First Place! FLW College Fishing Lake Roosevelt

On February 19th, my partner Ross Richards and I were able to get our first ever win in an FLW College Fishing tournament. Ross and I have been fishing the FLW events for three years now, being able to rack up four top five finishes, while failing to earn the ever elusive first place. We knew it would be our last FLW tournament fishing together if we failed to qualify for regionals at Roosevelt, and were more determined than ever. We had previously finished eighth on Lake Roosevelt two years before, while I also finished in eighth last year with teammate Jacob Bliss.

Tourney day started off with all eight of our teammates packing into a suburban, filled with bags of clothes, tackle, rigged rods and rod tubes. Needless to say it was quite a nightmare trying to get all the doors closed, and the forty-five minute ride to the lake from Payson, wasn’t going to be too enjoyable for anyone. (Pictured below)

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We headed to a pre-spawn transition area where we had caught fish of good size in previous tournaments, banking that some of the fish had moved up into shallower water. Using drop shots, we casted to the outside of the brush lines and were able to pull in a limit by 9:15. We spent four hours in the same area, being able to cull up and catch the kicker we needed. (Video below… It’s pretty comical on a couple different levels, particularly my growling)

After switching areas with our bite shut off and the rain pouring, we tried a few spots before finally getting into some more fish in the twelve-foot range, once more casting into cover. We quickly put eight more keepers in the boat but none would cull and it was time to go in. We were disappointed we didn’t get to cull our smallest fish, and thought it might hurt us in the end. Rather then waiting in suspense on stage, we decided to wait it out and weigh in at the end of the tournament. With Arizona State sitting in the hot seat with 9-14, we thought we had a good chance at taking it, but we couldn’t believe it until we saw our weight of 12lbs even flash on the screen. It was the second win in a row for the University of Oregon, and already we are looking forward to the third event on the Delta with high hopes.

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Ross and Reed on the News- KMTR

Here’s an old clip from the KMTR 6 o’clock news in Eugene, OR, back in May. They worked some clips from FLW regionals on the Delta into the segment to make it a little more action packed… unless catching big logs gets you pumped up.

Shasta Lake FLW College Fishing 1/15/11

This past Saturday, the first FLW College Fishing Western Qualifier was held on Shasta Lake. Forty sleep deprived two-person teams of college students showed up in hopes of qualifying for regionals and winning some cash and bragging rights along the way. The previous two days of results from the EverStart series showed Shasta was fishing tough, and every limit was going to have to be well earned. As Monster energy drinks were cracked and shots of 5-hour energy passed around; College anglers gathered around the FLW stage early in the morning, greeting old friends from around the West, and nonchalantly chirping out a good luck to rival schools, who they surely hoped to beat after six hours on the water. For a January day at Shasta Lake, the morning was surprisingly warm, and as the day went on, at 66 degrees, It almost felt like a summer day to my partner and I, after countless weeks of cold and rain in Oregon.

Fishing was tough all around, and it was clear making the top five would come down to ounces as it often does at spotted bass fisheries. The bass weren’t cooperating; roaming alone, rather then in schools, making bites few and far between. My partner, Ross, and I were only able to put three fish in the boat, all coming in 25-35 feet of water. With our eyes glued to our graph for most of the day, we were seldom able to find bait, only being able to find one bait ball being actively pursued by bass, which we were able to milk one keeper from. We tried senkos, jigs, drop shots, spoons and wacky jig heads, with our only bites coming on the drop shot.

As we idled into check-in, our thoughts turned to our teammates, hoping they had greater success. Dock talk suggested everyone had a pretty tough day, with most teams shaking their heads holding up one or two fingers, signaling the number of fish they were able to bring in. Over the last two years of FLW College Fishing, the University of Oregon team remained the same for the most part, with most people fishing for the club for their third or fourth year. With many teammates graduating, this would be the first tournament for three new OBT members. This would be my partner and I’s twelfth FLW tournament, and it was fun to think back to our very first and get excited for our new teammates. As two of our teams reached the dock, excitement began to grow as Will Crowl and Kyle Schneider were able to bring in five fish, and the two man team consisting of my roommates; Nick Doring and Zach Niesen, were just one short with four, but with a good kicker. After weighing in our three fish for a respectable although disappointing 17th finish, Ross and I walked off the stage and waited in anticipation for our teammates to weigh in.

