Gators win it all

The University of Florida team of Jake Gipson and Matt Wercinski hoist their first-place check after winning the 2010 National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship on Fort Loudoun Lake. For their efforts, the team won $100,000 in cash and prizes after recording a three-day stringer weighing 29 pounds, 10 ounces.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - It took more than a year for the first-ever National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship to finally unfold. But in the end it was clearly worth the wait. During a tense and nerve-wracking weigh-in on the final day, the University of Florida eked out a dramatic 9-ounce victory over rival Texas State University. With both teams standing onstage, Texas State University needed only 6 pounds, 13 ounces to walk away with the tournament title. As the University of Florida team of Jake Gipson and Matthew Wercinski looked on, the Texas State University team of David Cosner and Jay McCollum, who entered the day as the top qualifiers, weighed in their three-fish catch and awaited the official announcement. "Do you know CPR?" joked Cosner during the weigh-in's finals moments. Finally, the announcement came on the big electronic board - 6 pounds, 4 ounces. The Texas State University team had fallen short by a mere 9 ounces, handing the University of Florida Gators the inaugural FLW College Fishing National Championship title. "It's exactly what we dreamed of," said Wercinski. "It's awesome. I'm speechless. It's truly beyond words." University of Florida team member Jake Gipson shows off part of his team"I can't believe it," said Gipson, shortly after victory was announced. "I honestly thought (Texas State) had us. Usually three fish on this lake will weigh over 6 pounds. I don't even have words to describe how great this experience has been. Coming back to weigh-in, we're pretty depressed. We had a couple of opportunities, and we missed some fish. So to come out on top is just unreal." To be sure, the Florida Gators didn't take the easy road to the title. "We're in 11th place after day one, and we were really struggling," said Gipson. "So we knew we had to change things up. We decided to start fishing jerkbaits on main-lake points and throw jigs along riprap banks in backwater areas. That's what we did the last two days, and that really made a difference." "After day one, we didn't think we'd have a chance to even fish on Monday," said Wercinski, whose team ultimately recorded a three-day catch of 29 pounds, 10 ounces. "But we fished hard and we fished as a team - it was truly a team effort. When I struggled, Jake caught them. And when he struggled, I was able to catch them. We've been fishing together for four years, and now we've won the championship. It's just amazing - it's so amazing." For their efforts, Gipson and Wercinski walked away with a $100,000 total prize package - $50,000 for their university, $25,000 for their bass club and a brand-new, fully rigged Ranger 177TR bass boat wrapped in their school colors. The University of Florida team of Jake Gipson and Matt Wercinski proudly display their first-place trophy after winning the 2010 National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship on Fort Loudoun Lake. For their efforts, the team won $100,000 in cash and prizes after recording a three-day stringer weighing 29 pounds, 10 ounces."We're going to look really good rolling around campus with a boat and truck in our school colors," said Wercinski. "That's pretty cool." In addition to the cash and prizes, Gipson also received an automatic invite to the 2010 Forrest Wood Cup for a chance to fish against the nation's top pros - as well as a chance to win the first-place prize of $600,000. Wercinski also locked up a berth in the Forrest Wood Cup as a co-angler, with a chance to net an additional $50,000. "That's just unreal," said Gipson of winning a place in the prestigious Forrest Wood Cup. "It's a dream come true to fish with the best bass fishermen. I don't even know what to say." "Me and my partner, Jake, will remember this day for the rest of our lives," said Wercinski. Of that, there is little doubt. Texas State University finishes in runner-up position In any tournament, there is jubilation and there is also heartache. For the Texas State University team of David Cosner and Jay McCollum, Monday's events were nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. Heading into the finals, Texas State University held the top qualifying position. But in the end, the team fell a mere 9 ounces short of their dream, finishing second overall after three days of grueling fishing and tremendous pressure. Texas State University team member David Cosner proudly displays his team's second-place catch during the finals of the 2010 FLW College Fishing National Championship."Wow," said Cosner, shortly after learning that his team had come so close to the title only to come up short at the very end. "It's crazy. I knew it was going to be close. We got a big bite again today, but it just wasn't big enough. But we'll take second place any day." McCollum also said he had mixed feelings about the final outcome. "To lose by 10 ounces is just crazy," said McCollum, whose team posted a three-day total of 29 pounds, 1 ounce. "It's a little sad. I wish we would have taken it. But it was an awesome experience. And, hey, we finished second in the nation." Cosner said that the team targeted bass most of the week by flipping a Jewel jig at docks, riprap and lay-downs. "I actually caught my last fish five minutes before we came in," he said. "It came unhooked and bounced around, but we managed to keep it in the boat. I thought that might have been the difference." But in the end, it was not to be. However, Texas State put up a valiant effort, especially since the team only started up their bass club this year - an amazing accomplishment to say the least. "I'm only a freshman, so I'll be around for a while," said Cosner. "Who knows? Hopefully I'll be back." For their efforts, the team won $25,000 for their bass club and another $25,000 for their university. Auburn lands in third place On the strength of a three-day catch of 28 pounds, 10 ounces, day-one leaders Shaye Baker and Dennis Parker propelled Auburn University to third place in the nation after the final championship weigh-in. While the team appeared to be close to unstoppable after the first day of competition, the duo stumbled on day two - opening the door for the rest of the competition. However, the team rebounded strongly on the third and final day of competition, bringing in the biggest stringer of the day at 10 pounds, 14 ounces to briefly take over the top spot on the leaderboard. "After yesterday, we didn't even think we'd make the cut," said Baker. "But now we're one of the top five teams in the nation. We went out there and did some different stuff today. And our decisions paid off big time. And that's all you can hope for. Taking a step back from everything, it was an awesome experience." "I dreamt of this day since I was a kid," said Parker. "We were on the right fish, but we just didn't get to them soon enough today. It took us until 12:30 to get our first fish in the boat, and then we finally realized what we needed to be doing. We saw two 3-pounders and another 4-pounder, but we didn't get them in the boat. Heading into today, we were just excited to be here. But then everything came into perspective for me this morning, and we really decided to go for it. In the end, we just came up a little short." Auburn University targeted bass by fishing a soft-plastic Net Bait Mini B Bug on main-lake points. They also chased bass in shallow, muddy water fishing a Net Bait B Bug. "It was definitely a chess game out there," said Baker. "We did great on the first day, and yesterday we bombed. Today we went back to fishing simple, the way we know how to fish, and it worked out. We did miss two fish today, but we finished as one of the top five teams in the nation. And we had a lot of fun." In the end, the team walked away with $25,000 in winnings, split between their bass club and university. Murray State nets fourth place After blanking on the second day of competition, Murray State University teammates Kalem Tippett and Steve Miller rebounded for a total three-day catch of 21 pounds, 8 ounces and a fourth-place finish. "It's been an awesome ride," said Tippett. "To be in contention for a title is all you can ask for going into the final day. Overall, it was a great opportunity." The Murray State University team took home $20,000 in cash, to be split evenly with their bass club and university. Texas A&M grabs fifth place Rounding out the top five teams at the 2010 FLW College National Championship was Texas A&M. Led by teammates Paul Manley and Andrew Shafer, the duo recorded a total three-day catch of 21 pounds, 7 ounces - finishing just 1 ounce out of fourth place. "It was tough out there today," said Manley. "The fish were there, but the size wasn't." While the team would have liked to have finished higher in the standings, they said fans should expect to see them again in the not-to-distant future. "We've already qualified for the (2010 FLW College Fishing) regionals, so hopefully we'll be back in the championship next April," said Shafer. For their efforts, the team walked away with $15,000 in winnings. 2010 CF Regional Championship schedule In conjunction with the National Championship, FLW Outdoors also announced the 2010 National Guard FLW College Fishing Regional Championship schedule. The top five teams from each of the regional championships will qualify for the 2011 National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship. The scheduled events include: • West Regional Championship Oct. 7-9, 2010 Folsom Lake, Sacramento, Calif. Sacramento State University • Southeast Regional Championship Oct. 21-23, 2010 Lake Monroe, Orlando, Fla. University of Central Florida • Northern Regional Championship Oct. 28-30, 2010 Jordan Lake, Raleigh, N.C. North Carolina State University • Central Regional Championship Nov. 4-6, 2010 Lake Monroe, Bloomington, Ind. Indiana University • Texas Regional Championship Nov. 11-13, 2010 Sam Rayburn, Nacogdoches, Texas Stephen F. Austin State University University of Florida team members receive congratulatory hugs from Texas State University after winning the 2010 FLW College Fishing National Championship.Related links Day-three results Meet the 2010 FLW College Fishing National Championship teams

