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

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

College Fishing Championship Kicks Off

Mother Nature has jumped the gun, but Lake Keowee hasn’t quite caught up. That’s the dilemma facing the teams competing in the FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by the Lowrance Insight Genesis College Cup and hosted by Mountain Lakes Convention & Visitors Bureau on South Carolina’s Lake Keowee.

A good stretch of unseasonably warm weather with daytime highs in the mid to upper 70’s has created conditions favorable for spawning, but with the next full moon a week away, the fish haven’t solidly settled into their bedding patterns.

Reports from practice indicated that a lot of teams were up shallow looking for bed fish. Sounds like plenty of big fish have been seen, but getting them to cooperate may be the trick.

“I think it’s a little bit ahead because the warm weather we’ve had is bringing the water temperature up,” said Garrett Roberts, who competes alongside Auburn teammate Ethan Hayes. “The fish are moving up shallow and they’re biting. We can catch 50 a day. You just have to fish through the little ones to get any size."

Teams launched in clear, calm conditions with the forecast calling for another warm day. This favorable weather will last through tomorrow, but a cold front will arrive this weekend.

“If you’re bed fishing, it’s going to make it a lot tougher for you but if you’re fishing a little father offshore like we are, it’s not going to affect them that much,” Hayes said. “We’re going to try to get a limit of prespawners and then try go look for bed fish later if we can cull up.”

Andrew Noodbye and Adam Almontadi of Northwest Missouri have a good shallow bite, but Noodbye said an early start will be critical.

“The first two hours of the day will be the most important,” he said. “We have to get it done because once the sun gets up, the fish shut down.”

A more aggressive tactic will get their day going, but Almontadi said that if they haven’t secured what they need in that first couple of hours, they’ll stick with the same general areas, but back off and slow down with more finesse tactics.

Speaking of finesse, Sacramento State’s Ethan Clarke and Tanner Austin fared well in practice by drop shotting an unnamed 4-inch worm. Austin said he’s confident their West Coast skill sets will serve them well, especially if the bite gets tough.

Luke Stoner, who closes out his College Fishing career with teammate Qiurun Chen said he believes a big bag awaits some fortunate team, but consistency will be tough.

“The potential is there for somebody to bust a 16-pound bag, but if you do that two days in a row, I’ll be impressed,” he said.

We’re expecting a mix of sight fishing and prespawn tactics today, as the field dials in exactly how Keowee intends to handle the week’s weather.

Tags: lake-keowee  david-a-brown  headline-story  2016-03-17-lake-keowee 

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