Chico State occupied the top three spots after the first ten or so teams had weighed in, as the local school was proving they knew their stuff. Crowl and Schneider came first, and after showing off some new OBT swag, the team took over the hot seat with 7lbs 6oz, led by Will “The Predator” Crowl’s five fish, all coming off shakeyheads. With a lot of teams to weigh in, it would seem very unlikely the weight would hold. But as more and more teams brought up light bags, it seemed it just might be enough. Doring and Niesen were able to slide into third place, anchored by Doring’s 2lb 10oz spotted bass, which by the day’s standards, was quite a kicker. Doring later explained he had actually sight fished the bass as it cruised into the shallows under the heating sun. In just his fourth time bass fishing overall, and some quick lessons the day before and during the car ride, Niesen was able to contribute two fish to the limit, bringing some laughs and loud cheering from the rest of the OBT. First and Fourth, with three teams to go. Boise State was up first, holding what looked like a solid bag. Doring and Niesen held their breaths as Justin Lucas shouted out, “5lbs 10 ounces, just short of the top five.” There were only two teams left, threatening the OBT’s first ever FLW tournament win, and a qualifying finish for Doring and Niesen. Cal Poly came next, a team that absolutely dominated the circuit the year before, and was able to qualify for Nationals in 2011. Another limit just short. Lastly, Sonoma State, another local team with a top five finish at Shasta the year before came to the scales. One fish went into the scale. A few seconds ticked away, and as the OBT realized Sonoma State had only one fish, the cheering began and the familiar “OOOOOOooooooooooooo” buzzed throughout the crowd. Crowl and Schneider were still in the hot seat, and the University of Oregon had won its first FLW College Fishing tournament, qualifying two teams in the process and bringing home $12,000 for the club.

For complete results visit: www.collegefishing.com

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2011 FLW College Fishing Schedule

With only a few more weeks in 2010, a new year of FLW College Fishing is just around the corner. FLW is constantly working to improve the College circuit, and 2011 brings huge changes. As many anglers have voiced their discontent over the last two years over the limit rules, FLW is changing the previous six fish limit that required each angler to weigh three fish, to a five fish combined limit. This will make it easier on College anglers who at times were forced to put their rods down and try to put their partners on fish. Not only will a lot more limits be weighed in, but most likely bigger bags, despite the previous six fish limit. Competitors will also have the option of bringing their own boat if they so choose. Volunteers will still be provided for those competitors not bringing boats of their own, and by rule these observers must drive their own boats.

So what’s on tap for the west?
For the most part, much of the same.

Shasta Lake, CA, January 15th
Lake Roosevelt, AZ, February 19th
Delta, CA, May 7th
Clear Lake, CA, September 24th

The first three tournaments will all be return visits from last year for the lone FLW series out west, which has now changed to the EverStart series once again. Replaced by Lake Mead in 2010, FLW will return to Clear Lake for the first time since the 2009 season.

To read up on college fishing and check out other regions schedules, visit www.collegefishing.com

2010 Tournament Lakes Recap

Over the 2010 season I had the privilege of fishing tournaments on nine different bodies of water in five different states

In California, I fished tournaments on Lake Shasta in January, CA Delta in June, and Folsom Lake in October.

In Oregon I fished the Willamette River in October as well as local Cottage Grove and Fern Ridge several times throughout the year.

For the FLW College Fishing National Championship I traveled all the way to Tennessee to fish Fort Loudon, part of the Tennessee River system.

FLW Also brought me to Lake Mead in Nevada, and Lake Roosevelt in Arizona.

So what were my top five favorite bodies of water to fish?

1. CA Delta:

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It would be very hard for me not to pick the CA Delta as my favorite fishery of the season. It was my only top 5 of the season, and my partner and I have been able to finish in the money all three times in the FLW College circuit. While success certainly plays a big role in my enjoyment of this body of water, it’s simply a ton of fun to fish. The tides force you to make adjustments throughout the day, keeping it interesting. The cheese is always green and ready to be frogged, with any cast being your next PB.