Tags: headline-story  gary-mortenson 

/news/2015-03-29-lefebre-lands-on-top

Lefebre Lands on Top

He left the dock this morning in 7th place, eight and a half pounds off the lead. And when he returned this afternoon, Dave Lefebre shocked the weigh-in crowd with a come-from-behind Walmart FLW Tour win that left his competitors shell-shocked. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-29-lewis-smith-lake-day-4-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 4 Coverage

Day 4 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-birge-buzzes-ahead

Birge Buzzes Ahead

Today started off with a slightly miserable 31-degree air temperature, but it didn’t take long for the top 20 pros to really heat up on Lewis Smith Lake at the second stop of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour presented by Evinrude. Reports poured in throughout the day of big bass – especially big largemouths – being caught off beds. It looked at first as if one of the “largemouth lookers” might piece together a big enough bag to snatch the lead away from Oklahoma rookie Zack Birge, who struggled early to make his shallow topwater pattern work. Unfortunately for the rest of the field, the young gun Birge has the coolness and patience of a veteran, and he stuck with his game plan of throwing a buzzbait and soft jerkbait rig until the sun had time to warm the shallows and spur the fish to become more active. Birge tallied 17 pounds, 11 ounces today, raising his three-day total to 54-8 and giving him a lead of 3-11 over Texas veteran Clark Wendlandt in second place. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 3

