Championship Sunday

Final takeoff commences at the 2012 National Guard FLW College FIshing National Championship.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - After a grueling year of qualifying and two hard-fought days of championship action, the top five team contenders made their way onto the open waters of Lake Murray one final time in an effort to snare the coveted title of 2012 National Guard FLW College Fishing National Champion. Auburn University, which has been knocking on the door of a national title for the past couple of years, finishing third place overall in 2010 and 2011, is currently atop the leaderboard with 32 pounds, 4 ounces. So, could this finally be the year the school kicks the door open and walks away with the title that has eluded the university to date? "Man, it would mean everything to win," said Auburn team member Matt Lee. "We're fired up and ready to start fishing right now. I'm ready. I'm not here to play around. To win the title and get to fish in the Forrest Wood Cup, that would be amazing. I think if we come back with 16 pounds today, we're going to be tough to beat." However, lurking in second place is the one-man Kansas State team of Ryan Patterson. One of the best stories of the entire tournament, Patterson accomplished what no angler has ever done in the history of FLW College Fishing - qualifying for the finals of the national championship fishing solo. Because his partner and brother ran into eligibility issues, Patterson was forced, per tournament rules, to enter the tournament by himself. And he hasn't disappointed. Boating a whopping 17-pound, 8-ounce stringer on day two, Patterson leapfrogged from 13th to second place overall. And now, he has a chance to make history again. Kansas State finalist Ryan Patterson relaxes before final takeoff at the 2012 FLW College Fishing National Championship."I feel like I'm around the type of quality fish you need to have a shot to win this," said Patterson, who currently trails the leaders by 31/2 pounds. "The neat thing about Lake Murray is that there are tons of 4- and 5-pound fish in this lake. So you can get right in a hurry. I'd love to win this event. Winning the $100,000 would be nice but winning the national championship title and getting to fish in the Forrest Wood Cup would be unbelievable. Basically, right now, I'm just a small-town kid from Kansas living a dream." While Auburn and Kansas State both have a very realistic chance at securing the prestigious title, today's outcome is still very much in doubt. With Clemson University (third), Kennesaw State University (fourth) and Virginia Tech (fifth) all within 5 pounds of the leaders, some potentially game-changing weather conditions on the horizon and a host of weekend boater traffic on the lake, there are far too many variables to start crowning a champion just yet. "The big thing today is going to be the wind," said Matt Lee. "When you're dealing with water as clear as this, the wind really breaks things up and makes it easier (to fool) the bass. It also can push the baitfish right up on the points and, if that happens, the bass really get into a feeding mode. So I think you could see some big bags caught because those fish are going to eat today." Patterson agrees that the tournament outcome is still very much up in the air. Ryan Patterson of Kansas State heads out onto Lake Murray during the start of the final day of 2012 FLW College FIshing National Championship competition."I still think any of the teams can win right now," said Patterson. "My game plan is to make good decision and get every fish in the boat. Personally, I'm shooting for 20 pounds today. I've been around some big fish all week so it's definitely possible. Winning this tournament is very doable." While the conditions could play a major factor in today's final day of tournament action, the Auburn squad said that it is prepared for virtually every contingency. "We know what baits to use when it's slick calm or when the wind is blowing," said Lee. "We've been consistent all week. Our goal is to bring in 18 pounds. But if we bring in 16 pounds and somebody comes back with 19 or 20 pounds to beat us, then they'll deserve the title." Meet the contenders Here's a brief look at the top-five team finalists: Auburn University (first place with 32-4) - Jordan Lee, Vinemont, Ala., and Matt Lee, Auburn, Ala. Kansas State University (second with 28-14) - Ryan Patterson, both of Goddard, Kan. Clemson University (third with 28-9) - Andy Wicker, Pomaria, S.C., and Harold Turner, Sumter, S.C. Kennesaw State University (fourth with 28-5) - Thomas Frink, Woodstock, Ga., and Justin Marlow, Kennesaw, Ga.. Virginia Tech (fifth with 27-4) - Wyatt Blevins, Pulaski, Va., and Carson Rejzer, Hampton, Va. Tournament logistics Teams are permitted to bring as many as five fish to the scales during each weigh-in. After the conclusion of Sunday's weigh-in, the tournament title will be awarded to the college team that has recorded the most combined weight over all three days of competition. The national championship awards the top team with $50,000 cash, a Ranger 177TR with a 90-horsepower engine for their school's bass club and $25,000 for the school they represent. Sunday's final weigh-in will commence at *4:30 p.m. All weigh-ins will be adjacent to the Carolina Baseball Stadium on the University of South Carolina campus located at the corner of Blossom and Williams streets in Columbia. (Note: *Final weigh-in on Sunday will immediately follow the University of South Carolina baseball game and is subject to change). How they got here The Clemson Univeristy team of Andy Wicker and Harold Turner depart the marina for the final time during the 2012 FLW College FIshing National Championship.Four regular-season events were held in each conference - Central, Northern, Southeastern, Texas and Western. The top five teams in each qualifying event advanced to one of five televised three-day National Guard FLW College Fishing Conference Championships. The top five teams from each conference championship advanced to this year's national championship, and the winner of the national championship will qualify for the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup. The Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing, will be held Aug. 9-12 on Lake Lanier in Duluth, Ga., and will offer the collegiate anglers the opportunity to compete for a top award of $500,000. The national champions also will receive use of a wrapped boat and Chevy truck for Forrest Wood Cup competition. Bass-fishing fans take note The Virginia Tech team of Carson Rejzer and Wyatt Blevins give one final interview before takeoff.Want to watch the national championship weigh-in live but can't make it in person? Then tune into FLW Live on FLWOutdoors.com shortly before 4 p.m. Eastern time to watch live streaming video and audio of today's opening-round weigh in. In conjunction with the tournament, college fishing fans can also take part in The FLW Tailgate Zone, which includes a sports zone, tailgate games, climbing wall and Ranger boat simulator. The Tailgate Zone will take place today from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and will be located adjacent to the Carolina Baseball Stadium. Coverage of the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship, hosted by the Capital City/Lake Murray Country RTB, will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network. "FLW" will air May 27 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. "FLW," hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to more than 500 million households worldwide. Vital statistics: Sunrise: 6:53 a.m. Temperature at takeoff: 60 degrees Expected high temperature: 86 degrees Water temperature: 64-70 degrees Wind: From the south-southwest at 12 mph Humidity: 61 percent Day's outlook: Mostly sunny Related links: Live on-the-water coverage Event schedule Meet the 2012 FLW College Fishing National Championship teams FLW Tailgate Zone

