UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

College Open will be a Record-Setter

The 2015 FLW College Fishing Open will be the largest college bass fishing tournament ever held.

When the first FLW College Fishing Open tournament gets underway out of Moor’s Resort on Kentucky Lake Friday morning, it will make history as the largest college event ever staged. Typically, college tournaments are staged as divisional events where only teams from a particular geographical region can participate, but the Open marks the first time any eligible college team can compete. The response to the new format has been overwhelming.

According to FLW College Fishing Tournament Director Kevin Hunt, 184 teams representing colleges and universities from coast to coast are entered (as of this morning), and more might be en route. Teams have until Thursday evening at 6 to register at the rules meeting.

“We’ve got teams from as far away as Bemidji, Minn., Texas A&M, Colorado State, Rochester (N.Y.) Institute of Technology, the University of Central Florida – it pretty much goes from one end of the country to the other,” says Hunt. “FLW had dreams of 150-plus teams in its college events – that was the whole reason for doing it: Give younger anglers a chance to excel in the biggest college fishing circuit there is. I like setting records and doing things on a big scale – so it’s all been kind of cool and exciting.”

Hunt notes that, as might be expected, the teams from schools closest to Kentucky Lake are favored. That includes Murray State University, Bethel University (of McKenzie, Tenn.), Eastern Kentucky University, and squads from southern Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. The winning team with the heaviest two-day bag (5-fish limit per day) will get a Ranger Z117 with a 90-hp Mercury or Evinrude outboard, but a bigger prize goes to the top 10 finalists: automatic berths in the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship.

Kentucky Lake should provide a competitive playing field for the Open. According to Walmart FLW Tour pro Brandon Hunter, who fished the lake Tuesday, conditions are conducive to heavy stringers and big individual fish.

“These fish are in prespawn mode and moving up,” says Hunter. “Some are already about halfway up the coves where they spawn, and others are on secondary points or up against the banks in the main lake where there are channel swings. You don’t have to encourage them too much to get them to bite, either. If they’re there and you get a lure near them, they’ll take it.”

Because of recent heavy rains throughout the Tennessee Valley, Kentucky Lake is dingy, but at near-normal winter pool – if not a bit low. On average, dam keepers have been pulling more than 140,000 gallons of water per hour through the dam at Gilbertsville lately, so a strong current is in effect most of the day. Hunter says that there is clearer water “if you know where to look,” but that the general water color is “sort of milky clean to dingy.” He adds that the west side of the lake is less colored than the east side.

“The fish are taking a lot of different baits – lipless and diving crankbaits, vibrating jigs, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits – anything that puts out a lot of vibration,” notes Hunter. “Bright colors like red, yellow or chartreuse also seem to be producing best. I don’t think it’s going to be one of those deals where subtle baits and presentations are going to get the job done. The water temperature is in the mid-50s and climbing, and these fish are definitely active and biting. But you’ve got to get in their face a little bit.”

Hunt says that at Thursday evening’s rules meeting he will advise contestants to launch their boats from other ramps in the vicinity and then run to Moor’s for the tournament takeoff Friday morning. He also will caution them to watch out for floating debris that was dislodged by recent floods upriver and is moving down the lake.

“There’s going to be an armada of boats for sure, and we want everyone to be careful and have fun as they take part in this historic event,” adds Hunt.

Daily weigh-ins Friday and Saturday begin at 3 p.m. Stay tuned to FLWFishing.com for more.

Tags: college-fishing  kentucky-lake  colin-moore  pre-tournament  2015-03-20-kentucky-lake 

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