UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Erie

Final exam

Final exam
The final day of tournament competition at the 2011 FLW College Fishing National Championship is under way.

HARDIN, Ky. - After a grueling 12 months of competition that spanned parts of two calendar years, the top-five FLW College Fishing National Championship contenders have finally reached the day they've been dreaming of for quite some time. With everything on the line during today's competition - including a first-place purse of $100,000, automatic entry into the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup and recognition as the best collegiate fishing team in the nation - anglers departed Kenlake State Park Marina under an unbelievable amount of pressure.

In short, today's action will be a final exam like no other they have faced before.

With the University of Florida team of Jake Gipson and Matthew Wercinski clinging to a 1-pound, 11-ounce lead, the Gators have their sights set on making history once again, attempting to become the first team to pull off the unprecedented feat of winning back-to-back national championship titles.

However, while the Gators are fishing as well as any team in the nation, there are plenty of contenders who stand in their way - namely the second-place qualifying team of Zach Caudle and Joe Landry from LSU-Shreveport. And to be sure, they have no intention of ceding anything to their neighbors to the east.

"The bite can change up for any one of us today so any one of the teams in the finals can win the title," said Landry, whose team posted a two-day catch of 25 pounds, 9 ounces. "This lake has plenty of big fish in it and you can definitely catch 20 pounds if things go your way. We'll have the same gameplan today that we've had all week. We're basically targeting bass in 4 to 20 feet of water (that have been adhering to a) certain type of rock. If we can find some spots like that, we can definitely win the title. We've been one of the most consistent teams in this tournament and I think if we can catch 14 pounds, it's going to be a real nail-biter."

Landry's partner agreed.

"With this lake, you're really only one swing away at all times," said Caudle. "It's going to come down to who gets those big bites today - that's going to be the difference between winning a national championship and not winning."

Despite having to make up a 6-pound-plus deficit entering the final day of competition, fifth-place contenders Ben Dziwulski and Kevin Beverley of N.C. State believe they are in reach of a title as well - assuming a little luck comes their way.

"This lake is very capable of producing 20-pound stringers," said Beverley. "If we can just get the fish to the boat, we'll have a chance."

"We've lost a few fish over the past two days that really would have helped us," said Dziwulski. "But we're looking forward, not backward right now. "

Tourney format and event logistics

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.

The national championship winning team will receive $50,000 cash, a Ranger 177TR with a 90-horsepower engine wrapped in school colors for their school's bass club and $25,000 for the school they represent - for a total prize package valued at $100,000.

College fishing fans cheer on their favorite teams shortly before final takeoff on Kentucky Lake.However, a tournament trophy and a lucrative prize package aren't the only things at stake this week. The winning team in the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship will also qualify for the Forrest Wood Cup - one of the most prestigious bass-fishing championships in the nation which boasts a top prize of $600,000. The winning team member with the heaviest total weight in the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship will compete in the pro division and the other member of the winning team will compete in the co-angler division of the Forrest Wood Cup - scheduled to be held Aug. 11-14 on Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs, Ark.

Saturday's weigh-in will commence at 4 p.m. and will be held at the CFSB Center on the campus of Murray State University, located at 1401 State Route 121 North in Murray, Ky.

FLW Outdoors also will be hosting the College Fishing Festival, which runs from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday (April 9) at the CFSB Center. Activities include a sports zone, tailgate games, climbing wall and Ranger boat simulator. Bucky Covington will perform a free live concert on Saturday, April 9 at 2:30 p.m. at the CFSB Center prior to the final weigh-in and crowning of the national champions.

Bass-fishing fans take note

Want to watch the inaugural 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. Central time to watch live streaming video and audio of today's opening-round weigh in.

Vital statistics:

Sunrise: 6:28 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 71 degrees
Expected high temperature: 87 degrees
Water temperature: 57-60 degrees
Wind: From the south-southwest at 10 mph with wind gusts to 20 mph
Humidity: 63 percent
Day's outlook: Chance of isolated thunderstorms

Related links:

Live on-the-water coverage
Event schedule
Meet the 2011 FLW College Fishing National Championship teams
College Fishing Festival
National Guard FLW College Fishing rankings

Tags: gary-mortenson  morning-story  2011-04-07-national-championship 

Ready to Rock on Erie

Ready to Rock on Erie

The Toyota Series Northern Division has undergone more than its share of schedule shuffling this year, but the kickoff is finally here. Taking off out of Sandusky, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie, the time to chase smallmouths has arrived. READ MORE »

Eufaula Slugfest Kicks Off

Eufaula Slugfest Kicks Off

For the second week in a row, FLW’s Toyota Series is visiting one of Alabama’s premier bass fisheries at the perfect time of year for pros to hammer on big bags of postspawn largemouths. READ MORE »

Let the Ledge-fest Begin

Let the Ledge-fest Begin

With the start of the Toyota Series Central Division event on Pickwick Lake this morning, today marks the first day back to competition in the world of professional bass fishing. READ MORE »

Two Species Spawning at Havasu 

Two Species Spawning at Havasu 

The weatherman did it again. About two weeks prior to today’s kickoff for the Toyota Series Western Division season at Lake Havasu, the forecast called for highs in the mid-80s and sunshine for three straight days during the tournament. Instead, practice was rainy, and the current forecast calls for precipitation for at least the first two days and highs that likely won’t top 70 degrees.  READ MORE »

