UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Kentucky / Barkley Lake

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Meet the Lumberjacks

Meet the Lumberjacks
Stephen F. Austin teammates Ryan Watkins (left) and Andrew Upshaw hold up their 14-pound, 8-ounce catch. The weight was good enough for a second-place finish at the FLW College Fishing qualifying event at Toledo Bend.

(Editor's note: Leading up to the 2012 National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship - slated for April 13-15 on Lake Murray in Columbia, S.C. - 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 worth $100,000 as well as a chance for the winning team to compete in the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup.)

Name: Ryan Watkins (pictured on left)
Class: Alumni
Major: Kinesiology
Hometown: Rockport, Texas
Other interests: Anything competitive. I also get pretty pumped up about taking lessons so I can be certified to hang glide!

Name: Andrew Upshaw (pictured on right)
Class: Alumni
Major: Marketing
Hometown: Hemphill, Texas
Other interests: My other interests would be hunting, boating, just about any sport and sometimes playing the "Call of Duty" video game.


Q&A

CollegeFishing.com: How were you introduced to fishing?

Watkins: My father is a professional fishing guide on the coast so I didn't really have a choice but to fish. I was introduced at a young enough age so I can't recall my fist trip to the water, what my first fish or what I caught it on. All I know is that it became a lifestyle for my brother and I - not just a hobby. My dad implemented it as a tool to show us the ropes of life and used the attributes of the sport of fishing to help us evolve into the men we are today. Our values as individuals, as well as a family, are derived from the sport of fishing and it's always been the one constant in our lives. Regardless of what life threw at us, the good and the bad fishing were always there.

Upshaw: I started fishing when I was younger around ponds behind our house. From there I moved to Toledo Bend when I was 14 or 15 and started fishing in our backyard which was basically the lake. Tommy Martin was actually the first person to ever take me out on Sam Rayburn and from there I was hooked on competitive fishing.

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

Watkins: Sight-fishing is by far my biggest strength, but having confidence in general allows me to adapt to what the conditions call for and what the fish tell me to do.

Upshaw: I feel that I am extremely versatile when it comes to fishing. Oddly enough, my weakest point is flipping and pitching - not because I'm not accurate, it's just that I don't have that much confidence in it. My strongest three fishing styles would be deepwater power fishing, sight-fishing and fishing grass or rock.

CollegeFishing.com: What did it feel like to qualify for the 2011 FLW College Fishing National Championship? How do you plan to prepare for the big event?

Watkins: It felt great, but that excitement is past and now we just want to win. It's our last college event and we're going to go after the title harder than ever. I'm going to pre-fish for a week before cutoff and Andrew is going in his own boat to pre-fish as well. We're determined to do everything in our power to win this thing. Competition is stiff but we wouldn't have it any other way. We want to win against the best of the best.

Upshaw: It was an awesome experience for Ryan and me. After coming off a couple of big wins we feel our momentum is the highest it's ever been. Needless to say we are extremely excited to compete in our last college event together. As far as preparation, we probably won't change anything we usually do to prepare. Normally all we do is review some maps and go spend a few extra days on the body of water.

CollegeFishing.com: Tell us something interesting about yourself that most people wouldn't know.

Watkins: I'm the only college angler to qualify for the FLW College fishing National Championship and the FLW World Championship Redfish series. And because that's what I said last year I'll go ahead and add the my dad really is my hero - it's not just a cliche.

Upshaw: I just got done designing a bait for Strike Pro America that will be released at ICAST. I am really excited about this because I feel it's a one-of-a-kind hard bait that potentially will win "Best in Show," Lord willing.

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

Gophers come up golden

Gophers come up golden

SENECA, S.C. – Throughout the first two days of competition at the 2014 FLW College Fishing National Championship, the University of Louisiana-Monroe team of Brian Eaton and Nick LaDart dominated nearly all of the headlines. And rightfully so. As the defending national champions, all eyes were on ULM to see if the team could pull off back-to-back titles and equal the powerhouse run of the University of Florida – who captured national championship titles in 2009 and 2010. READ MORE »

ULM stays on top

ULM stays on top

SENECA, S.C. – Day two proved to be a lot more difficult than the opening round session for the defending national champions on Lake Keowee. For starters, the University of Louisiana-Monroe team of Brian Easton and Nick LaDart had some significant problems with their trolling motor which forced them to head back to the marina and miss valuable fishing time. READ MORE »

ULM does it again

ULM does it again

SENECA, S.C. – At the 2013 FLW College Fishing National Championship, a little known ULM team comprised of Paul Clark and Brett Preuett stunned the collegiate bass-fishing world by taking home the tournament title and out-fishing a number of powerhouse universities in the process, including Auburn, Alabama and UNC Charlotte to name just a few. Cut to the 2014 national championship where the latest incarnation of ULM, Nick LaDart and Brian Eaton, were attempting to do their university proud and turn in the best performance they could as defending national champions. READ MORE »

2014 FLW College Fishing National Championship under way

2014 FLW College Fishing National Championship under way

SENECA, S.C. – It wasn’t exactly the conditions that the 2014 FLW College Fishing National Championship field had hoped for. With blustery winds, cloudy skies and frigid conditions serving as backdrop to Thursday’s opening round of competition, the top 49 college teams in the nation set out onto the open waters of Lake Keowee bundled from head to toe in search of one of the most difficult titles to obtain in all of college bass fishing. READ MORE »