Tags: morning-story 

/news/2015-03-26-front-and-center

Front and Center

There is little doubt it’s coming. The uncertainty lies in what will happen because of it. If the forecast holds true, at some point this evening the severe weather system that dropped tornados across the central plains Wednesday will arrive at Lewis Smith Lake. Along with the rain and thunder, the front promises to bring with it a significant drop in temperature, with lows projected in the low 30s by the weekend. It’s a storm that looms over the 154 pros and co-anglers set to fish the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Evinrude and hosted by the Walker County Chamber of Commerce. And while they, the anglers, should stay dry, the weather might be the key question mark for a tournament already overflowing with them. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-record-catch-for-record-college-field-

Record Catch for Record College Field?

GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. – Panama City, beach parties, Florida sunshine, bikini weather – big deal. Who needs Spring Break when you’ve got Kentucky Lake in March? OK, maybe that’s a stretch, but how else to explain why a record-setting number of teams showed up for the FLW College Fishing Open tournament here? The official tally of bass fishing teams is 201, according to College Fishing Tournament Director Kevin Hunt, making this the largest collegiate fishing event ever. Teams from every corner of the country are represented here, with squads from as far away as Eastern Washington University competing the next two days. A flotilla left Moor’s Resort & Marina this morning, with individual boats scattering in all directions. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-19-guntersville-grab-bag