Game Day on Okeechobee

Game Day on Okeechobee

The second stop of the Toyota Series Southern Division is hitting Lake Okeechobee later in the year than usual for FLW. Typically, big, multi-day FLW events on the Big O go down in January and February, but this one runs March 12-14 and should offer a different look at the familiar and ever-changing body of water. READ MORE »

It’s Anyone’s Game on Overfull Hartwell

It’s Anyone’s Game on Overfull Hartwell

South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell kicks off the 2020 Toyota Series Eastern Division season this week with a three-day, mid-week showdown of the area’s best bass anglers, hosted by Visit Oconee South Carolina. Hartwell definitely has the potential to produce 20-plus-pound bags, but Mother Nature has decided to create some havoc with lake levels this winter, and it’s anyone’s guess as to how well the fishery shows out. READ MORE »

Despite Cold, Expect Mega-Bags at Chick

Despite Cold, Expect Mega-Bags at Chick

Freezing temperatures greeted anglers for the 2020 Toyota Series Central Division tournament on Lake Chickamauga this morning. As usual on Lake Chickamauga this time of year, every angler is hoping for a 30-pound-plus bag of bass during the Feb. 27-29 tournament. READ MORE »

College Championship Kicks Off on Harris

College Championship Kicks Off on Harris

Championship week for any sport is as exciting as it gets and it’s no different for the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship presented by Lowrance this week on the Harris Chain. Competing for a $30,000 prize package, including a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower outboard, 162 college bass fishing clubs will have free range of the chain to vie for the title. READ MORE »

Warmer Weather Good Sign at St. Johns

Warmer Weather Good Sign at St. Johns

The cold front that moved through northeast Florida last week shut down the fishing on the St. Johns River in a big way, just as bass were starting to move up to the banks to begin spawning. With the weather that came through, many of those fish pulled back off the bank to wait for more stable conditions. Fortunately, stability arrived this week in the form of warmer weather, but it remains to be seen if those three or four days of warm, stable conditions are going to be enough to get fish back up on beds. For now, it’s safe to assume anglers are going to have to be adaptable over the next few days in the Toyota Series Southern Division opener. READ MORE »

Feast or Famine at Toledo Bend

Feast or Famine at Toledo Bend

It’s been nearly six years since the Toyota Series has been to Toledo Bend, but this week the Sabine River impoundment takes center stage to kick off the Southwestern Division season. READ MORE »

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 1

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 1

All the talk leading up the final leg of the Costa FLW Series Central Division presented by Evinrude on Lake of the Ozarks was about the weather. And Mother Nature did not disappoint. READ MORE »

Stormy Start at Lake of the Ozarks

Stormy Start at Lake of the Ozarks

The final leg of the Costa FLW Series Central Division presented by Evinrude on Lake of the Ozarks will launch right as a massive cold front arrives. How massive? The forecast has been calling for heavy rain and a high of 74 today, and so far hasn’t been wrong. A major thunderstorm greeted anglers this morning and delayed takeoff by an hour and fifteen minutes thanks to abundant lightning. Tomorrow? A high in the mid 40s. READ MORE »

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 3

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 3

Typically, the first day or two following a cold front put bass in a bad mood, and today, Grand Lake’s fish are following the script. This has created a challenging scenario for the top-10 finalists in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. READ MORE »

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 2

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 2

You know fishing’s tough when the most common greeting we receive is the goose egg hand signal. No question, day two of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine, had a lot of anglers scratching for bites and scratching their heads. READ MORE »

Changes Afoot at Grand Lake

Changes Afoot at Grand Lake

Fall is a time of change and movement; two notions bound to impact the outcome of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine, on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake. Typical fall migrations are underway, but an approaching cold front will likely complicate the already challenging nature of autumn’s transition. READ MORE »

Underway on the Delta

Underway on the Delta

No matter the weather, no matter the environmental concerns, no matter the fishing pressure, the California Delta remains one of the nation’s most diverse and fertile freshwater fisheries — a truth that should play out in dramatic form during the Costa FLW Series Western Division event. READ MORE »

St. Lawrence Midday Update – Day 3

St. Lawrence Midday Update – Day 3

Weights were already tight going into the final day of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division finale on the St. Lawrence River, which is presented by Gajo Baits. Little more than a pound separated leader Jonathan Kelley from Casey Smith in fifth place. READ MORE »

St. Lawrence Midday Update – Day 2

St. Lawrence Midday Update – Day 2

With slightly warmer weather and similar sun and wind conditions, day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits on the St. Lawrence River should’ve presented optimal conditions for smallmouth. Instead, nearly every angler our on-the-water crew encountered today said the same thing: It’s tougher. READ MORE »

To Run or Not to Run

To Run or Not to Run

The final leg of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division on the St. Lawrence River, presented by Gajo Baits, is primed to be a smallmouth smashfest, as usual. That said, this year’s event, which is presented by Realtree Fishing, will launch out of Massena, N.Y., instead of the usual Clayton. So, what was once a 15-or-so-mile run to the mouth of the lake from takeoff – and roughly 30-plus miles to Gallo Island or Main Duck – will now be about a 95-mile run just to get to the lake. READ MORE »

Underway on the Potomac

Underway on the Potomac

For the tournament, the wind isn’t forecast to be too strong any day, and the tides will be fairly standard, but not ideal from a timing standpoint. Today, low tide was at 6:15 a.m., and low tide on Saturday will be at 8:15. That means that pros will mostly be fishing a rising tide through the tournament, with the best windows likely coming early on Friday and Saturday. READ MORE »