GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. – The Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville team of Dalton Wesley of Worden, Illinois, and Zach Hartnagel of Edwardsville, Illinois, won the second annual FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake Saturday with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 35 pounds, 5 ounces. The victory earned the club a $27,000 prize package which includes a Ranger Z175 with a 90-horsepower Mercury or Evinrude outboard and advanced the team to the 2017 FLW College Fishing National Championship.
“Winning a tournament like this is the kind of thing you dream about,” said Wesley, a sophomore majoring in civil engineering. “We came into this event hoping to crack the top five. Our school qualified last year but wasn’t able to close the deal, so to win is really amazing.”
“We couldn’t be more proud to be here with these results,” said Hartnagel, a junior majoring in civil engineering. “It’s a big step forward for our program.”
After a slow morning on day one, Wesley said the two decided to make a run to a small pocket on Barkley Lake, near Kuttawa. He said that they ended up catching their limit along a 100-yard stretch of riprap using one bait – a Black Blue Flake-colored Strike King KVD Perfect Plastic Rodent on a ¼-ounce shaky-head jig.
“As soon as we got there I caught our biggest bass and then two more that were nearly 4 pounds – all in three consecutive casts,” said Wesley. “After the sun came up they became really active right on the bank.”
“After those first three we were able to settle down and focus a bit more,” said Hartnagel. “We left the pocket to hit one more area, but ended up returning toward the end of the day and caught one more 4-pounder. After that, we figured we should leave our spots alone and made our way back to the ramp.”
On day two, the collegiate anglers said they returned to their pocket and used the Rodent to catch seven keepers. They said they were able to mix docks into their pattern to help round out their final limit.
“We caught one just about every hour we were in there,” said Hartnagel. “There were five docks on each side of the pocket and the bass seemed to be congregating towards the front of them. We just kept throwing the Rodent and working it back real slow and ended up milking the area pretty well.”
“We figured we had enough to be in the top five, but not enough to win,” said Wesley. “After seeing what others had brought in, it was a pleasant surprise.”
The top 15 teams that advanced to the 2017 College Fishing National Championship are:
1st: Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville – Dalton Wesley of Worden, Ill., and Zach Hartnagel of Edwardsville, Ill., 10 bass, 35-5, $27,000
2nd: Bethel University – Cole Floyd, Leesburg, Ohio, and Carter McNeil, Abbeville, S.C., 10 bass, 33-1
3rd: Dallas Baptist University – Trent Newman, Midlothian, Texas, and Colt Benedict, Forney, Texas, 10 bass, 32-6
4th: University of Alabama – Caiden Sinclair, Hoover, Ala., and Ethan Flack, Cullman, Ala., 10 bass, 32-1
5th: University of Louisiana-Monroe – Hunter Freeman and Thomas Soileau, both of Monroe, La., 10 bass, 31-9
6th: University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill – Graham Burke, Clemmons, N.C., and Stephen Smith, Marvin, N.C., 10 bass, 31-4
7th: Mississippi State University – Jeff Clayton, Starkville, Miss., and Cody Peak, Centreville, Miss., 10 bass, 30-5
8th: Saint Ambrose University – Cole Atkinson and Tanner Atkinson, both of Camanche, Iowa, nine bass, 29-13
9th: Illinois State University – Taylor Umland, Normal, Ill., and Justin Schick, Morton, Ill., seven bass, 27-15
10th: University of Tennessee – Jay Emmert and Anthony Johnson, both of Knoxville, Tenn., eight bass, 26-15
11th: Valdosta State University – Max Gresham, Adel, Ga., and Cody Cleary, Valdosta, Ga., 10 bass, 26-11
12th: University of South Carolina – Patrick Walters, Summerville, S.C., and Gettys Brannon, Gaffney, S.C. nine bass, 25-14
13th: Murray State University – Shon Messmer, Ozark, Ill., and Nathan Adams, House Springs, Mo., nine bass, 25-12
14th: Bryan College – Nathan Bell, Riceville, Tenn., and Dylan Kear, Clinton, Tenn., eight bass, 25-4
15th: Eastern Kentucky University – Gavin Draper, Stanford, Ky., and Tate Clements, Brodhead, Ky., eight bass, 24-9
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
This FLW College Fishing Open was hosted by the Kentucky Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau and Moors Resort & Marina. The next event for FLW collegiate anglers is a Central Conference tournament scheduled for April 9 on Table Rock Lake in Kimberling City, Missouri.
FLW College Fishing teams compete in 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 15 teams from the annual FLW College Fishing Open will advance to the 2017 FLW College Fishing National Championship.
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.
For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow College Fishing on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing. Visit FLWFishing.com to sign up or to start a club at your school.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2016 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 235 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. For more information visit FLWFishing.com and follow FLW at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Periscope: @FLWFishing.
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