UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Ouachita

Meet the Banana Slugs

Sam Hayad and Chris Rhoden lifted UC Santa Cruz from eight place to fifth.

(Editor's note: Leading up to the 2013 FLW College Fishing National Championship - slated for April 19-21 on Beaver Lake in Rodgers, Ark. - CollegeFishing.com will publish weekly, in-depth features stories of each of the 25 national championship team qualifiers. At stake in the tournament is a first-place prize package that includes $30,000 in cash, a brand new, Ranger Z-117 bass boat and an automatic berth in the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup.)

Name: Sam Sayad (pictured on left)
Class: Alumnus
Major: Environmental Studies
Hometown: Carmel Valley, Calif.
Other interests: My primarily passion is fishing, but I am also a sports enthusiast. I particularly enjoy following the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Jose Sharks. I also enjoy spending my time in the outdoors, house boating on California Delta and spending time with my friends and family.

Name: Chris Rhoden (pictured on right)
Class: Alumnus
Major: Political Science
Hometown: Pearblossom, Calif.
Other interests: My interests include camping, hiking and baseball.

Club Web site:
UCSC Recreational Fishing Club on Facebook


CollegeFishing.com: How were you introduced to fishing?

Sam Sayad: My father introduced me to fishing at a young age, but my infatuation with bass fishing began in high school. After entering my first tournament on the California Delta my senior year in high school, I knew I had found my passion.

Chris Rhoden: My father got me started when I was young, maybe 4 years old. We used to fish for trout in a stream near my house, and I was hooked from day one. We also went to the Eastern Sierras at least twice each summer, and I could never get enough fishing in. When I was about 7, I got my first copy of Bassmaster magazine and really got into the idea of it all. My friend Mike is a tournament fisherman out of central California, and he's also my father's business partner. Mike took me out on his boat one morning in Castaic, and that was it. I've been splitting my addiction between bass fishing and fly fishing for trout ever since.

CollegeFishing.com: What style/method of fishing are you most comfortable with?

Sam Sayad: Because I spend most of my time on the Cal Delta, the method I am most comfortable with is power fishing, primarily topwater, flipping and any sort of reaction baits (crankbaits, ChatterBaits, etc). Although, I have realized through the years that it is essential to be versatile to ensure success on various bodies of water.

Chris Rhoden: Everyone equates California with big swimbaits, but I never could afford to get into that. I was lucky enough to have grown up on a nearby lake that allowed me to gain a lot of experience flipping and throwing topwater baits. But out of necessity, I had to be decent at finesse fishing when I fished elsewhere. We made our mark at Utah by flipping jigs, and, in general, I'm pretty comfortable with a jig in my hands. I can also fish finesse style if that is what is needed to get a bite. But power fishing is a strength both Sam and I can rely on.

CollegeFishing.com: What did it feel like to qualify for the 2013 FLW College Fishing National Championship? How do you plan to prepare for the big event?

Sam Sayad: Ecstatic would be the best word to describe my feeling as we qualified for the 2013 FLW College Fishing National Championship. Going into the Regional Qualifier at Utah Lake, I felt as if anything short of qualifying for the National Championship would be a disappointment. Aside from doing homework on the lake, my partner Chris Rhoden and I plan on practicing prior to the tournament.

Chris Rhoden: It felt great to qualify, and nerve wracking all at once. We made that final cut by ounces, and when it happened it was just awesome to be in that moment. I think qualifying was made all the better by the fact that Sam and I created the club from the grassroots up. UC Santa Cruz doesn't even have a football team, or much else. Sam, our friend Yoshi, and I basically created the fishing team at UCSC from scratch; and now it's a landmark club boasting a couple dozen members that caters to every type of fishing imaginable.

Preparing for nationals will be tough, mostly because of the distance. But we have our ways, and there's plenty of intelligence on Beaver to be found. Getting out there will be the tough part, but I like the odds. I spent part of my college fishing career with a bass club that fished just about every major northern California lake, including some of the best spotted bass water in the states. Sam is a river fisherman of Delta training, and if the bite can be had upriver, I feel pretty confident with him in the boat. Only time and experience will tell, but I think Beaver has a lot potential for us.
CollegeFishing.com: Tell us something interesting about yourself that most people wouldn't know.

Sam Sayad: I am a Dodgers fan living in Giants country.

Chris Rhoden: I'm a member of the USA Fencing Association, and used to fence in competitions during high school.

Tags: gary-mortenson  road-to-the-championship 


An Ill Wind at Okeechobee?

