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


2nd Annual College Fishing Open

CF National Championship Qualifiers

Scrimping 101 is part of the curriculum for college anglers. They’re constantly confronted by the choice between spending hard-earned cash to improve their social life, or to fish. To them, “gas money” refers to how many greenbacks they’ve got to fill a boat tank, or at least buy enough fuel to get them through next weekend’s tournament. By necessity their tackle expenditures are minimal, and any purchases they can afford are augmented by hand-me-downs, borrowed gear and what they find under the Christmas tree each year.

You get the picture: There’s not a lot of surplus money lying around, and that’s one reason why the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake has become so popular in just two years of existence. There’s no entry fee in the two-day event, yet contestants have the opportunity to augment their meager income with enough bucks to keep their boats on the water for a long time.

Drew Porto and Zachary Pickle

And if they don’t have a boat, that can be fixed too. A Ranger Z175 and trailer with 90-hp outboard, trolling motor, Lowrance electronics and other trimmings valued at $25,000 await the team that wins the April 1-2 test out of Moors Resort on the northern end of the lake. In addition, the top 15 teams will automatically qualify for the 2017 National Championship.

More than 190 boats signed up for the inaugural Open in 2015, making it the largest collegiate fishing tournament ever. Though FLW College Fishing Tournament Director Kevin Hunt stops short of predicting that the 2016 contest will be as big, he is expecting more than 150 teams to enter the 2016 event. Hunt already has signed up college clubs from near and far, including teams from Adrian College in Michigan, Arkansas Tech University, Bellarmine University in Kentucky, Bemidji State University of Minnesota, Bowling Green State University of Ohio, Bryan College of Tennessee, Coastal Carolina University, Colorado State University-Pueblo, Eastern Illinois University, Eastern Kentucky University, Johns Hopkins University, Liberty University of Virginia, Marshall University of West Virginia, Bethel University of Tennessee, University of Wisconsin-Stout, University of North Carolina, West Carolina, Murray State University of Kentucky, University of Illinois, Northwest Missouri, University of Alabama, University of North Alabama, Campbellsville University of Kentucky and the University of South Carolina. The latter team, incidentally, is composed of Patrick Walters and Gettys Brannon, who won the 2015 FLW College Fishing National Championship on Lake Murray.

The stakes in this, the second Open at Kentucky Lake, are enticing in themselves, but the opportunity to fish Kentucky Lake at the peak of the spring season is another inducement. March is big-bass month on the massive lake, as recent tournament weights have indicated. Since the FLW Bass Fishing League’s LBL Division held its opener there in early March, heavy bags have been the norm. David Young of Mayfield, Ky., won the BFL’s 2016 inaugural with 26 pounds, 1 ounce, and limits bumping 30 pounds have been required to win local events since then.

Though Young caught his winning stringer on a red Rat-L-Trap fishing along rocky main-lake banks, many fish have begun moving into the massive bedding coves by now. Still, the College Fishing Open should be a prespawn event, with fish staging near shallow main-lake bars, under docks, and around the ledges and drop-offs where feeder creeks meet the main lake.

As was the case in 2015, square-billed crankbaits, jerkbaits, lipless crankbaits, shaky heads, umbrella rigs, jigs and swimbaits are likely to be the mainstay baits for many of the anglers contesting the title.

“This will be one of the great College Fishing tournaments of the year for a number of reasons,” says Hunt. “For starters, it gives everyone who’s in it a fast-track chance to qualify for the National Championship. That takes off a lot of pressure on a team right there. The Open also kicks off our 2016 spring season on a great fishery. For sure it’s going to be one of the best events of the year in terms of lots of big bass and lots of big stringers.”

For more information about joining the festivities, visit CollegeFishing.com.

College Fishing Open

Tags: college-fishing  kentucky-lake  colin-moore  pre-tournament  2016-04-01-kentucky-barkley-lake 


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