HUDDLESTON, Va. – The Radford University team of Justin Witten of Radford, Va., and Will Bowling of Fincastle, Va., won the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference tournament on Smith Mountain Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 16 pounds and 12 ounces. The win earned the team $2,000 for their bass club and qualified them for the 2014 Northern Conference Invitational tournament on the Potomac River.
“It was all bed fishing,” said Witten, a senior majoring in Recreation and Tourism. “We had a mix of smallmouth and largemouth. We caught them throughout the day, but we probably had around 15 pounds in the first couple of hours and just barely culled after that.”
The pair said that they found most of their bed fish in the lower end of the lake while prefishing on Thursday and Friday.
“They were all kind of random,” said Bowling. “We’d just throw in there and see what would make them mad.”
“We threw drop-shot rigs, jigs, Texas-rigs, Senkos, shaky-head rigs – pretty much everything you could imagine,” added Witten.
“We figured we were going to be close to the win,” said Bowling. “But, it’s Smith Mountain Lake and someone could have found some better fish. We had a pretty good idea that we were going to be in contention, though.
“This is actually my first FLW event,” finished Bowling. “To win it is amazing. Justin is a good friend of mine and it’s great to fish with someone who can show me how it’s done.”
The top 15 teams that advanced to the 2014 FLW College Fishing Northern Conference Invitational are:
1st: Radford University – Justin Witten, Radford, Va., and Will Bowling, Fincastle, Va. (five bass, 16-12, $2,000)
2nd: Mansfield University – Bryan Rupp, Archbald, Pa., and Colton Otto, Carlisle, Pa. (five bass, 14-11, $1,000)
3rd: State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry – Mike Longacre, Perkasie, Pa., and Jacob Ball, Naples, N.Y. (five bass, 13-5, $500)
4th: West Virginia University – Matthew Gibson, Cumberland, Md., and Edward Rude III, Falling Waters, W.Va. (five bass, 12-8, $500)
5th: Liberty University – Caleb Eppler, Sachse, Texas and Travis Rulle, Huntersville, N.C. (five bass, 9-15, $500)
6th: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University – Tyler Neff, Fredericksburg, Va., and Tyler Maschal, Lynchburg, Va. (five bass, 9-14)
7th: Christopher Newport University – Travis Riley, Evington, Va., and Seth Winslow, Chesapeake, Va. (five bass, 9-7)
8th: University of Southern Maine – Peter Kyros, Falmouth, Maine, and Nick Deering, Portland, Maine (five bass, 8-15)
9th: Ramapo College – Joseph and Andrew Zapf, both of Whippany, N.J. (four bass, 8-13)
10th: Rochester Institute of Technology – Jason Karol and John Henderson Jr., both of Rochester, N.Y. (four bass, 8-8)
11th: Pennsylvania State University – Steven Griffith, Imler, Pa., and Andy Severns, Finleyville, Pa. (four bass, 8-5)
12th: Radford University – George Fleming, Lorton, Va., and Tanner Blanks, Radford, Va. (four bass, 8-4)
13th: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University – Gage Hagen, Centreville, Va., and Ethan Morrison, Gordonsville, Va. (three bass, 7-11)
14th: Liberty University – Landon Riggleman and Chris Parent, both of Lynchburg, Va. (four bass, 7-9)
15th: Christopher Newport University – Peter Kenny, Ashburn, Va., and Cody Griffey, Carrollton, Va. (four bass, 7-6)
Complete results can be found at CollegeFishing.com.
FLW College Fishing teams compete in three qualifying events in one of five conferences – Central, Northern, Southern, Southeastern and Western. The top 15 teams from each regular-season tournament will qualify for one of five conference invitational tournaments. The top 10 teams from each conference invitational tournament will advance to the 2015 FLW College Fishing National Championship.
College Fishing is free to enter. 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.
For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow College Fishing on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing. Visit CollegeFishing.com to sign up or to start a club at your school.