2. Willamette River:

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I fished my second tournament on the Willamette out of Newberg, OR this year. Not only is it incredibly scenic (once you get past forcing your line through the many leaves floating with the current), the smallmouth fishing can be exhilarating. We were able to get our pattern together early, catching a limit just under 2 hours into the tourney. We had multiple series where we were able to land four keeper smallmouth on consecutive casts.

3. Loudon Lake:

While Loudon Lake proved to be a painful painful tournament for me and my partner due to a poor finish and inability to catch anything close to a limit, I really enjoyed exploring and fishing it. There’s a wide variety of structure and cover on this lake, making it very diverse and captivating. There are some huge smallmouth to be caught, and like the Delta there is an unlimited amount of water to explore.

4. Lake Roosevelt:

I’m not sure how Roosevelt slides into my fourth spot, as I can’t even answer If i enjoy fishing it or not, but there’s something that keeps me wanting to go back for more. Maybe it’s finishing just out of the money both times, or because it’s incredibly hot and sunny when I can’t walk around my house in Oregon without a blanket. The submerged trees and clear water seem to draw me in, as I work my dropshot through the branches, waiting to get whacked by a waiting fish.

5. Cottage Grove:

The home lake slides into my fifth spot. A short twenty minute drive from my driveway, Cottage Grove is a blast to fish throughout the year. The fish are healthy and size is always great. While it’s a small lake, there’s always a number of different bites going on. Oh and it’s also the site of the first fish on my boat, and the infamous “Its a salmon!!!!!!” video above

Flash from the Past- FLW College Fishing Nationals

My partner Ross Richards and I participated in the inaugural FLW College Fishing National Championship back in April of 2010 on Fort Loudon lake in Tennessee.

Look back at 2009 College Fishing

Here’s an old video of my first year fishing FLW College Fishing during the inaugural season. The picture isn’t great! Learned a lot these past two years and am looking forward to what 2011 brings.

GoPro Head Camera test

Recently purchased the GoPro camera, and went out fishing for dinks at Cottage Grove Lake just south of Eugene, OR. Here’s a short clip of one of the 35-40 dinks my roomate Nick Doring and I pulled in. I might think twice next time I swing a rattletrap fish in the boat, the lure popped off and barely missed my head by an inch!

FLW College Fishing Western Regionals Reflection

The FLW College Fishing Western Regionals, concluded on Saturday with the hometown team of Sacramento State winning the three day event on Lake Folsom. This was the second year in a row my partner Ross Richards and I qualified and fished the regional tournament. We ended up in 13th place after the second day, after a very dissapointing and humbling day on the water. Going into the tournament we certainly knew it was going to be tough, as Folsom definitely carries a reputation for throwing even the best anglers into fits. After a solid prefish day and a good start on day one, we quickly learned why so many have nothing but bad words for Folsom lake. We stuck to our spots, marked active fish, bait balls and carried out our previous succesfull strategies from the first two days, on top of downsizing our line from 8lb to 6lb, only to not get a single bite the entire day. While we couldn’t come up with any real reason for why the bite shut off for us, besides that being the nature of Folsom, we learned after that it’s necessary to come into any tournament at Folsom with 20-30 spots in mind. Lack of preperation definitely hurt us in this one, as I was the only one able to prefish before the tournament, and only so for one day. Overall I came away with more confidence in using the graph and fishing and identifying deep water humps. FLW and National Guard has provided us with a great opportunity the last couple years, and for that I thank them. I also want to thank all the volunteer observors for a great time out on the water, specially Gary Jones for breaking out the Oregon football shirt, as well as my brother for keeping everyone following my site updated during the tournament. Congrats to all the Western National Championship qualifiers, I hope you guys do us proud out on Kentucky Lake! Next up for myself and the OBT, is a civil war tournament vs Oregon State on Saturday the 23rd on the Willamette River out of Newberg.

For results, photos and more information on the tournament, see FLW College Fishing

FLW Regionals Day Two Takeoff

Here are a couple of pics before the takeoff on day 2. Look for Reed in the pics.

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Sunrise: 7:09 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 49 degrees
Expected high temperature: 78 degrees
Wind: From the west-southwest at 6 mph
Humidity: 55 percent
Day’s outlook: Mostly sunny