The University of Louisiana-Monroe team of Paul Clark of Monroe, La., and Brett Pruett of Pineville, Ala., brought four bass to the scales Sunday totaling 12 pounds, 4 ounces to win the 2013 FLW College Fishing National Championship on Beaver Lake. Their three-day total of 14 bass weighing 40-3 gave them a slim 9-ounce margin of victory in a dramatic finish over the University of North Carolina-Charlotte team of Shane Lehew of Charlotte, N.C., and Adam Waters of Denver, N.C.
“I thought we blew it today by only bringing four fish to the scales,” said Pruett, who has a degree in business. “I really thought that I had lost it for us. I lost two good ones shallow today, and I felt horrible about it the whole time. I thought we were going to be losing by a couple of ounces. It’s been one heck of a ride, and it really hasn’t even sunk in yet.”
“I don’t know whether to laugh or cry right now, I’m so excited,” added Clark, a senior majoring in Construction Management.
Pruett said that the Warhawk bass club changed their strategies and techniques each day. He estimated that eight of the 14 bass that they brought to the scales came on a Yum Yumbrella Flash Mob Jr., with the rest of their catch falling prey to a Storm Wiggle Wart crankbait, jigs and shaky-head rigs trailered with a green pumpkin-colored crawfish.
“We hadn’t thrown a shaky head all week, but we went back into the very backs of the creeks and Paul pulled one out and started throwing it,” Pruett said.
The decision proved to be the difference-maker for the Warhawks, as the shaky-head rig produced their fourth bass – an estimated five-pound largemouth that clinched the teams victory. The ULM team said that they did not have any specific area that produced the best, but they caught their fish fishing coves around Prairie Creek Park, Coose Creek and Ventris Hollow
“We were not used to fishing deep, clear water,” Pruett continued. “We researched past tournament results and read about techniques that winning anglers have used here. We spent a lot of time studying maps and doing our homework.”
In addition to the $30,000 prize package, the team also qualified to fish for the Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing. Clark will represent the team on the pro side, while Pruett will compete in the co-angler division.
“I’ll be spending every weekend in Shreveport for the next three months,” said Clark. “We only live about an hour and a half away from the Red River. Brett and I are very familiar with the river, and we actually won a team tournament there last summer. I’m so pumped because I can’t believe that I will be fishing against the best anglers in the world. I’m going to give it everything that I’ve got.”
The top five team in the 2013 FLW College Fishing National Championship are:
1st: University Of Louisiana-Monroe – Paul Clark, Monroe, La., and Brett Preuett, Pineville, La., 14 bass, 40-3, $30,000 Prize Package + Entry into 2013 Forrest Wood Cup
2nd: University of North Carolina-Charlotte – Shane Lehew, Charlotte, N.C., and Adam Waters, Denver, N.C., 15 bass, 39-10, $6,000
3rd: Auburn University – Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., and Shane Powell, Dothan, Ala., 14 bass, 34-3, $3,000
4th: University Of Alabama – Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala., and Logan Johnson, Jasper, Ala., 13 bass, 32-15, $3,000
5th: Angelo State University – Ethan George, San Angelo, Texas, and Josh Seale, Breckenridge, Texas, 14 bass, 32-9, $3,000
Complete results can be found at CollegeFishing.com.
Twenty-five teams from across the country competed in 20 qualifying events and five conference championship tournaments, and the top five teams from each conference competed for the title of national champion in this three-day nationally televised event.
College Fishing is free to enter and FLW provides boats and drivers for each competing team along with travel allowances. All participants must be registered, full-time undergraduate students at a four-year college or university and members of a fishing club recognized by their college or university.
The winners of the national championship qualified for the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. The team member fishing as a pro in the Forrest Wood Cup also receives the use of a wrapped Ranger Boat and Chevy tow vehicle. All prize money earned in the Forrest Wood Cup goes directly to the individual who earns it. The Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing, will be held Aug. 15-18 on the Red River in Shreveport, La., and will offer the collegiate anglers the opportunity to compete for a top award of $500,000.
Coverage of the FLW College Fishing National Championship, hosted by the Rogers Convention and Visitors Bureau, will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs June 9 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET. The Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
For more information about the FLW College Fishing National Championship, visit CollegeFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow College Fishing on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.