UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2015 - Ohio River

ULM does it again

University of Louisiana-Monroe teammates Nick LaDart and Brian Eaton (left) finished day one of the 2014 FLW College Fishing National Championship in first place with a total catch of 16 pounds, 9 ounces.

SENECA, S.C. - At the 2013 FLW College Fishing National Championship, a little known ULM team comprised of Paul Clark and Brett Preuett stunned the collegiate bass-fishing world by taking home the tournament title and out-fishing a number of powerhouse universities in the process, including Auburn, Alabama and UNC Charlotte to name just a few. Cut to the 2014 national championship where the latest incarnation of ULM, Nick LaDart and Brian Eaton, were attempting to do their university proud and turn in the best performance they could as defending national champions. As it turned out, they did just that during Thursday's opening-round session on Lake Keowee - and a whole lot more. Bolstered by a total catch of 16 pounds, 9 ounces, the University of Louisiana-Monroe team of LaDart and Eaton steamrolled to the top of the leaderboard and gave their alumni something else to cheer about. As the inimitable Yogi Berra once said, "It's deja vu all over again." And the team couldn't have been happier - or more relieved. "We're under a lot of pressure today," said Eaton. "We're the defending national champions but for us, personally, this is the first time we've qualified. So yeah, there was some pressure to perform. Everybody knows our (school's) name now. So we knew we couldn't blow it. It's definitely exciting to be where we're at. Because after practice yesterday, I really didn't we'd be able to come back with 16 pounds. So yeah, we're happy." However, that didn't mean it was easy. With fierce winds, frigid temps and generally miserable conditions dominating today's landscape, the ULM team had to put their heads down and brave the conditions - as well as the pressure - in order to grab the top spot in the tournament today. "We had five bites all day long - three spots and two largemouth," said LaDart. "And it took us all eight hours to get them. We just kept running back and forth to five or six areas trying to stay out of the wind." The duo said they concentrated as much as possible on following the baitfish around - as Lake Keowee is stocked full of blueback herring, the prime forage for bass in these waters. "The key is following the bait around because if there's bait there, you can definitely find some fish," said Eaton. "That doesn't mean those fish are easy to catch. But you need to find that bait to have a chance. We probably ran 30 or 40 miles today and caught our fish on three different baits at a bunch of different depths. We're all over the place. We caught fish anywhere from the bank to 35 feet." "And with the blueback herring, those fish are moving every day," added LaDart. Given Friday's forecast, which is calling for steady, cold rains throughout much of the day, the ULM team knows it's not going to be easy to duplicate today's haul. "Every day is going to be different here, so you really have to adapt," said Eaton. "It's going to be tough to produce that weight again, but if we just get the right bites, I think we should be all right. I know the weather is going to change everything tomorrow. But at least we figured out something late in the day so I think we know the areas where the bigger fish are." However, LaDart said the team can't simply rely on their current fishing hotspots if they are going to have a chance to hoist the tournament trophy come Saturday. "I really think we need to expand upon the areas we already have to win," said LaDart. "As of right now, I think it's going to be hard to keep our spots a secret." While the team was understandably pleased with their performance, the duo said the pressure hasn't really abated. "Sometimes you'd like to be the hunter instead of the hunted," said Eaton. CSU Monterey Bay nets second Over the past few years, it was no secret that West Coast teams have generally had a poor track record when it came to FLW College Fishing National Championship bass-fishing competition. However, today, the Cal State University-Monterey Bay team of Matthew Diaz and Sebastian Resendiz decided to finally do something about it. Using a total catch of 15 pounds, 6 ounces, Diaz and Resendiz served notice to the rest of the field that the West Coast is back - and a force to be reckoned with going forward. "It was a good day, I'm happy. Fifteen pounds is a good. And if we can back it up tomorrow with a 9- or 10-pound bag we should be in really good shape," said Diaz. "We figured out something in the last hour of practice and that really helped us. There were definitely some boats in our area today but we're doing something totally different than the rest of them." But like most teams, CSU had to grind it out all day long in order to come back with the totals they did. "It was basically one bite here, one bite there all day," said Diaz. "We caught a couple first thing in the morning and we used probably two or three key baits. But that was about it. Our goal is to just get five bites. And that's going to be our goal tomorrow as well." However, with the forecast calling for another day of grim conditions, how does the CSU team feel heading into Friday's competition? "I actually think that front coming through is going to help us," said Diaz. "We're not really fishing any structure. We're just making a lot of casts. So hopefully thing will work out for us." Young Harris nails down third Using a total catch of 13 pounds, 8 ounces, the Young Harris College team of Furman (Joe) Thompson and Grayson Payne managed to stay within range of the leaders heading into Friday's