After three days, it looks as if tournament leader Zack Birge has the quality largemouth bite in the bushes wired. But behind him on the leaderboard are nine pros doing everything from sight-fishing to catching schooling bass and everything in between. Even with all the patterns in play, few have fizzled. The sight-fishers have reported finding new bedders, the schoolers are still schooling and a couple of guys have even started tapping floating docks. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-millsaps-wins-on-lake-sinclair

Millsaps Wins on Lake Sinclair

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – David Millsaps of Ranger, Georgia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Bulldog Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Sinclair. For his victory, Millsaps earned $6,009. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-walters-nets-third-victory-on-wylie

Walters Nets Third Victory on Wylie

LAKE WYLIE, N.C. – Todd Walters of Kernersville, North Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League North Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Wylie. For his victory, Walters earned $4,350. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-lewis-smith-lake-day-3-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 3 Coverage

Day 3 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-mosley-on-top-at-arkansas-river

Mosley on Top at Arkansas River

MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Brandon Mosley of Choctaw, Oklahoma, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Okie Division tournament of 2015 the Arkansas River. For his victory, Mosley earned $5,349. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-topwater-takes-birge-to-the-top

Topwater Takes Birge to the Top

On a day when chilly, windy post-front conditions challenged many Walmart FLW Tour anglers who were relying on sight-fishing for spawning bass, Zack Birge bucked the trend and pulled out a pair of topwaters to haul in 17 pounds, 14 ounces. Birge jumped from third place past day-one leader Drew Benton to take over the top spot on Lewis Smith Lake in the event, which is presented by Evinrude. Birge’s two-day total of 36-13 has him positioned 1 pound ahead of Benton. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 2

While air and water temperatures plummeted on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude, the big surprise came in the stability of the fishing patterns amidst such change. Zack Birge found plenty of production on his primary pattern to send him to the top of the leaderboard, and those under him held true to their patterns as well to secure a ticket to day three’s top 20. Among the biggest surprises was the number of pros who were still able to pluck fish off beds. Most pros that were sight-fishing say the bass are committed to beds and that the cold snap will not run them off at this point in time. Despite the cold, some even found new fish on beds that were not there yesterday. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-lewis-smith-lake-day-2-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 2 Coverage

Day 2 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-benton-blasts-20-12-on-lewis-smith

Benton Blasts 20-12 on Lewis Smith

Panama City, Fla., pro Drew Benton jumped into the early lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 12 ounces. Benton caught a mix of largemouths and spotted bass, and revealed that both black bass species are spawning. He leads a tight top 20 that includes 18 pros that caught more than 15 pounds each. The first day was an absolute fish-fest. Of the 154 pros fishing this tournament, 138 weighed limits. Brad Roberts of Faubush, Ky., has a 2-ounce lead in the co-angler division with a 13-pound, 4-ounce limit. Tomorrow he’ll try to defend his lead on the final day of co-angler competition. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 1

While Drew Benton was busy bugging bedding fish for his day-one tournament lead, several others behind him were scoring big with other fishing options on Lewis Smith Lake. Sight-fishing also played a role in the top limits produce by Tracy Adams, Scott Martin and Ish Monroe, but Clayton Batts and Zack Birge both brought in big bags with other patterns. Click here to read about Benton’s day-one performance at the second Walmart FLW Tour event of 2015, which is presented by Evinrude. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-lewis-smith-lake-day-1-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 1 Coverage

Day 1 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-22-arkansas-anglers-win-college-open

Arkansas Anglers Win College Open

Consistency was the key for the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville here in the FLW College Fishing Kentucky Lake Open as Zachary Pickle and Drew Porto won the event with a two-day total of 43 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-kendrick-king-on-guntersville

Kendrick King On Guntersville

Kendrick, who is fishing the Rayovac FLW Series in hopes of qualifying for the FLW Tour, caught more than 25 pounds each day of the event and finihsid in fine fasion when it counted. Kendick was catching nearly all of his bass around big schools of bait with a Houdini pearl-colored Scottsboro Tackle swimbait from 15- to 25-feet of water. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-epting-s-30-pounds-tops-on-santee-cooper

Epting's 30 Pounds Tops on Santee Cooper

SUMMERTON, S.C. – Chris Epting of Chapin, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 30 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Santee Cooper. For his victory, Epting earned $3,679. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-wood-rock-key-for-middleton-s-victory

Wood, Rock Key for Middleton's Victory

HUDDLESTON, Va. – Dennis Middleton of Madison Heights, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament of 2015 on Smith Mountain Lake. For his victory, Middleton earned $7,199. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-johnson-wins-on-dale-hollow

Johnson Wins on Dale Hollow

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Robby Johnson of Byrdstown, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mountain Division tournament of 2015 on Dale Hollow Lake. For his victory, Johnson earned $5,689. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-griffin-gets-win-on-ross-barnett

Griffin Gets Win on Ross Barnett

BRANDON, Miss. – Jason Griffin of Benton, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 23 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Ross Barnett Reservoir. For his victory, Griffin earned $5,349. READ MORE »