Guntersville Grab Bag

Lake Guntersville will always have a place in bass-fishing history – most recently because of Paul Elias and the umbrella rig ­– but it represents so much more. With boat ramps seemingly on every street corner, and a town and community that caters to anglers like no other, the legendary lake is always a popular stop. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-06-toho-midday-report-day-2

Toho Midday Report Day 2

If you’ve been following the FLW On The Water feed, you might have seen a slight uptick in the reports in the last hour or so. A crisp north wind, which was cold enough to force many anglers into their rain gear this morning, seems to have tapered off to a breeze. Down south on Kissimmee the sun is shining. And as the weather has improved, so too has the bite – as evidenced by the sudden surge in fish-catching reports. The increase in action is good news for many anglers who experienced slower fishing this morning than yesterday. Stacey King, who came into today in second place, is among that group. Unfortunately for day-one leader JT Kenney, “slow” for King is still pretty good. He’s got a limit, including a pair of 4-pounders, and has already culled. That makes King our unofficial leader right now. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-05-boom-or-bust-at-toho

Boom or Bust at Toho

To varying degrees of success, tournament anglers are used to figuring out lakes that seemingly are a bundle of contradictions. Be that as it may, Lake Toho threatens to boggle their collective minds as the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour kickoff event presented by Mercury gets underway this morning. READ MORE »

/news/2015-02-11-mighty-amistad-issues-a-challenge

Mighty Amistad Issues a Challenge

Legendary south Texas reservoir Lake Amistad has hosted some of FLW’s most infamous smash-fests – the kind of tournaments where anglers weren’t challenged to catch fish, but were pushed to keep up with the competition when 20- and even 30-pound stringers were being hauled across the stage. READ MORE »

/news/2015-02-05-heating-up-on-havasu

Heating Up on Havasu

Lake Havasu City, Ariz. – Warming weather could provide the spark that is needed to ignite a big-time bite on Lake Havasu this week for the first event of the 2015 Rayovac FLW Series Western Division, which is presented by Mercury. Past FLW events on Havasu have been plagued by lower temperatures and strong winds that slowed the bite – fishing was good, but the anglers didn’t experience the lake’s full potential. The last few days on the Colorado River impoundment, however, have seen temperatures near 80 degrees with nearly no wind. As it stands now, the forecast for competition days is calling for more of the same, and many of the 152 pros in this tournament feel like that could open things up. READ MORE »

/news/2015-01-22-here-they-come

Here They Come

Big things are coming on Lake Okeechobee – big bass, big weights and the biggest tournament field in Rayovac FLW Series history. READ MORE »

/news/2014-10-30-grinding-wheel-er

Grinding Wheel-er

ROGERSVILLE, Ala. – The story was much the same among the 141 pro and co-anglers that launched out of Joe Wheeler State Park this morning for the first day of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on Wheeler Lake. Fishing on the Tennessee River in the fall can be hit or miss and right now anglers are experiencing the latter. READ MORE »

/news/2014-10-09-a-clear-challenge

A Clear Challenge

Challenging conditions including low water, abundant baitfish and a late-season algae bloom set the stage for an epic bass battle among the 212 pros and co-anglers vying for top honors Oct. 9-11 in the Rayovac FLW Series Western Division Clear Lake tournament, which kicked off this morning at 7:30 a.m. PT. Presented by Evinrude, the three-day event promises plenty of drama. Anglers are competing for lucrative paybacks, including $32,448 in cash for first place on the pro side, plus a fully rigged Ranger Z518C with 200-hp Evinrude outboard if the winner is Ranger Cup compliant, for a total purse worth more than $80,000. On the co-angler side, the victor claims a fully rigged Ranger Z117 with 90-hp Evinrude, plus $5,000 in Ranger Cup cash if entered in that contingency program. READ MORE »

/news/2014-10-02-rayburn-returns

Rayburn Returns

ZAVALLA, Texas – If Sam Rayburn Reservoir were a stock on Wall Street, now would be the time to buy. READ MORE »

/news/2014-09-18-the-mississippi-mix-up

The Mississippi Mix-Up

LA CROSSE, Wis. – Things are much different since the last time the Rayovac FLW Series Central Division launched from the Clinton Street Landing back in 2012. Cooler temperatures, higher water levels and scattered fish will make things interesting for the 119 pros and co-anglers this week on the Mississippi River. READ MORE »

/news/2014-08-21-james-river-jam

James River Jam

RICHMOND, Va. – On tidal fisheries like the James River, optimism and opportunity are inextricably linked to water level. For anglers competing in the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division, today’s tide schedule will present a brief period of opportunity, followed by a long grind the rest of the day. READ MORE »

/news/2014-07-17-hopes-high-on-champlain

Hopes High on Champlain

PLATTSBURGH, NY - Fair weather and a fishery flush with bassin’ options fueled contagious optimism among the 142 competitors squaring off in the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Champlain. READ MORE »

/news/2014-06-26-kentucky-lake-the-pressure-is-palpable

Kentucky Lake: The pressure is palpable

PARIS LANDING, Tenn. – If the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Evinrude needed a theme song, David Bowie’s rendition of “Under Pressure” would be as good as it gets. The entire field will be under more pressure than usual as the four-day competition opens this morning. There’s the pressure to win or at least take advantage of a final opportunity to take home a good check this season, the pressure to pull out all the stops and make up ground in the Angler of the Year standings and gain entry into the Forrest Wood Cup, the pressure to not take chances and lose a shot at the Cup – and so it goes. READ MORE »

/news/2014-06-05-the-task-of-timing

The Task of Timing

FLORENCE, Ala. – Fishing tournaments inherently rely on timed competition – get as much weight as you can within the allotted time frame. However, as the country's top 49 boaters and co-anglers take to Wilson Lake for the Walmart BFL All-American presented by Chevy timing will greatly impact outcomes. READ MORE »

/news/2014-06-04-pick-a-number-at-pickwick

Pick a number at Pickwick

FLORENCE, Ala. – To listen to some of the pros gathered here for the Walmart FLW Tour on Pickwick Lake presented by StraightTalk, here’s the scenario that will play out for the next couple of days: Each morning anglers will depart the takeoff area and proceed to their first stop where, depending on their draw, they will be required to wait in line until it’s their turn to fish. Once they’ve caught a keeper, they will move on to the next community hole, where they will again repeat the process. And so the tournament will proceed until Sunday evening when the champion will be crowned. OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but not by much. Veterans and newcomers alike agree that Pickwick will fish much smaller than it really is in this, the fifth 2014 Tour stop that’s hosted by the Florence/Lauderdale Tourism Bureau. Because fish-finding electronics have become so precise, most of the locations that consistently hold bass in early summer on Pickwick seem to have found their way into the waypoint logs of just about every angler entered. As veteran Texas pro Tommy Martin puts it, “either we’re going to have to play nice and share places and get along, or go find six or eight spots that nobody knows about. Good luck with that; I plan to play nice.” READ MORE »

/news/2014-05-29-kentucky-lake-slugfest-begins

Kentucky Lake slugfest begins

There are no secrets on Kentucky Lake this week. If you want to catch a winning stringer, you’d better be ledge fishing. Rayovac FLW Series anglers launched out of Kenlake State Resort Park this morning to near-perfect ledge-fishing conditions for the start of the second Central Division event of the season. READ MORE »

/news/2014-05-15-high-tide-on-the-delta

High tide on the Delta

BETHEL ISLAND, Calif. – Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing – or, at least, a challenging thing. Gotta have water to fish and current generally stimulates fish, but this week’s tide schedule may prove perplexing for Rayovac FLW Series Western Division anglers on the California Delta. READ MORE »

/news/2014-04-24-guntersville-s-great-mystery

Guntersville’s great mystery

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. -- Largemouth bass in Lake Guntersville just might be some of the most prolific bass in the world. How one fishery continues to pump out so many bass under the duress of so much fishing pressure is a mystery that many bass pros have pondered. READ MORE »