(Jun 1, 2017 - Florence, AL)
The Kansas State University team of Travis Blenn of Westmoreland, Kansas, and Kyle Alsop of Overland Park, Kansas, brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 16 pounds, 9 ounces to grab the lead Thursday at Day Two of the 2017 YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship on Wheeler Lake presented by Lowrance C-Map Genesis. The Wildcat duo’s two-day total of 10 bass for 33-1 will give them a slim 4-ounce advantage over the second place team from Tennessee’s Bethel University heading into the third and final day of competition.
The three-day National Championship event featured 139 of the top college bass fishing clubs – now cut to 10 – from across the nation competing for a $30,000 prize package, including a new Ranger Z175 boat with a 90-horsepower Evinrude outboard and entry into the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup. The Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing, will be held August 11-13 on Lake Murray in Columbia, South Carolina, and will offer a collegiate angler the opportunity to compete for a top award of $300,000.
“We’ve got three pretty solid patterns that are working for us,” said Alsop, a senior majoring in engineering. “We know that we can go and catch a limit of fish on the second pattern, but we’re not here to catch just a limit of fish. We’re here to win. So tomorrow we’re going to dig deep and see what happens.”
The Kansas State duo said that they did the majority of their damage Thursday fishing offshore, but not on the main river. Although they were not yet ready to divulge any specifics, they did say that they were fishing just one bait, but rigging it three different ways. Their five-bass limit that they brought to the scale Thursday consisted of four largemouth and one smallmouth.
“We caught around 15 keepers today, the same as yesterday,” said Blenn. “We spent a little bit more time up shallow yesterday, but there was a lot of little fish.”
“Consistency is everything out here,” said Alsop. “Tomorrow, we might run shallow to finish out limit, but we’re not going to spend a bunch of time on it. I really think the key to our areas are a timing deal. The fish come up and feed real quickly, then move on.
“We have two spots we’ve been kind of saving – one of them we haven’t even touched yet,” Alsop continued. “But who knows, we might pull up tomorrow and never get a bite. We’re just excited to be in the position we are and are ready to go out tomorrow and have some fun.”
The top 10 teams on Wheeler Lake that will advance to the final day of competition are:
1st: Kansas State University – Travis Blenn, Westmoreland, Kan., and Kyle Alsop, Overland Park, Kan., 10 bass, 33-1
2nd: Bethel University – Evan Owrey, Jackson, Tenn., and Kristopher Queen, Catawba, N.C., 10 bass, 32-13
3rd: University of South Carolina – Patrick Walters, Summerville, S.C., and Gettys Brannon, Gaffney, S.C., 10 bass, 29-14
4th: University of Louisiana-Monroe – Tyler Stewart and Nicholas Joiner, both of West Monroe, La., 10 bass, 25-12
5th: Lamar University – Brandon Simoneaux, Bridge City, Texas, and Colby Ogden, Sour Lake, Texas, nine bass, 25-9
6th: East Texas Baptist University – Brett Clark, Center, Texas, and Jacob Keith, Jefferson, Texas, 10 bass, 25-2
7th: Slippery Rock University – Logan Pollman, Slippery Rock, Pa., and Tyler Sheppard, Hermitage, Pa., 10 bass, 24-15
8th: University of Oregon – Ryan Habenicht, Auburn, Calif., and Daniel Marshall, Eugene, Ore., 10 bass, 24-6
9th: University of Missouri – Gabriel Dubois, Mason, Ohio, and Brandon Heizer, Saint Louis, Mo., 10 bass, 23-13
10th: Murray State University – Chandler Christian, Owensboro, Ky., and Lance Freeman, Eddyville, Ky., 10 bass, 23-12
Overall there were 478 bass weighing 869 pounds, 4 ounces caught by 114 college teams Thursday. The catch included 70 five-bass limits.
The final 10 teams will take off Friday from Joe Wheeler State Park, located at 4401 McLean Drive, in Rogersville, Alabama, at 6:30 a.m. CDT. Friday’s championship weigh-in will be held at McFarland Park, located at 200 Jim Spain Drive in Florence, at 3 p.m., prior to the Day Two weigh-in of the BFL All-American championship at Pickwick Lake.
The winning college team will advance to compete Saturday in a one-day fish-off against each other on Wilson Lake. The two anglers will weigh in at 3:25 p.m. prior to the final weigh in of the BFL All-American championship at Pickwick Lake. The winner will advance to compete at the Forrest Wood Cup. All takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.
Television coverage of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship will premiere in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) Oct. 4 from Noon -1 p.m. EDT. The Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show airs on NBCSN, the Pursuit Channel and the World Fishing Network and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
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 fishing club recognized by their college or university.
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.