The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga team of Nicholas Pratt and James Childers won the National Guard FLW College Fishing Southeast Division event on Lake Okeechobee Saturday with five bass weighing 13 pound, 13 ounces. The victory earned the team $10,000 to be split between the university and the university’s bass-fishing club: $7,500 for the bass club and $2,500 for their school. The win also helped them advance to the Southeast Division Regional Championship.
“I’m so pumped right now,” said James Childers, a sophomore in finance. “We were fishing a lot differently than anyone else; we went to the deeper water in the canals near the dam and the Kissimmee River and used DD22s and spinnerbaits. We found a pattern that worked for us last week during a practice we came down for, and it held up today. We stuck with what we knew, and it paid off.”
“We knew that with the cold front that came through, the shallow grassy areas that Lake Okeechobee is known for probably wouldn’t be productive, so we headed for deeper water,” said Nicholas Pratt, a senior in business finance. “Conditions were pretty tough today with the wind, and it was really hard just trying to keep the boat positioned correctly. The bite really didn’t start until just before it was time to check in and the water had a chance to warm up. We were plenty nervous.”
Rounding out the top five teams and also advancing to the Southeast Regional Championship are:
2nd: Clemson University – Harold Turner and Andy Wicker, (four bass, 13-2, $3,000)
3rd: University of Tennessee, Chattanooga – Alex Craw and Casey Murray, (four bass, 12-7, $2,000)
4th: University of Florida – Mark Gipson and Travis Fledderman, (three bass, 11-9, $2,000)
5th: Kennesaw State – Thomas Frink and Justin Marlow, (five bass, 10-4, $2,000)
The top five teams from each tournament will qualify for the regional championship where the first-place team wins $12,500 cash for their school and $12,500 cash and a Ranger 177TR bass boat with a 90 horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard wrapped in school colors for their fishing club. The top five teams from each regional tournament advance to the national championship where the first-place team wins $25,000 for their school and $50,000 cash and a Ranger 177TR bass boat with a 90 horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard wrapped in school colors for their fishing club.
College Fishing is free to enter and FLW Outdoors 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 next National Guard FLW College Southeast Division tournament is scheduled for Feb. 26 at Lake Guntersville in Guntersville, Ala.
About FLW Outdoors
FLW Outdoors is the largest tournament-fishing organization in the world, offering anglers worldwide the opportunity to compete for millions over the course of 191 tournaments in 2011. FLW Outdoors has taken fishing mainstream with the world’s richest fantasy sports game, FLW Fantasy Fishing at FantasyFishing.com, where competitors can play for free as well as sign up for Player's Advantage to gain an edge.