competition. "We're happy," said Thompson. "We had a strong start, got the jitters out of the way and we're right there in the hunt. I think we're able to (pre)fish a little more than some of the other teams and we've fished really hard. And so far, it's working out." However, the Young Harris team did acknowledge that today's weather conditions were far from ideal. "We planned on running around a lot more but we wound up staying close to the marina because of the wind," said Thompson. "Basically we caught what bit today. We've found some good fish today but pretty much any change in the weather will be welcomed. Ideally we'd like to have some sun as well. And hopefully tomorrow we'll get to run around some more." According to the duo, the team has plenty of areas to choose from. "We have about 200 waypoints and we're able to rule out some of those spots today. But we have plenty more areas to go to if we need to," said Thompson. "In the morning we're fishing shallow and following those fish deeper as they move throughout the day. We're fishing anywhere from 4 to 40 feet and throwing about every bait you can think of. And hopefully we can get them again tomorrow." Hardin-Simmons grabs fourth On the strength of a 12-pound, 1-ounce catch, the Hardin-Simmons University team comprised of Randy Sullivan and Hubbell Allen found itself with a top-five finish after the first day of competition. However, the team admitted that today was hardly a banner day on the water, despite their ultimate finish. "It was tough out there today," said Sullivan. "It was definitely not an easy day of fishing. The fish just weren't in a biting mode so that made it tough. We actually wound up ditching our original plan and doing something else. I'm still confident. But we have a long ways to go." The good news for the team is that, late in the day, Sullivan and Allen stumbled onto an area that just might pay huge dividends over the next two days. "We covered a lot of water today," said Sullivan. "And we wound up finding this one area that has the potential to produce some really big fish. I just wish we could have figured this out a little earlier. But overall it was a pretty good day. I'm happy with what we found." Sullivan said the team threw a jerkbait almost exclusively to land the majority of their catch, although the team did try to mix in an A-rig with minimal success. University of Nebraska-Omaha scores top-five finish Rounding out the top-five team finishers was Ben Kroeger and Ben Milliken of the University of Nebraska-Omaha. The duo ultimately recorded an 11-pound, 9 ounce catch to grab fifth place overall heading into Friday's competition. Not surprisingly, the team echoed the sentiments of many who argued that Lake Keowee was far from in a giving mood today. "It was a grind out there. We had to fish really hard just to get five bites. It was not fast and furious by any means," said Kroeger. "But we didn't have a fish in all of practice so we're happy." Milliken said that despite the weather, the team didn't spend a lot of time sitting around. "We covered a lot of water today and we've been learning something new every day," he said. "I think we're fishing deeper than most teams. We wound up catching all of our fish on the same bait - soft plastics." While the team has a little ground to make up, it is confident that if the pieces fall in place, the team can make a run at the title. "We figured out a little something in practice," said Kroeger. "And I think we can replicate it tomorrow." To view the complete day-one standings, click here The 2014 FLW College Fishing National Championship is presented by Lowrance Insight Genesis College Cup.The 2014 FLW College Fishing National Championship is presented by Lowrance Insight Genesis College Cup. Friday's takeoff is scheduled to take place at South Cove County Park, located at 828 S. Cove Road in Seneca, S.C., at 7 a.m. Tournament info and logistics National Championship qualifiers head back to the marina before the start of day-one weigh-in on Lake Keowee.The entire 2014 FLW College Fishing National Championship field will compete for two days with the top-10 college teams advancing to the third and final day of competition based on their overall accumulated weight. Teams are permitted to bring as many as five fish to the scales during each weigh-in. After the conclusion of Saturday'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. Anglers will take off from South Cove County Park, located at 828 S. Cove Road in Seneca, S.C., at 7 a.m. each morning. Weigh-in will be held at South Cove County Park starting at 3 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. Weigh-in Saturday will be at 3 p.m. at Walmart, located at 1636 Sandifer Boulevard in Seneca, S.C. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public. The winning team at the 2014 FLW College Fishing National Championship will receive a brand new, fully rigged Ranger Z117 with a 90-horsepower engine and an entry into the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup. The team member fishing as a pro in the Forrest Wood Cup also receives the use of a wrapped Ranger boat and Chevy tow vehicle. The Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing, hosted by the Capital City Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board, will be held Aug. 14-17 on Lake Murray in Columbia, S.C., and will offer the collegiate anglers the opportunity to compete for a top award of $500,000. Bass-fishing fans take note EKU fans cheer on their squad.Want to watch the inaugural national championship weigh-in live Friday but can't make it in person? Then tune into FLW Live on FLWOutdoors.com shortly before 3 p.m. Eastern time to watch live streaming video and audio of day-two weigh in.