Tuesday Tour Update

Tuesday Tour Update

Heading into the 2014 Walmart FLW Tour Lake Hartwell tournament, scheduled for March 6-9 in Seneca, S.C., FLWOutdoors.com editors decided to try and catch up with the reigning title holder from that event, Brent Ehrler. Not only did Ehrler walk away with the tournament title there in 2012, but he also finished in second place overall during the Tour event in 2011. READ MORE »

Tuesday Tour Update:  Q&A with Koby Kreiger

Tuesday Tour Update: Q&A with Koby Kreiger

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Skinner runs away with tourney title on Lake Havasu

Skinner runs away with tourney title on Lake Havasu

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. – In the end, the pro contest on Lake Havasu turned out to be really no contest at all. Despite brutally windy conditions for the third day in a row, local pro Billy Skinner of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., managed to keep the rest of the field at bay, recording a final-day catch of 17 pounds, 15 ounces to bring his grand total to 59 pounds, 5 ounces. READ MORE »

Kline completes comeback to claim co-angler crown on Lake Havasu

Kline completes comeback to claim co-angler crown on Lake Havasu

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. – With day-two co-angler leader Blaine Christiansen sitting rather comfortably in the lead, Todd Kline of San Clemente, Calif., decided it was time to save his best for last. With the crowd eagerly looking on to see who would capture the co-angler title, Kline approached the scales and didn’t disappoint. READ MORE »

Skinner widens lead on Lake Havasu

Skinner widens lead on Lake Havasu

As the only angler to record back-to-back, 20-plus-pound stringers this entire week, Billy Skinner exerted his muscle once again on the entire field, recording a total two-day catch of 41 pounds, 6 ounces to net a healthy 4-pound lead over his next closest competitor. READ MORE »

Skinner in control on Lake Havasu

Skinner in control on Lake Havasu

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. – While plenty of pros struggled with the blustery winds which peaked at 25 mph during Thursday’s opening round of competition, Billy Skinner of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., wasn’t one of them. READ MORE »

Blowing in the wind

Blowing in the wind

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. – As the 152-boat field departed Lake Havasu State Park marina shortly after 7:30 a.m. Thursday morning to commence the start of the very first Rayovac FLW Series Western Division event in FLW history, anglers were gearing up for a decidedly wind-swept day on the water. READ MORE »

Tuesday Tour Update: Catching up with FLW Tour pro Cody Meyer

Tuesday Tour Update: Catching up with FLW Tour pro Cody Meyer

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Tuesday Tour Update: Gagliardi hopes for a return to form in 2014

Tuesday Tour Update: Gagliardi hopes for a return to form in 2014

For the better part of the last decade, Chevy team pro Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C., was a model of consistency. In fact, during a fantastic run from 2003 to 2010, Gagliardi qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup every single season. From 2003 through 2007, the South Carolina pro recorded four straight top-10 finishes at the Cup – an impressive feat by any metric. READ MORE »

Neal before us

Neal before us

There, standing mostly by himself before final weigh-in at the Cup, outside of the limelight, outside of the glare of the television cameras and meriting only a brief mention in a few reporters’ notebooks was ... Michael Neal. READ MORE »

FLW announces November ‘FLW Member Giveaway’ promotion

FLW announces November ‘FLW Member Giveaway’ promotion

Starting Nov. 1, all FLW members will be able to participate in the latest monthly “FLW Member Giveaway” promotion – a free monthly drawing which will award thousands of dollars in valuable sponsor prizes exclusively to FLW members throughout the 2013 season. READ MORE »

Tuesday Tour Update: Q&A with Wesley Strader

Tuesday Tour Update: Q&A with Wesley Strader

Moving forward, FLWOutdoors.com will be unveiling a host of new editorial content focusing exclusively on FLW Tour pros. The latest in that effort is a feature entitled “10 Questions” where FLW editors will attempt to pick the minds of FLW Tour pros by posing questions ranging from the serious to the light-hearted. The ultimate goal is for readers to get to know the thoughts, opinions and personalities of some of the best anglers the sport has to offer. READ MORE »

Tuesday Tour Update: Q&A with Clark Wendlandt

Tuesday Tour Update: Q&A with Clark Wendlandt

Moving forward, FLWOutdoors.com will be unveiling a host of new editorial content focusing exclusively on FLW Tour pros. The latest in that effort is a feature entitled “10 Questions” where FLW editors will attempt to pick the minds of FLW Tour pros by posing questions ranging from the serious to the light-hearted. READ MORE »

Schmitt surges to victory

Schmitt surges to victory

NORTH EAST, Md. – Before the start of the EverStart event on the Chesapeake Bay, Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Md., was having second thoughts about entering the contest. With a brand new baby at home, Schmitt had some real reservations about leaving his young family behind to go out and fish a tournament. However, as it turned out, the decision to fish this week is something he surely won’t regret. READ MORE »

Bauman’s bonanza

Bauman’s bonanza

NORTH EAST, Md. – Fishing in the biggest tournament of his career, Ryan Bauman of Fleetwood, Pa., saved his best for last. After qualifying for the finals in third place, Bauman recorded a whopping 17-pound, 6-ounce catch in the finals, blowing away the rest of the competition in the process. READ MORE »

Poirier maintains pole position

Poirier maintains pole position

NORTH EAST, Md. – During Friday’s EverStart Series competition on the Chesapeake Bay, the sun finally appeared, the wind picked up and the fishing was notably improved over Thursday’s opening round of tournament action. In fact, it was difficult to find many similarities between the first two days of Northern Division competition – with one major exception. And that exception was Frank Poirier. READ MORE »