellan and Fisher, who qualified for the expenses-paid competition by being the highest-finishing Ranger Cup University-qualified team in the FLW College Fishing Championship, weighed in five-fish limits in each of the tournament’s three sessions. After losing the first session by .02 pounds, the University of Texas-Tyler anglers won session two and the two-hour-long, tie-breaking third session over Arkansas anglers Mook Miller and Kyle Billingsley, who qualified through the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing National Championship.

“The final session started with us going over an hour without a bite,” said Fisher, who competed in this, his final collegiate fishing event, having graduated in the spring. “We were nervous at that point, but we saw Arkansas scrambling around us too, so we knew the bite was tough.”

Fishing from fully rigged Ranger Z521 Comanche bass boats, both teams competed in unseasonably windy and cloudy conditions throughout both days of the competition, which failed to yield some of the large bass for which Choke Canyon is known.

“I don’t think the fish had seen wind and clouds in so long that they were confused,” McClellan said. “They forgot that they are supposed to bite in those conditions.”

The tournament is scheduled to appear on American Outdoors, broadcast on Versus, during the third week of January. The competition will also be featured in 2012 during an episode of the soon-to-premiere BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Series.

“It was my last event, and to make it to the event was awesome – and to win it was really something special,” Fisher said, “not to mention the fact that it will be televised on Americana Outdoors. As far as the cash and prizes, that’s just a bonus. This trip was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all four of us that fished this week.”

Modeled after the most lucrative contingency program in the industry, the Ranger Cup, Ranger Cup University is open to collegiate anglers fishing in either FLW- or Boat US-affiliated competitions. Signup for Ranger Cup University is free and exclusively for collegiate anglers, regardless of which brand of boat they own. To remain qualified in the program, anglers need only adhere to clothing and decal requirements. The program also allows anglers to reap the rewards of a professionally run contingency program regardless of tournament results. And as part of the Ranger Cup University program, participants will be able to receive specially discounted tournament gear through Gemini Custom Apparel, with no artwork or setup fees.

For more information on Ranger Cup University, to register and read all about the program guidelines, go online to

About Ranger Boats

Headquartered in Flippin, Ark., Ranger Boats is the nation’s largest manufacturer of premium fiberglass fishing boats, which include series of bass, multispecies, fish ‘n play and saltwater boats. Founded in 1968 by Forrest L. Wood, Ranger Boats continues its commitment to building the highest-quality, strongest-performing boats on the water. For more information, go to