(May 2, 2017 - BEDFORD, Va.)
The Community College of Baltimore County duo of Michael Duarte and Matthew Iman, both of Baltimore, Maryland, won the YETI FLW College Fishing Northern Conference opener on Smith Mountain Lake Saturday after weighing a five bass-limit totaling 17 pounds, 13 ounces. The win earned their club a $2,000 scholarship and advanced the team to the 2018 FLW College Fishing National Championship.
“A win like this means a lot for our club,” said Iman, a sophomore majoring in nursing. “I think it will help us get the word out, and maybe even get more people to be involved. Michael (Duarte) and I just love to fish. We make a great team.”
Iman said the two started off the event by catching their biggest fish – a 6½-pounder – with a topwater bait off of a secondary point on the bend of a pocket. Around 10:30 a.m., they made their way up the Roanoke River.
“We stumbled upon some bedding fish when we pulled into one of our areas way up the Roanoke,” said Duarte, a freshman majoring in business and marketing. “The first one I caught was suspended under a dock. When they suspend under docks back home, that tells me they’re getting ready to pull up or are already spawning. We went along the shoreline and saw more fish spawning between the docks. They were stacked in there. We worked along a 100- to 200-yard stretch until 1 p.m., caught a limit, and culled once.”
Duarte said they used a wacky-rigged Yamamoto Senko to catch their fish, and rotated in a drop-shot rig with a Strike King Dream Shot when they wanted to place bait right on the spawning bed.
“The biggest key was hiding behind docks so the bass couldn’t see us,” said Duarte. “We would pull up, and if we didn’t get a certain bass to bite, we’d leave and come back to it after 15 minutes.”
The top 10 teams that advanced to the 2018 College Fishing National Championship are:
1st: Community College Baltimore County – Michael Duarte and Matthew Iman, both of Baltimore, Md., five bass, 17-13, $2,000
2nd: Liberty University – Brian Travers, West Jefferson, N.C., and Caleb Unger, Fry Fork, Va., five bass, 17-5, $1,000
3rd: Adrian College – Jarrett Martin and Zachary Graham, both of Gallipolis, Ohio, five bass, 16-5, $900
4th: The Apprentice School – Hunter Atkins, Carrsville, Va., and Kitt Moger, Suffolk, Va., five bass, 15-14, $500
5th: Adrian College – Caleb Taylor, Zionsville, Ind., and Nickolas Marsh, Commerce Township, Mich., five bass, 14-15, $700
6th: Schoolcraft College – Clayton Hatton, South Lyon, Mich., and Anthony Gilmore, Livonia, Mich., five bass, 14-14
7th: West Virginia University – Nolan Minor, Charlottesville, Va., and Casey Lanier, Sanford, N.C., five bass, 14-12
8th: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University – Elliott Roberson, Claudville, Va., and Ross Adams, Stuart, Va. five bass, 14-10
9th: Liberty University – Landon Riggleman, Lynchburg, Va., and Ethan Pitts, Gibsonia, Pa., five bass, 14-10
10th: Radford University – Zack Lemaster, Bedford, Va., and Matthew Cooley, Chesterfield, Va., five bass, 14-8
This YETI FLW College Fishing Northern Conference opener at Smith Mountain Lake was the first regular-season qualifying tournament of 2017 and was hosted by Visit Bedford. The next event for Northern Conference anglers is an event scheduled for July 22 on Chautauqua Lake in Chautauqua, New York.
YETI FLW College Fishing teams compete in three regular-season qualifying tournaments in one of five conferences – Central, Northern, Southern, Southeastern and Western. The top ten teams from each division’s three regular-season tournaments, along with an additional qualifier for every 10 teams over 100 that compete, along with the top 20 teams from the annual YETI FLW College Fishing Open will advance to the 2018 FLW College Fishing National Championship.
College Fishing is free to enter. All participants must be registered, full-time students at a college, university or community college and members of a college fishing club that is recognized by their school.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2017 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 274 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros.