UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

U. of Akron Prepares for the College Championship

U. of Akron Prepares for the College Championship

As the 2017 YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship gets ready to kick off tomorrow, teams from across the country have set their sights on the legendary Wheeler Lake. The fishery offers a perfect balance of challenges and flexibility that should facilitate an intense competition. It has it all: deep water, shallow water, stained water, clear water, rock, wood, docks, grass and just about anything else that allows every angler an opportunity to find success fishing in his comfort zone. As one of those anglers, it excites me to fish my strengths, but it is slightly unnerving to know other anglers will be doing just the same.

Preparation for this year’s championship has been the application of the aggregate of my past successes and failures in hopes to give my team the best opportunity possible to succeed. After a rough finish at last year’s championship, my University of Akron teammate, Anthony Villalba, and I have been fierce in our development as a team and as individuals. During the month before the off-limits period, we made the trip from Ohio to Alabama twice, totaling four days on the water, to try and learn as much as possible before the official practice that began on Sunday. We explored various sections of the lake in order to find areas that fit our style.

The lake has trended toward the shallows over the years, and there is good reason. While the ledges and main lake will certainly produce, the shallows are a bit more comfortable for most. The popular, but large, Elk River will likely consume the much of the field due to its consistency and potential. It will be up to each team to isolate key details in order to separate itself from the pack. Also, considering the heart of the Decatur Flats is more than 25 miles away from launch at Joe Wheeler State Park, it will be interesting to see if any college anglers make the long run on potentially rough water.

While the lake hasn’t been quite as generous to us as we would like, we have certainly valued our time spent gathering all bits of information to point us in the right direction. Though I have reservations about sharing my expectations for patterns, baits and weights, I will do my best without revealing so much that my competition gets too much of an edge. The patterns should be fairly basic this time of year, the same ones that have prevailed over the last few years, including lot of shallow-cover fishing – pitching and flipping plastics, winding swim jigs and fishing the ever-so-popular buzzbait. There will be a few guys throwing hair jigs, spoons and Carolina rigs on the ledges as well.

Now, the hardest part is weight prediction. Wheeler can be quite unpredictable in this department. It could take as much as 20 pounds or as little as 12 pounds a day to win, but no matter the outcome, it will definitely be an exciting tournament.

As my college fishing career comes to an end, it is important to remember that the national stage is not about any one person; it is about our family, our friends, our school, our sponsors and the bond we all share as bass fishermen. At the end of the day, what we truly put on those scales is the weight of our passion and drive to find success in all aspects of our lives. This is what makes this sport so great, and this is why we love it.

Tournament details

Tags: robert-webber  robert-webber  blog 

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