LUFKIN – YETI FLW College Fishing is heading to Sam Rayburn Reservoir Feb. 4 for the first of three regular-season stops in the Southern Conference. A full field of college fishing clubs will be competing for the top award of a $2,000 club scholarship and a berth into the 2018 College Fishing National Championship.
“I think we’re going to see a lot of anglers targeting bass that are heading to the bank in this event,” said FLW Tour pro Jeff Sprague, of Point. “The water temperature on Sam Rayburn has risen substantially, which means a lot of bass are staging to spawn. Points, secondary points, drops and creek channels will all be the deal. Bass use a lot of these areas as highways, especially if they’re near a large spawning flat.”
Sprague said that teams will be utilizing umbrella rigs, Carolina-rigged creature baits, football-head jigs and deep-diving crankbaits throughout their day.
“Bulkier soft-plastic baits are a good bet right now because bass are eating crawfish,” said Sprague. “There may even be some bass caught flipping, but that bite will depend on if the rain has brought the water levels up enough to submerge any brush.”
Sprague went on to say that even though many bass are transitioning toward shallow water, there will still be bass caught out deep on the main lake.
“There will still be some big females out there in the deeps, but the easier fish will be caught along the bank.” said Sprague. “I wouldn’t rule out jerkbaits either, they always play a role.”
The Texas pro said he expects top contenders to bring in limits nearing 30 pounds.
“I think we’ll see multiple limits in the 28- to 30-pound range, and several over 30 pounds,” said Sprague. “It could take as much as 32 pounds to win this tournament. Anglers are really catching them there right now and the fishing is only going to get better.”
Anglers will take off from Cassels-Boykin Park, located at Farm-to-Market Road 3123 in Zavalla, at 7 a.m. Saturday. Weigh-in will be held at the launch beginning at 3 p.m. Takeoff and weigh-in are free and open to the public.
Schools are allowed to register up until the morning of the tournament. Entries may be made either by phone or at CollegeFishing.com.
Schools registered to compete in the Sam Rayburn Reservoir tournament, which is hosted by the Lufkin Convention and Visitors Bureau include: Angelo State University – Nolan Osmanski and Nathan Ahle, both of San Angelo; Angelo State University – Ty Johnson, Bernet, Ill., and Will Curlee, Round Rock; Arkansas Tech University – Ethan Stokes, Lee’s Summit, Mo., and Philip Gottsponer, Morrilton, Ark.; Baylor University – Sam Hall, Waco, and Dylan Bridwell, Wichita, Kan.; Colorado State University – Levi Kirk, Fort Collins, Colo., and Adam Deakin, Broomfield, Colo.; Colorado State University-Pueblo – Austin Miles, Durango, Colo., and Tyler Hassler, Fountain, Colo.; Dallas Baptist University – Colt Benedict, Forney, and Reed Foster, Combine; East Texas Baptist University – Brett Clark, Center, and Jacob Keith, Jefferson; East Texas Baptist University – Colby Simmons and Brandon Barber, both of Legion Fields; East Texas Baptist University – Dustin Pearcy, Marshall, and Mason Beatty, Hallsville.
Also, Harding University – Ethan Flowers, Dexter, Mo., and Cole Swede, Little Rock, Ark.; Louisiana Tech University – Cole Perilloux, Montz, La., and Hunter Adams, Texarkana; Louisiana Tech University – Scott McClellan, Leesville, La., and Adam Forester, Pineville, La.; Louisiana State University – Jack Thomas, Prairieville, La., and Stephen Lemoine, Baton Rouge, La.; McMurry University – Josh Ambroson, Jacksonville, and Ryan Nevil, Mesquite; Rogers State University – Tyler Hastings, Claremore, Okla., and Lane McCartney, Catoosa, Okla.; Stephen F. Austin State University – Will Hughes, Tyler, and Chandler Hayes, Sugar Land; Tarleton State University – Cason Kelly, Stephenville, and Stetson Overton, Glen Rose; Tarleton State University – Dakota Ebare, Watson, La., and Justin Seeton, Glen Rose; Texas A&M University – John Moore, Granbury, and Edward Yao, The Woodlands; Texas Chiropractic College – Blake Dalton, Katy, and Will Imhoff, Plantersville; University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff – Cody Salzmann, Dickeyville, Wis., and Kenneth Prince, White Hall, Ark.
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 2018 FLW College Fishing National Championship. Additional teams will qualify for the National Championship if the field size in regular-season events exceeds 100 boats.
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.