Tags: headline-story 

/news/2015-08-03-balog-back-on-top

Balog Back on Top

Joe Balog of Harrison Township, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division tournament on Lake St. Clair. For his victory, Balog earned $6,418. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-03-edwards-finally-brings-it-home

Edwards Finally Brings it Home

Gary Edwards of Milton, Kentucky, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 11 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Hoosier Division tournament on the Ohio River. For his victory, Edwards earned $6,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-01-browne-sticks-to-the-bank-to-win

Browne Sticks To The Bank To Win

A lot would have had to happen for Glenn Browne to relinquish his hard-earned lead on the final day of the Rayovac FLW Series event presented by Plano on Lake Champlain. It turned out that a lot did happen, but with help from his friends and a great pattern, Glenn Browne socked 18 pounds, 7 ounces on the final day for a 63-pound, 8-ounce total and a payday of $34,097 plus a new Ranger Z518 with a 200-hp outboard. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-01-champlain-midday-update-day-3

Champlain Midday Update Day 3

Day three of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano on Lake Champlain started with a beautiful sunrise and light rain that had tapered off by the beginning of takeoff. For leader Glenn Browne, the beauty was soon marred by a breakdown that occurred shortly into his run south. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-31-top-5-patterns-from-champlain-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Champlain Day 2

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Plano on Lake Champlain definitely shook up the leaderboard. While Glenn Browne took a huge lead, the rest of the pack swapped around and remained pretty tight. Browne is catching his fish down south near Ticonderoga, but the north end has also produced very well for the rest of the field. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-31-browne-crushes-again-leads-by-6-

Browne Crushes Again, Leads By 6+

Averaging 20 pounds or more is a difficult thing to do in a multi-day tournament on Lake Champlain, but Glenn Browne might be on his way to doing it in the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano. After two days, the Ocala, Fla., pro has run to Ticonderoga twice and sacked up nearly identical bags for a total of 45 pounds, 8 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-31-champlain-midday-update-day-2

Champlain Midday Update Day 2

While day one of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano on Lake Champlain was wracked by high winds and rain in the morning, day two has been almost as good as Champlain can be. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-cioppa-leads-on-champlain

Cioppa Leads On Champlain

David Cioppa of Hopkinton, Mass., weighed 22 pounds, 13 ounces late in the weigh-in to grab the lead after the first day of the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Champlain. Cioppa weighed all largemouths and says that he caught the entirety of his weight by about 9 a.m. from one location in the northern end of the lake. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-top-5-patterns-from-champlain-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Champlain Day 1

Lake Champlain was rough and wild on day one of the Rayovac FLW Series event presented by Plano, and a bunch of the anglers still got it done in a big way. David Cioppa caught largemouths in the Inland Sea, but the rest of the top guys spread out all over the massive lake. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-champlain-midday-update-day-1

Champlain Midday Update Day 1

Takeoff was placid enough, with a beautiful sunrise and a light breeze in the slightly protected corner that is Plattsburgh. By about 6:30 a.m., day one of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano on Lake Champlain was already beginning to get rough. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-21-top-picks-from-icast

Top Picks From ICAST

A few days of walking the floor at ICAST is enough to exhaust a body, but it isn’t enough to know exactly what’s worthwhile. For that, you need some time to reflect and probably a few tournament seasons to fly by to see what rises up. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-renfrew-fished-to-win

Renfrew Fished to Win

Ian Renfrew of Phoenix, New York, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Northeast Division tournament on Oneida Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Renfrew earned $4,695. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-docks-and-rocks-key-for-synders

Docks and Rocks Key for Synders

Rus Snyders of Nashville, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Music City Division tournament on Old Hickory Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Snyders earned $2,703. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-jig-crankbait-carry-powroznik

Jig, Crankbait Carry Powroznik

Ryan Powroznik of Prince George, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division tournament on the James River. For his victory, Powroznik earned $7,507. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-persistence-pays-for-arning

Persistence Pays for Arning

Ray Arning Jr. of Walnut Hill, Illinois, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Illini Division tournament on Rend Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Arning earned $5,804. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-17-new-rod-roundup

New Rod Roundup

Rod companies continue to impress each year with a new crop of lighter, faster and more affordable (sweet!) rods. On the subject of price, these days, a tournament pro or an average angler could be fishing with rods that cost less than $100 apiece, but without giving up anything in the realm of quality. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-17-new-terminal-tackle

New Terminal Tackle

Don’t skimp where it counts the most – terminal tackle. Hooks, weights, jigheads and the like are the keys to taking all those new soft baits and swimbaits to the fish, hooking them and getting them in the boat. Here’s the best stuff we saw on the floor at ICAST 2015. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-flw-announces-2016-tour-schedule

FLW Announces 2016 Tour Schedule

FLW announced the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour regular-season schedule today in a live press conference held at the 2015 ICAST show in Orlando, Fla. With the help of six veteran Tour pros, the company unveiled each of the six events, one-by-one, to a crowd of observers gathered around the FLW booth. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-6-new-reels-to-try

6 New Reels to Try

Whether you need to replace an old reel or you’re just looking to add to the arsenal, here are some of the latest and greatest from ICAST. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-6-new-lines-from-icast-2015

6 New Lines from ICAST 2015

Line might just be the most important part of the package when it comes to landing fish. From presenting the bait to getting them in the net, your line is involved the entire way. If you’re looking for something new to try, the following lines are worth a shot. READ MORE »