The wind can be a bass fisherman’s best friend or worst enemy. On its best behavior, it creates a temporary current, positions baitfish and helps an angler move around more stealthily in shallow water. READ MORE »


Aquatic Plant ID

Val Osinski, the owner of Gambler Lures and winner of the 2015 Costa FLW Series event on the lake, knows as much about the Big O as anyone and is an expert on finding and targeting bass in its various grasses. When we had the opportunity to ride along with him for a tour of the lake and to learn to identify some of the grasses, it was a no-brainer to accept. READ MORE »


Poche Services Set

Funeral services for Dylan Poche, the 18-year-old Bass Fishing League angler who was stabbed to death Saturday night, are scheduled for Thursday at 2 p.m. at Freedom Life Church in Natchitoches, La. Visitation will take place at Freedom Life beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday. READ MORE »


Time to Shine for Setzer

With three years on Tour and a Co-angler of the Year (COY) award under his belt, Braxton Setzer believes now is his time to start casting from the front. READ MORE »





Glenn Browne’s Timeout is Over

By his own admission, Glenn Browne isn’t the most organized guy. After the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division opener on Lake Okeechobee, he spent hours returning stuff to its proper place and tossing out the usual flotsam and jetsam that accumulates in a bass boat during a tournament. READ MORE »


FLW Podcast 109 - Mike Surman



John Cox Gives Himself a Makeover

Last fall there was a rumor going around that John Cox was entering the electronics age and souping up his boat with sonar gear. Just to clear the air, the Florida pro reports that though he did flirt with the notion of incorporating an offshore strategy centered on depth finders into his act, he eventually abandoned the idea. READ MORE »


Austin Felix is Ready for the Big Time

Back in the spring of 2014, Austin Felix and his University of Minnesota teammate Chris Burgan were on the top of the FLW College Fishing world. With a win in the National Championship on Lake Keowee, Felix was headed to the Forrest Wood Cup as a pro. READ MORE »


FLW Canada Sets Tournament Sites, Dates

FLW Canada, one of four partners in FLW’s International Division of the Costa FLW Series, recently released its 2016 tournament schedule. The season includes three two-day regular-season qualifying events and a three-day championship. Anglers fish as two-person teams. READ MORE »


Jigging Spoons for Winter Bass

Of course, the application of the spoon hinges on finding bass in the first place, which is the biggest challenge. Walmart FLW Tour pros Jason Johnson and Clark Reehm are experts at finding winter bass in their respective regions of the country and offer FLW readers some advice on where to look and how to get them to bite the spoon. READ MORE »


How Bryan Thrift Got to be so Good

My No. 1 focus out here is to support my family and make a living. Whatever I have to do to make that happen, I’m going to make a valiant effort. READ MORE »


High School Fishing Makes the Grade

Jacob Smith and Daniel Clark are typical teenagers, at least in everything except bass fishing. In that, they are above average, as the two juniors from Travelers Rest High School in South Carolina proved in the TBF/FLW High School Fishing Florida Open held Jan. 17 on Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »


FLW Mexico at the Starting Gate

Our excitement is so great that we wanted to share this important news with all of you. Believe me, fishermen in Mexico are talking it up as if it were dock talk surrounding the Forrest Wood Cup. What really matters at the end of the line is knowing that FLW is showing its true devotion to promoting bass fishing and making it a truly international sport. READ MORE »


Making the Case for Haynes as AOY

As many have noted, the Walmart FLW Tour schedule for this season looks a lot like it did in 2014. Back then, in his sophomore year on Tour, Randy Haynes had one of the strangest seasons you’ll ever see. He finished 104th at Okeechobee, 149th at Sam Rayburn (ouch) and cranked out top-30 finishes everywhere else. READ MORE »


FLW Podcast 108 - Jason Lambert



BFL Choo Choo Division Postponed

The FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Choo Choo Division tournament on Lake Guntersville originally scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 23 has been postponed due to impending inclement weather. READ MORE »


TIGERODZ Aligns With Auburn Team

Custom fishing rod manufacturer TIGERODZ of Scottsboro, Ala., has signed an agreement to become the official rod brand for the Auburn University Bass Sports Club. Scott Dobbins, president of TIGERODZ, is an Auburn alum, and he says the pairing involved a natural progression of involvement. READ MORE »


Becoming Aware of Your Angler Strengths

The ongoing sentiment among fishermen is that versatility is the key to becoming a successful professional angler. While I’m certain that statement holds some weight, I think there is an alternate perspective that is worth entertaining. READ MORE »


Pundits Picks for AOY

Winning the Angler of the Year title is a tremendous feat. It can solidify a budding career or affirm a veteran’s status among the best. It also comes with a hefty reward – $100,000 and early entry into the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup. READ MORE »